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Beyond Checking the Box: Sexual Harassment Training That Works

Sexual Harassment prevention training has been widespread since the 1980s. But the rates of sexual harassment complaints have not gone down in the decades since. While many companies have some sort of sexual harassment prevention training and policy, that statement is quite dismal.

“I’ve been in L&D for a long time and I’ve seen sexual harassment prevention training done very poorly, very neutrally, but in general, I’ve seen it emphasized solely as, ‘did we get all the signatures on the paper’,” said Summer Salomonsen, Grovo’s Chief Learning Officer.

For decades, sexual harassment prevention training was treated as a check-the-box task for companies with little to no thought beyond that.

That’s why in June of this year, we launched a refreshed version of our sexual harassment prevention training that applies everything we know about powerful, virtual content creation and created truly impactful training. In short, if you’re looking for cheesy videos and corny scenarios, you won’t find them here.

Earlier this week, Grovo’s Director of Content Strategy, John Marshall led an informative webinar discussion with the two individuals who were instrumental in creating our refreshed training: Summer Salomonsen and Content Producer Joe Stanton.

Rip and Replace Approach

“Over the course of my career, it became evident that we never really applied our best instructional design sense to sexual harassment prevention training. For decades, we’ve gone about it in the same way, we’ve been doing the same poor training—hoping that somehow—it’s going to elicit a change,” said Summer.

Grovo’s training is different. In Summer’s words, our brand of sexual harassment prevention training takes a “rip and replace approach.” Alongside meeting compliance requirements, our training targets root causes and behaviors to catalyze meaningful change by prioritizing for themes:

Bystander Intervention
Promoting a bystander intervention approach means equipping employees with specific strategies for speaking up and intervening when they see harassment or something inappropriate.

Unconscious Bias
Sexual harassment is discrimination. It’s about power, not about sexual desire. By including unconscious bias into our content it forces learners to examine their biases and understand their quick assumptions about harassment.

“To really fix sexual harassment, we need a systemic change and that means changing everyone. So that means no one automatically thinks ‘oh she led him on’ when they hear about an incident—that’s a quick snap judgement that often comes from unconscious bias,” said Joe.

Building Inclusive Teams
Small exclusions are another form of discrimination that can ladder up and be symptoms of larger issues. Our content aims to help build inclusive teams where companies work toward identifying exclusionary practices and eliminating them from their workplace.

“As a leader, I’m so often prepared to deal with the big problems—the big exclusions—but when brought out case after case again throughout the content—these small exclusions are what fractures teams. And for me, that means we lose productivity, we lose ability to be successful as a company,” said Summer.

Empowering Employees
Much like bystander intervention, our content aims to empower employees by creating a “speak up” culture where they have the freedom and tools to say that they’re not comfortable with small or big exclusions.

“Our job in the learning role is about helping people make good decisions in the moment. How many companies wish they could have empowered their employees before news hit the streets on workplace harassment?” asked Summer.

Questions from the Webinar

If I have employees in both California and New York, should I train them in their own individual state requirements or will one training suffice?
On Grovo, we’ve built specific prebuilt campaigns that align with the needs of each state. We encourage you to cross-reference them because there are useful lessons in California that you can use in New York and vice versa. For example, all the California training will include the LGBTQ inclusion and use of conduct, and New York’s will focus on things like retaliation and bystander intervention.

Should a company do two different trainings—one for employees and one for managers?
Employees should take the training for employees and we recommend that managers take the training for both managers and employees. Managers are individuals too, they also have peers and will need to learn the skills offered in our employee training track.

Want more information?

This was only a snippet of what we covered during our webinar. For a full recording of our insights, a breakdown of how our content was designed, and implementation best practices, watch our on-demand webinar Beyond Checking the Box: Sexual Harassment Training That Works.

Microlearning New Content

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and We’ve Got the Perfect Lessons For You

October is Cybersecurity Awareness month, and what better way to greet it than Facebook’s announcement on September 28 that its computer network was hacked, exposing the personal information of nearly 50 million people. At the risk of writing about Facebook too much, it’s worth reflecting on this breach because it’s a reminder that even (or maybe especially) the largest and most powerful companies are susceptible to breaches. No matter who you are or what size your company is, focusing on the security of your data is crucial.

Over the last few months, we’ve developed new Grovo Microlearning® content on data privacy and information security. We’re taking a modern approach to cybersecurity training, so that every organization and employee can understand the risks they face in keeping their data secure, and take the necessary steps to mitigate those threats. In the spirit of Cybersecurity Awareness month, here’s a recap of our recent releases:

Data Privacy

In 2018, the security awareness training company MediaPro released its Eye on Privacy Report, in which employees were surveyed about data privacy best practices. When asked to rate the sensitivity of different types of information on a scale of zero to five (with five being most sensitive), only 53 percent of respondents rated medical records a five — a surprisingly low number given that healthcare data is often heavily protected under the law. As MediaPro founder Steve Conrad put it, “Companies could be doing a better job educating their employees” about the different types of private information.

Our new Data Privacy content will help employees gain a fuller understanding of the different types of private information that their companies manage. It will also teach employees best practices for responsibly collecting and using that data.

