Sexual Harassment Policies Make or Break Your Talent Acquisition

Nancy Gray-Starkebaum

I was chatting with a former colleague about the surge in media attention on sexual harassment and I told her I thought our former employer did a good job of handling harassment – she stopped me in my tracks when she reminded me of a few instances where this was not the case and where senior leaders actively dropped, sidestepped, or redirected investigations related to harassment. It wasn’t just our mutual former employer. It had happened in many of the companies I’ve worked at and many friends and colleagues have had similar experiences.

 

You can’t help but be aware of harassment, especially sexual harassment today. From megastars to politicians to USA gymnasts, sexual harassment is headline news. How will this impact your business, your culture, and how you attract candidates?

 

Research from PwC shows that amongst millennials, equality and diversity are important when choosing an employer. In fact, 82% of female millennials consider an employer’s policy on diversity, equality, and workforce inclusion as an important part in their job search.

Women are more likely to view company sexual harassment policies and determine their want to work at the organizaiton

I believe that the emphasis millennials place on diversity, equality, and inclusion will expand to include an employer’s policy on harassment. If you don’t get ahead of this, you stand to lose talent to employers with strong harassment policies and programs – things that go beyond training.

 

What can you do? Ask yourself these questions…

  1. Do you have a policy on harassment that is easily understood and outlines what employees, managers, and leaders need to do when they experience or see harassment happening?
  2. Do your employees know how to find your policy and do they believe its embedded into your culture?
  3. If you interviewed everyone in Human Resources, would they all have the same understanding of harassment investigations and policies in your organization?
  4. Do the quiet whispers in your organization tell you that harassment investigations are handled with sensitivity and transgressors are dealt with swiftly and fairly so that victims feel supported?
  5. Are you confident your leadership team embraces and lives with a zero tolerance for harassment?

 

If you answered yes to all of the questions, then you should be shouting about your harassment policies from the rooftops – or at least through your social media channels and career site.

 

Don’t be afraid to be transparent when it comes to your harassment policies and your approach to resolving issues. It will help you attract talent and improve your brand!