This post has been a long time in the works. I think it’s fair to say that #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have changed us – both individually and organizationally. While so much progress has happened in a short period of time, there are still many conversations that need to happen and a lot of action to be taken.
At this year’s WorkHuman Conference, pioneered by Globoforce, there was an incredible panel moderated by Wharton professor Adam Grant that included journalist Ronan Farrow, actor Ashley Judd, and social activist Tarana Burke. My two-cents is the panel said some things that human resources professionals, and the organizations they’re a part of, need to take very seriously.
As HR pros, we know that we have a role to play in making sure our workplaces are free from harassment. And anti-harassment policies are only the beginning. HR needs to develop the institutional courage to drive cultural change. While the comment received some laughter at the time, no one should have to tell an employee to put their penis away at work. (And just in case you’re wondering, yes, that does happen.)
It’s societal change that will address this matter. And for human resources that means doing our part in changing company culture. Because if this type of behavior is considered acceptable inside organizations, it will be considered acceptable in society.
And while I understand that movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are about more than sexual harassment, I do believe that organizations need to review their policies and make sure that they are clear. According to a new survey from Xpert HR, more than half (53 percent) of respondents said that sexual harassment policies and training would take on a greater concern in 2018. However, while most (92 percent) have a formal sexual harassment policy, only 38 percent plan to update their policies in 2018. It makes no sense to drive a change in company culture if the basic principles that employees are supposed to follow aren’t in place. We can’t just change policies after the fact.
This is a lot to process for HR professionals. They must sort out their own feelings while helping the organization navigate through their own change. Here are some resources that might help get conversations started.
Our friend Kate Bischoff wrote a terrific article on her blog titled, “Let Go of Welcomeness”
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) has several resources focused on building workplaces that are free from harassment. If you’re a member, check out the resources and tools section on the SHRM website.
Workplace Fairnessis a nonprofit organization that provides information, education and assistance to individual workers and their advocates nationwide and promotes public policies that advance employee rights.
Finally, I want to share with you a different type of resource being developed. I must admit that I wouldn’t have initially given this idea the time of day, but Tarana Burke said something during WorkHuman that really stuck with me about the positive role that pop culture can play in our lives. There’s a Kickstarter campaign going on right now calledDefine the Line – Comic Book – Sexual Harassment Training. Before dismissing the notion of a comic book, check it out. It could be a resource that resonates with people.
And that’s what matters. We must start resonating. I don’t claim to have all the answers here. But I do believe that we need to start talking and listening more. And holding ourselves and others accountable.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the 2016 MBTI Users Conference in San Francisco, CA10