I’m a Content Producer at Grovo, which means I write and produce Grovo Microlearning® content. I recently produced a totally new set of sexual harassment prevention content. We saw a clear need in the world for better training in that area, and felt like we could make a meaningful difference.
As with all the content we produce here, I learned a ton through the process of making it. But in this case, the lessons resonated with me on a much deeper level, so I thought I’d share a bit about my experience.
Here are three things I learned working on this project.
Sexual Harassment is Everyone’s Responsibility
When I was first assigned this project, I worried that I wasn’t the right person for it. I’m a straight, white man. I’ve never been the target of sexual harassment. I can only do so much to relate to or put myself in the shoes of someone who has.
But the more I researched the topic, the more I realized that creating a culture where sexual harassment doesn’t happen falls on everyone, especially men. In fact, research has shown that in-person sexual harassment prevention training is more effective when led by a white man than by a woman.
What’s more, it shouldn’t be on the people who are most often targets of sexual harassment to solve the problem of sexual harassment. It’s up to the people who have privilege to check the unconscious bias that so often leads to discriminations. Everyone has the responsibility to examine those biases and address the problem.
We have to reframe our thinking about sexual harassment training
70% of companies have sexual harassment prevention training. But harassment numbers are the same as they were in the 1980s.
What this tells me is that while companies have a desire for compliance training, traditional compliance training doesn’t work. It focuses more on making sure companies address their legal liability, and doesn’t actually address the underlying causes of sexual harassment: non-inclusive cultures and unconscious bias.
That’s why it was crucial that we make a new type of sexual harassment prevention content. We needed to make something that was both legally compliant, and that actually worked.
We need to give people tools beyond legal remedies
Traditional sexual harassment compliance does a really good job of telling people and organizations what their legal responsibilities and options are for fighting sexual harassment. But according to one recent survey, 71% of women don’t report sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s not enough to tell people how to report sexual harassment, pat yourself on the back, and say “my job is done.”
Instead, we need to give people tools to combat both sexual harassment and the exclusions that can lead to a culture of sexual harassment and abuse. We need to empower employees to speak up about exclusion they see, and give them bystander intervention tools to safely step in when they see sexual harassment or abuse.
Sexual harassment prevention training is for everyone
The question I kept coming back to as I produced this content was: will this work? Because we’re serious about making truly helpful content and putting an end to sexual harassment. Of course, it’s going to take more than a training to get the job done, but still, providing a meaningful learning experience is the first step to getting people to change their attitudes and behaviors. That’s why we’ve made ten lessons available for free. I hope you’ll go through them, share them with colleagues and friends, and find ways to make your workplace a more safe, welcoming, and inclusive space, where everyone is able to do their best work.