Information Security

According to a 2014 IBM report, over 95% of security incidents involve human error as a contributing factor. Organizations do what they can to protect their information and thwart cyber crime, investing a lot of money in cybersecurity. But one of data security’s biggest threats is human behavior. Our new Information Security content seeks to minimize human error by empowering learners with straightforward, common-sense ways to protect their data from unauthorized access and use.

This content teaches employees about basic best practices for minimizing data security threats. It also helps learners identify phishing attempts, which are the most common form of cyber attack.


The E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, went into effect back in May, but it’s worth revisiting what the new regulation means for your company. Many companies don’t understand the geographical scope of the GDPR, specifically that it could apply to any company anywhere that processes the personal data of citizens of the European Union.

Our GDPR content is geared toward helping everyone understand some of the provisions of the GDPR, including relevant definitions, potential applications, and penalties, that will help organizations understand their required level of compliance.

Don’t Wait to Take Security Seriously

The risks of cybersecurity threats are real and can impact every company, big or small. Don’t wait till after you’ve been affected to take it seriously. Start training your people on the best ways to keep your company’s information safe with one of our lessons, Minimize Data Security Risks.

Microlearning New Content

Sexual Harassment Training on Grovo: A Comparison with New York State’s Model Training

It’s October 9, which means New York State’s Labor Law § 201-g, goes into effect today. This law mandates that New York State employers must conduct sexual harassment prevention training for all employees based in the state.

Additionally, today is also the deadline for employers to update and publish their sexual harassment policies (we’ve put a guide together for you here).

With the training requirement going into effect today, we wanted to make sure that your organization is prepared not only on the policy side, but the training side as well.

Grovo’s sexual harassment prevention training meets and exceeds the minimum requirements for both New York State and New York City. By empowering employees to spot symptoms of hostility, promoting an active bystander approach, helping people address unconscious bias, and building a lasting culture of inclusion, our content takes a modern approach to sexual harassment training.

See how our content compares to New York State’s model training below.

The Basics of Preventing Harassment
Our approach at Grovo: Relevant sections of New York’s model training
Our lessons help learners understand the cultural factors that often allow toxic workplaces to form, equipping learners with strategies for spotting and interrupting harassment that they witness.

Spotlight lessons:

  • “Why Sexual Harassment Really Happens”
  • “The Small Exclusions That Happen in a Noninclusive Culture”
  • “The Impact of Sexual Harassment”
  • “Why Refusing to Be Alone With Women Doesn’t Help Anyone”
  • “What Sexual Harassment Really Looks Like”
  • “What to Do if You’re the Target of Sexual Harassment”
  • What is Harassment?
    Zero Tolerance
  • Sexual Harassment Overview
  • What is Sexual Harassment?
    Hostile Environment
    Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
  • Who Can Be the Target of Sexual Harassment?
  • Who Can Be the Perpetrator of Sexual Harassment?
  • Where Can Workplace Sexual Harassment Occur?
  • Sex Stereotyping


Recognizing & Reporting Harassment
Our approach at Grovo: Relevant sections of New York’s model training
Our lessons were designed for everyday people, not lawyers. In this way, we incorporate legal discussion contextually and avoid bogging the learner down in weighty legalese.

Spotlight lessons:

  • “What Sexual Harassment Really Looks Like”
  • “The Impact of Sexual Harassment”
  • “What to Do if You’re the Target of Sexual Harassment”
  • “Why It’s the Manager’s Job to Address Abusive Conduct”
  • “What to Say to Someone Who Commits Sexual Harassment”
  • “Support People Who Come to You with Sexual Harassment Claims”
  • What Should I Do If I Am Harassed?
  • What Should I Do If I Witness Sexual Harassment?
  • Investigation and Corrective Action
    Investigation Process
  • Retaliation
    What is Retaliation?
    What is Not Retaliation?
  • Who Can Be the Perpetrator of Sexual Harassment?
  • Additional Protections and Remedies
    New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR)
    United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    Local Protections
  • Other Types of Workplace Harassment


The Manager’s Responsibility
Our approach at Grovo: Relevant sections of New York’s model training
Team managers have a special responsibility not only to spot sexual harassment when it happens, but also to create the conditions on their team that make it less likely to occur. Our content helps managers follow necessary procedures under California law, and also to create an inclusive team culture that makes harassment and discrimination less likely.

Spotlight lessons:

  • “What to Say to Someone Who Has Been the Target of Abusive Behavior”
  • “What to Say to Someone You See Being Abusive”
  • “Support People Who Come to You With Sexual Harassment Claims”
  • “Practice: Support Someone Who Makes a Sexual Harassment Claim”
  • “What to Do If You’re Accused of Sexual Harassment”
  • “Why People Don’t Speak Up When They’ve Been Sexually Harassed”
  • The Supervisor’s Responsibility
    Mandatory Reporting

Want to get started?

With New York State’s sexual harassment prevention training requirement going into effect today, the state aims to standardize how employers approach harassment in the workplace to ensure that all those involved are treated fairly and consistently. To learn more about how Grovo’s sexual harassment prevention training content can help you build more inclusive and safe workplaces, watch our on-demand webinar.