6 Tips for Developing Sexual-Harassment Training
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, more states and cities are mandating sexual-harassment training for all workers – not just managers. But even where training isn’t required, cannabis employers should consider the benefits of creating a program.
The main goal of training should be to ensure a healthy and productive workplace culture. Cannabis businesses should support a discrimination- and harassment-free workplace and employers should have effective anti-harassment policies that enable thorough investigations of harassment and hold perpetrators accountable.
In addition, employers should work toward creating a workplace culture that does not tolerate discrimination or harassment so you need to make sure employees are engaged during the training and leave with the information they need. Here are tips for developing an engaging and effective training:
1. Customize Training for Your Workplace
Make sure your training aligns with your organization’s mission and values and is consistent with your policies and practices. If workers know an employer is only doing training to ‘check the compliance box,’ it won’t be effective and could actually have a negative impact on morale. ‘Define it. Live it. Color it in.‘
2. Don’t Just Focus on Legal Compliance
Most state and local laws require trainers to define sexual harassment and to give examples of behaviors that constitute harassment. But trainers should do more than discuss harassment in a purely legal context.
It’s very important to give examples of behaviors that might not be unlawful but are unacceptable at work. Describe that behavior and let employees know the consequences for exhibiting it.
3. Don’t Just Show the Obvious
Some sexual-harassment training programs include ‘obvious and cheesy scenarios,’ or ‘Oh, that guy grabbed her butt, and that’s illegal? Who knew?‘ Most workers already know that that behavior is unacceptable.
It is important to provide examples of more-nuanced situations that employees are more likely to encounter in the workplace. What if employees overshare details about their dating lives? What if someone stands uncomfortably close or makes inappropriate jokes?
4. Think About Your Training Goals
When developing a training program, employers should work backward. Start by thinking about what you want employees to get out of the session. What are the lessons you want employees to learn?
Employers probably want workers to identify and report less severe issues so that HR can intervene early and deal with problems before they get out of hand or rise to the level of unlawful harassment. Design a program that addresses the root causes of harassment and other issues in a way that makes sense for your workplace.
5. Provide Ongoing Training
It’s difficult to include every topic in one session. That’s why designing an ongoing harassment-prevention and healthy-workplace program, rather than just one course and employers should have a subject matter expert design the program.
The designer doesn’t have to be a lawyer, but he or she should understand anti-harassment laws, as well as the sociological and psychological factors that motivate behavior.
6. Choose a Format
Decide whether to provide live or online training or a combination of the two. The most important thing is to deliver a quality program. Training has to be engaging, relevant, practical and interactive. Live training can have some great benefits, but it’s not feasible for all businesses.
Consider the size of the organization and any work or geographic constraints when selecting a method. Whether the training is online or in person, pay attention to employee responses. ‘What are the things you are seeing as trends afterward?‘.
Maybe employees asked questions on new topics that should be incorporated into future training. Maybe they didn’t understand what early intervention or unlawful retaliation mean. When employers look at the results, they are going to get a roadmap to take their training to the next level.
Let us know what you think.