Gender-based discrimination and harassment have been a big issue lately. Especially with the rise of the #metoo movement, it’s important to make sure that your company culture isn’t one that encourages such behavior. There can be legal and financial consequences for companies that appear to be allowing it.
Even big-name companies, such as Uber, are not exempt. CEOs have resigned, employees, fired, and customers lost over harassment and discrimination. So what can you do to make sure your company doesn’t face the same problems?
Equal Opportunity Hiring
The first step is to make sure that your company invests in equal opportunity hiring and promotion. Look at the percentages of men and women in different departments and at different levels across your company. If there are many more men than women, it can be worth investigating to make sure your hiring and promotion policies aren’t inadvertently discriminatory.
Every company wants to hire the best candidates for the job and equal opportunity hiring helps do just that. Ensuring a diverse staff at all levels of the company brings in different viewpoints and even makes the company more money. Your customers are diverse, so a diverse staff can help you to better meet their needs.
Educate Your Staff
While harassment training is common, it can’t hurt to look over your training methods. Your training course may be in need of updates. It can be just as important to teach employees what is not discrimination as it is to teach what is. Knowing what behavior is appropriate can help employees worried about offending others relax.
Training doesn’t have to be boring, either. If it’s done in combination with lunch or other entertainment, employees may pay more attention and view mandatory training as less of a chore.
Take Complaints Seriously
If you want your company to be harassment-free, it’s vital that you take all complaints of harassment or discrimination seriously. Your employees need to know that their reports will be listened to and investigated. This may mean hiring neutral external investigators for egregious incidents. It also may mean firing some employees. But by taking complaints seriously and investigating them thoroughly, you’re committing to a company culture of respect and inclusion. Having a culture that discourages harassment and discrimination can help prevent future incidents as well.
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