Why Workplace Harassment Training Needs to Go Beyond Compliance
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Why Workplace Harassment Training Needs to Go Beyond Simple Compliance

  • 3 Min Read

It's about how we treat each other as collaborators, managers and employees.

Current events are increasingly driving awareness about and inspiring action against all forms of harassment and discrimination in the workplace (and out) across all industries—film and TV, politics, and technology companies just to name a few. What’s clear is that there’s a lot more work that needs to be done to provide employees with the right kind of training to mitigate risk and create a positive working environment for all.

Movements like #MeToo and #silencebreakers show us that we need better education around workplace harassment. So many employees are guilty of just clicking through compliance courses without really truly understanding their significance or how to put what they are learning into practice. Managers, leaders, and employees alike need to know how to combat workplace harassment and create a safe, collaborative and productive environment, and that requires more involvement than just an annual course. Workplace harassment training needs to be about much more than just compliance.

It’s not just about following the right policy or procedure but how we treat each other as human beings

Companies need to go beyond a traditional compliance course to address things such as:

  • How we interact and communicate with each other—do we show respect and treat each other with dignity?
  • Leaders leading by example
  • Personal boundaries, and what happens when someone crosses that boundary
  • Employee engagement and how employees experience their work environment
  • Creating a safe workspace where employees can do the best work of their lives.

Without the right kind of training, which should include continuously reinforcing important messaging and practice, companies risk:

  • Employee engagement—not just the person that is being harassed, but the employees that witness the harassment
  • Employee mental health, including anxiety and stress
  • Safety
  • Passion and creativity
  • Productivity and bottom line results

Top 5 tips for more effective training

Using movements like #MeToo and #silencebreakers as inspiration, training needs to focus more on awareness, discussions, debate, and questions.

  1. Develop training workshops where leaders, managers, and employees can have an interactive discussion and/or debate about topics.
  2. Ensure that all new hires in your organization know the importance of preventing workplace harassment to your company.
  3. Make sure all new hires to your organization receive the same training opportunities.
  4. Include a mission statement and anti-harassment video or letter from your CEO in your offer packages.
  5. Don’t rely on the idea that a click-through compliance course is enough. Fresh and engaging training content is crucial for building awareness and effectiveness.

Some tips for leaders

When it comes to preventing workplace harassment, leaders need to lead.

  • Do not be dismissive of reported harassment or leave it to your employees to resolve.
  • Report the situation to your HR business partner or your legal team.
  • Support any investigation.
  • Prevent retaliation and take preventative care to provide a safe and respectful work environment.
  • It’s your duty to take all complaints seriously and address each complaint with the appropriate response.
  • Review your company’s workplace bullying, violence, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies and procedures on a regular basis, and ensure your team members do the same.
  • Remember that we all have differing levels of sensitivity. What may seem harmless to you may seem offensive to another.
  • Before taking action, contact your legal or professional advisors


The workplace is evolving. To be an employer of choice, it’s important to supply your employees with the best tools to combat workplace harassment. And as a leader in your organization, it’s critical that you make sure the way in which you promote positive interactions between employees goes beyond checking the box.



This post is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.

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