In the wake of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, people in all different fields have been explaining how workplace harassment has affected their lives. Many victims are fearful of backlash if they come forward, meaning many incidents go unrecorded. In fact, 1 in 4 women in the workplace experience harassment at some point. If this number doesn’t alarm you, it should, and if it does, you probably want to help. As a leader in your company, it is your duty to keep the workplace safe for all employees, male and female. These are a few small, but impactful, ways you can make sure your office remains safe for everyone.
Keep Your Door Open
Keeping your door open does not just mean being available to talk if a situation occurs. Physically keeping your door propped open allows you to hear and be a part of the floor’s interactions. Beyond that, employees suffering after incidents will not need to question whether or not you are available. If your door is open, they are less likely to worry about disturbing you, which may lead to more honesty when problems happen.
Have An Alternate Resource
Male supervisors may not receive many complaints from female employees. The same goes for female supervisors and male employees. If you believe someone might be uncomfortable coming to you with a problem, make sure each employee has an alternate resource they can report to. This could be another supervisor or someone in HR. Either way, showing that you are not the only person willing to listen could mean victims have an easier time coming forward.
If you witness an employee say or do something inappropriate to someone else, make sure to say something. You do not necessarily have to do this in full view of their coworkers, but you should take them aside and discuss the situation. Even if the offending act was a joke, you should explain how it could be taken out of context, and how others in the vicinity may be uncomfortable, too. Once your talk is done, contact the victim to get their side of the situation. Determine if further action needs to take place, based on your company’s harassment protocol. Finally, contact HR to ensure there is a record of the incident.
Although no one likes to be the bad guy at work, it is important to step in when harassment is occurring. Make sure all of your employees know that harassment is not acceptable, and be there for anyone who wants to report an inappropriate behavior. With your help, corporate America can become safer for all workers.