Why Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Training May Not Be Enough

Companies are requiring employees to complete an annual “Anti-Harassment and Discrimination” training, as they should. Efforts to eradicate such activity in the workplace must be encouraged and applauded. It’s not only a great idea but it’s becoming the law in many states.

And yet, something seems to be missing. Most of this type of training available today focus on what NOT to do – don’t harass, don’t have biases, don’t discriminate. Our workforce is so busy making sure they don’t do these things that a natural vacuum has been created.

Employees are afraid to interact. Understand that harassment, bias and discrimination all contribute to a toxic work environment. When such activity goes unchecked, employees feel:

  • Singled-out
  • Targeted
  • Talked about
  • Ignored
  • Isolated
  • Disrespected

Who would feel welcomed in such an environment? Addressing these problems with proper training and zero-tolerance enforcement is only a partial solution. When this is the ONLY plan in place, companies may be contributing to other unintended consequences.

In a workplace that solely focuses on eradicating toxic activities, employees can quickly become:

  • Isolated
  • Cautious
  • Fearful
  • Introverted
  • Isolated
  • Disrespected

So what can be done? Simple. Implement what I call “the other half of the solution.” Implement INCLUSION.

Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Above our basic physiological and safety needs, people need to belong, be loved and esteemed. We must create a work environment that addresses the issues of harassment, bias, and discrimination while building a culture of inclusion.

What is inclusion? Inclusion means that all employees, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, religious or political affiliations, and other important preferences have the right to be respected and appreciated as valuable members of their communities.

Don’t mistake small talk or being cordial as marks of inclusion. Your organization must make every employee feel equal and enthusiastically-welcomed for this is how employees thrive. An environment of inclusion engages employees, which means they:

  • Commitment to the organization’s goals and mission
  • Contribute to the company’s success
  • Encourage co-workers to perform at higher levels

According to a recent survey by Wyatt Watson, engaged employees:

  • Are twice as likely as their less engaged peers to be top performers
  • Miss 20 percent fewer days of work
  • Exceed or far exceed expectations in their most recent performance review
  • Support organizational change initiatives
  • Are resilient in the face of change

There are many recent surveys that make it clear that writing and implementing policies that foster inclusion are not only GREAT from a human perspective, it’s also true from a financial viewpoint. Employees in an inclusive workplace out perform in all areas.

So, what are you doing to ensure your company addresses the vacuum created by lessons that ONLY focuses on what “not to do?” One-sided training is causing the problem, so expand your online course offering. Consider augmenting your current online courses with a library like those offered in Ability Platform.

Building a healthy environment produces a work culture that attracts and retains the best talent. Empower your team to be better leaders, problem solvers, and innovators with a well-rounded library of online lessons. Significant savings realized by decreased turn-over and risk reduction, far out weights the initial cost. It’s a fact that organizations investing in training enjoy 40% higher margins than their competitors.

Are you making your employees feel important and vital to your organization? If you can confidently answer ‘YES,’ then continue what you are doing. Set aside funding to invest in a fresh, vibrant library of online training.

If your answer is ‘NO,’ then it’s never too late to get started. But don’t wait until your talent leaves to find a better environment. Give MaxIT a call at 1 (800) 868-8039 or send an email to sales@maxit.com. They can help you.

Call to Action – Make a Difference!

Don’t let this become another blog you enjoyed but never applied the recommendations. If you are a decision maker or an opinion leader in your organization, then start. If you are a team member, make the decision to transform your environment. Do everything you can to be inclusive.

Many of the ideas in this article come from my subscription to Ability Platform. I invite you to register for a Free 7-Day Trial. Then enroll in the Workplace Compliance learning path and it’s 112 short video-based lessons for more insights to building a better work environment.

MaxIT offers 100+ other learning paths and 2500+ premium micro-learning lessons. Develop 1-2 skills in the average time it takes most people to finish their first cup of coffee; and if you are a binge-learner, you’ll love the NetFlix-like user experience. 

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