The Ins & Outs of an Effective Harassment Training Program: Consistency in Training by Using Online Training
What does an effective harassment training program really mean?
The United States workforce has come a long way since the 1970s and prior years when women were discouraged from holding leadership positions and were dealing with open harassment daily.
Even with all these past efforts, harassment continues to affect many professionals in today’s workplace. A few once-a-year training courses to fulfill legal requirements are not sufficient. Nor is harassment training just for new employees.
Effective workplace harassment training occurs when awareness and education takes root within an entire organization. When employees consistently learn more about appropriate workplace behavior and equity, a culture of trust where employees feel safe and respected develops. This happens from consistent harassment training. Soft skills training helps as well.
More than half of the United States employees surveyed in 2023 experienced or witnessed inappropriate or illegal incidents at work. The most prevalent issues included bullying, sexual harassment, racism, and harassment related to age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Settling a harassment claim out of court can cost employers between $75,000 and $125,000, if the employer wins, according to workforce.com.
If the employer loses the case, that total typically ranges from $175,000 to $250,000 — but may even surpass $150 million in damages. These damages can include lost wages, vacation and sick pay, medical expenses (including counseling or therapy), and many other costs.
What constitutes workplace harassment?
Workplace harassment includes any unwelcome behavior, conduct, or communication that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment. Abusive conduct can take many forms, such as verbal or physical aggression, subtle comments, nonverbal gestures, or offensive images or messages.
Harassment can be based on:
- Age (40 or older)
- Genetic information (including family medical history)
- National origin
- Sex (pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity)
What are the benefits of consistent online workplace harassment training?
The benefits of consistent online harassment training far outweigh the costs. This includes both mandatory compliance training as well as ongoing learning and periodic refresher training. It’s a good idea to seriously consider the host of benefits of consistent harassment training:
- Ensures up-to-date information. In today’s world, it’s too costly risky for companies not to have consistent online harassment training. Compliance rules and regulations are constantly evolving and changing. Consistent training courses several times a year ensure that employees are always up to date with the latest knowledge and best practices.
- Increases engagement. Sporadic or inconsistent workplace harassment training can easily result in loss of interest or disengagement. The additional cost of consistent training is well worth the investment. When learners engage with course content regularly, they are likely to stay motivated and involved in the learning process. Likewise, when employees see the investment in time and money their employer is making, they’ll understand the value and be onboard. Their involvement will give them a renewed sense of belonging.
- More effectively retain information. Infrequent, lengthy harassment training courses make it difficult for employees to digest all the pertinent material. Not to mention, who enjoys hours of training? Learning is more effective when consistently presented over time and in shorter courses. Microlearning allows the learner to be more engaged and retain information. This type of learning reduces cognitive overload. Information moves from short-term to long-term memory. Consistent learning ensures employees get repeated exposure to the content, making it easier to absorb. Thus, reinforcing key takeaways, job satisfaction, and improving retention.
- Fosters a workplace culture of trust. When continuous harassment training is not occurring, toxic work environments can quickly develop. Consequently, employee morale suffers, retention drops, and possible harassment lawsuits are filed. Consistent harassment training makes employees feel safe, respected, and supported. Everyone understands misconduct will not be tolerated. This allows them to feel comfortable reporting any wrongdoings. It also creates a safe environment to protect employees from retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior. Employees know violators will be held accountable for their actions. An environment of trust flourishes throughout the workplace.
- Establishes and reinforces a workplace culture of continuous learning. If companies are lackadaisical about their harassment training, what does that say about the trust they have in the company? When employees see that learning is a regular and valued activity, they’re more likely to view it as an integral part of their role. In turn employee productivity increases. A consistent employee training program establishes a routine so employees can integrate training into their daily or weekly schedules. Setting aside time for learning and development becomes a habitual activity. Company morale improves.
- Better tracking and assessments of training. How does human resources truly know if all employees understand state and federal harassment laws and best practices if they only take mandatory training courses once a year? With consistent online training, human resources can more effectively track the learner’s progress, identify gaps in knowledge, and adjust such training sessions as necessary.
- The company’s reputation and brand shine. When the public hears about a company sued for harassment charges, their opinion of the entire organization changes for the worse. Quality workplace harassment training lets employees know they are valued. Employees who feel their companies care about them will likely stay with the company, go the extra mile, and put in a day’s quality work. Businesses with an engaged workforce are also more likely to attract new and qualified employees. Not to mention, consistent harassment training keeps the company out of lawsuits that can instantly ruin a company’s reputation.
HSI Can Help!
Ready to create a harassment-free workplace? HSI offers an in-depth, all-encompassing online compliance and harassment employee training program for all audiences. The training bundle pairs learnings on key workplace regulations, such as FMLA, FLSA, and ADA, with comprehensive harassment prevention training. Whether for an HR professional ensuring policies are within compliance, a business leader concerned about potential litigation, or an employee who believes their rights have been violated, this bundle has what everyone needs.
Our HSI LMS is built mobile-first, learner-first. Employees can access it any time and at their own pace. Take the first step and request a free trial to learn more. Ensure not only up-to-date harassment intel but also employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention. You can also build a workplace culture of trust and continuous learning, access and track training, and protect your company’s brand and reputation. Consistent harassment training can have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
Here’s just some of the wide variety of HSI’s online compliance and harassment training courses:
- Bystander Training
- Discrimination-Free Workplace
- Discrimination: The Protected Classes
- HIPAA: The Basics
- Healthy Culture
- Investigating Harassment Claims
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
- Sexual Harassment Training Program and Discrimination Prevention
- Understanding Harassment
- Understanding Offenders
- Understanding Targets
- Warning Signs
- What is Diversity?
- Workplace Bullying for Employees
- Writing and Communicating Anti-Harassment Policy
HSI’s workplace harassment training encompasses 13 core courses. Additional training materials are available to satisfy unique state laws or city requirements.
- New York (City & State)
- Rhode Island
For more information on the best way HSI can help, request a free trial of our LMS.