For Australian workplaces, legislations such as the Fair Work Act and Sex Discrimination Act exist to prohibit employment and occupation-related discrimination. It is therefore critical for companies to educate managers and employees on strategies to counter harassment and inappropriate behaviours at work.
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What is Workplace Harassment Training?
Workplace harassment instruction teaches staff to recognise and interpret acts of harassment, as well as to prevent and intervene with control measures in line with your organisation’s anti-harassment policies.
Effective training includes professional corporate etiquette, emphasising polite workplace behaviours that shape a respectful workplace culture. Successful training enables employees and managers as active bystanders who can step in to counter harassment, fostering a sense of community.
Who Needs Harassment Training?
Harassment programs for managers and employees should be conducted separately. Training for employees teaches them when to report discrimination, harassment and bullying. Training for managers, on the other hand, focuses on recognising and handling harassment concerns, as well as enforcing the company’s policy.
Harassment Training for Employees
Employees need to know what is considered harassment, bullying and discrimination, as well as how to uphold respectful professional behaviour. If they become victims of workplace harassment, employees should know where to turn to.
Harassment training for staff should be endorsed by senior leaders so that it is taken seriously. Senior executives can lead some of the training sessions to communicate the risks associated with harassing behaviours in the workplace. This will demonstrate the management’s dedication to preventing harassment.
Harassment Training for Management
Management has the biggest obligation to combat workplace harassment. Not only must they ensure that they do not abuse their positions of power, but managers, supervisors and team leaders should be trained to stay vigilant in identifying and addressing harassment. Managers need to be equipped with the skills to listen openly to the allegations of harassment, as well as how to respond and investigate the suspected harassment.
Managers ought to understand that harassment is a liability for a company and that the anti-retaliation rule means that they cannot appear to be punishing staff for exercising their workplace rights to raise a harassment concern.
Benefits of Training Employees About Harassment
1. Create a safe and respectful workplace culture
With so much time spent at work, employees want to know that the management cares about them and will uphold justice when harassment occurs. Other than setting anti-harassment policies in place, organisations require harassment training in order to be ethical and inclusive, letting all employees know the expectations for respectful professional behaviour.
Through training, employees will understand the need to report workplace harassment incidents, instead of staying silent, which promotes an unhealthy workplace culture where employees do not feel safe enough to speak up.
2. Increase awareness of workplace harassment and advice
Having an anti-harassment policy for your organisation is not enough. All employees have to undergo harassment training in order to be sensitive to verbal remarks, actions, and behaviours that could be construed as harassment.
Awareness of workplace harassment comes in many forms, not limited to the following:
- How to recognise harassment in the workplace
- Where to report the incidence and seek help when encountering harassment
- What is the process for filing harassment claims as a victim
- What are the disciplinary actions which offenders of harassment are likely to face
- How can a harassment victim move on and recover from the incident
Harassment training provides a platform for managers and employees to discuss harassment, discrimination and bullying openly, encouraging mutual respect and sensitivity among employees, while limiting the organisation’s liability.
3. Boost employee morale and retention
When harassment occurs at the workplace, the affected employees face reduced job satisfaction and start thinking about leaving their jobs, as the harassment takes a toll on their physical and emotional health. Having a good workplace harassment training program shows that the company is invested in employees’ well-being and welfare at work. When harassment is dealt with effectively, affected employees are less likely to resign. Employees are also assured of an environment of genuine concern and justice from the management, boosting their morale and retention.
4. Foster a gender-friendly workplace
Gender discrimination and sexual advances are part of workplace harassment, usually experienced by women. Sexist behaviours such as discrimination against pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are also making workers feel excluded or disrespected by their employees. Harassment training, which includes anti-discrimination advice, is likely to help companies reach positive outcomes such as preventing gender-based harassment, fostering a gender-friendly work environment and promoting gender equality at work.
5. Reduce resources spent on legal representation
For companies, taking legal action for workplace harassment involves significant economic costs as well as productivity loss, having to deal with both legal and mental healthcare costs.
Harassment training clarifies what is considered unprofessional and illegal behaviour, such as privacy violations and inappropriate gossiping. Harassment training is imperative to help organisations be proactive in educating employees and avoid running into harassment lawsuits.
Harassment Training Courses
Harassment instruction needs to be regular and dynamic in order to be engaging and effective. Using appropriate training resource software to deliver interactive messages to your employees focuses on how they can stay updated on the updated laws and be part of a respectful workplace.
Online training and assessment software helps organisations communicate a uniform message about harassment and upholding professional behaviour across the entity, allowing employees to complete the anti-harassment learning at their own pace.
The basics can be covered during online training through an interactive approach. Blended training is powerful, combining online training with in-person training, which engages employees through demonstrations and roleplay with scenarios encountered at the workplace. This is particularly helpful for managers to learn the ropes of listening and responding to harassment complaints and concerns.
Free Harassment Training Trial
Adopt the unique blended learning approach for your organisation’s training with Cloud Assess today. We offer online coursework with in-person training, as well as live video calls on request for evaluation and assessment purposes.
Get a free trial of our harassment training course to gain access to learning modules for your employees to be part of a safe and respectful workplace.