A new way of looking at training for workplace harassment.

A published behaviour code in an employee handbook is not a magic wand to workplace harassment.

You’ve put policies in place – excellent start. But are your people reading them? Is it a realistic expectation in an ever-increasingly-busy working day for them to ingest and internalise this written information?

I say no. Training is the key here.

Training is never black and white

Training cannot simply comprise the dos and don’ts, the what is and what is not acceptable workplace behaviour, to ensure everyone legally falls into line.

We’re dealing with people here and by nature we tend not to play by the book – situations are never black and white, there’s no heroes and villains, and no two scenarios are ever the same. Training therefore needs to mirror this and explore the grey areas, the nuances.

Training is a two-way dialogue

So how do we do this? By opening up the discussion and encouraging experience sharing. Providing people with a platform for open discussion provides true insight. Yes, the legalities of discrimination, harassment and bullying are explained, but they are done so in relatable scenarios that challenge as much as they inform.

Trust in your training

Training should be an inclusive environment. While management and HR departments may require a greater level of understanding to fulfil the responsibilities of their roles, training provides an opportunity for collaboration.

By all means, managers and HR can have a part two workshop, but training is not a time for creating an us and them situation – after all, it is everyone’s responsibility to create and maintain a workplace culture based on honesty and respect.

A third-party training provider, such as Tell Jane, can also help here by facilitating this inclusive learning environment. As someone external to the organisation, we aren’t aware of any hierarchy in the room. We just talk to people.

There’s no one-size-fits-all training

Just like incidences of workplace harassment scenarios, no two training sessions should ever be the same. And it is important to have this expectation when investing in an external training provider as the workplace scenarios and discussions need to be relatable to your business.

Closing thought

Above all, training should empower employees with the confidence to identify and address unacceptable behaviour in their workplace, not just the ability to quote your company handbook.

If you’re interested in in-house training workshops or looking to implement or improve a behaviour code, email lisa@telljane.co.uk

Seminars

Work in HR? Interested in preventing harassment, discrimination and bullying at work? Why not sign up to one of our upcoming seminars or events? Click here for more information

Interested in reading more?

Check out my five top tips for harassment prevention

Valuing anonymity: workplace harassment reporting

Back to basics: a sexual harassment crib sheet

Back to basics: harassment and discrimination in the workplace

Back to basics: cultivating a culture of openness 

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