Activities that some people consider ‘normal’ or non-offensive are harmful to others. Things like street harassment and uninvited flirting can cause psychological, emotional, or even physical damage. In the past, everyone assumed that sexual harassment was a male-on-female thing. But as gender equality opens up more opportunities, everyone is at risk of experiencing some form of it. Either way, it’s a barrier to an effective work environment. It’s your organization’s responsibility to curb it with policy and training. Here are 5 tips to develop sexual harassment prevention online training that mitigates the risks.
5 Insider Tips To Create Effective Anti-Harassment Courses
1. Low-Cost, High-Impact VR Scenarios
If you’re really serious about defeating sexual harassment, digital VR goggles are an option. Sessions last half an hour each and immerse the corporate learner in a 3D world where they watch a colleague experiencing sexual harassment. The scenario teaches them how to identify and respond to sexual harassment when it’s happening to someone else. It also teaches you how to react when it happens to you. The scenario is organic and feels authentic.
For example, after someone is harassed, the corporate learner receives a ‘text’ from a virtual co-worker. The text points out that the victim looks uncomfortable, and maybe the perpetrator was out of line. The corporate learner can then ‘glance’ at the victim and assesses their discomfort. They get prompted with suggested responses, both to the text and to the victim. The scenario unfolds based on what response they gave, and how long they wait before they react. In another scene, a victim explains what happened to them and asks for advice.
2. Experiential Online Training
Employees receive empathetic suggestions. During their post-scene assessment, provide them with personalized eLearning feedback explaining how they could have handled it better. They’re offered a shot to redo the online training assessment and metrics record their responses. This intrinsically tracks whether the sexual harassment prevention online training is working. There are also scenarios that empower staff members on how to respond when they’re a victim. It shows them how to correct and/or escalate incidents of sexual harassment. This is crucial. They need to know how to deal with it in cases where they’re scared.
For example, if their harasser is a superior they might be afraid of being fired. If their attacker is in close quarters or they work in isolation, they could be at risk of physical harm. This kind of online training protects them not just at work, but also in other situations. It arms them to deal with sexual harassment on their commute or in public spheres. This ensures their overall lives are safer, making them feel valued and respected.
3. Make It Nuanced
As for the scenarios themselves, don’t default to the obvious. Off-colored remarks and physical infractions are pretty straightforward. But sometimes the harassment is subtler, even though its results are just as hurtful. Introduce situations that are less distinctly objectionable. For example, what if it’s a joke, innuendo, or a ‘compliment’ that skirts sexual boundaries? What if it’s a consensual romance that turns vindictive after the breakup? What if it’s a gendered uniform that plays up visibly sexual characteristics? In such cases, the ‘right’ response is harder to gauge, so sexual harassment prevention online training becomes more crucial.
All these depictions can play out using online training simulations, animations, and video demos. You should also create a safe space where employees can openly discuss these issues. Include a moderator to control passions, because this is a contentious topic and tempers can flare. You don’t want the online discussion to inadvertently turn into a new harassment platform. After all, in these situations – and especially online – people often attack each other under the guise of ‘just being honest.’
4. Ditch The Theories And Make It Relatable
Many organizations make the mistake of covering theoretical instances of sexual harassment. For example, emphasizing the rules in place, but not driving the point home with relatable applications. Employees must be aware of how sexual harassment prevention compliance training ties into their work duties and professional lives. Use personal anecdotes to reveal what it’s like to experience offensive behavior. Or invite managers and supervisors to host online training events within their department to share their insights. Of course, they shouldn’t name names, but highlight experiences from the past that help corporate learners connect.
5. Outline Acceptable Behaviors And Protocols
Develop infographics and other clear-cut outlines that explain acceptable work behaviors. As well as protocols that employees should follow if they do notice sexual harassment violations. For example, they must report the incident to their manager or use the anonymous online form. They can use these online training resources as reference tools and knowledge refreshers if they aren’t sure if something constitutes a ‘violation.’ That said, they should always feel comfortable contacting a superior if a co-worker’s or client’s actions make them uneasy. In fact, it’s best to get their input and continually reevaluate your anti-harassment guidelines to ensure they’re still relevant and up to date. For instance, they incorporate tech-related harassment, such as offensive social media posts or comments.
Sexual harassment is a tricky subject. Victims are frequently accused of being ‘too sensitive’ while perpetrators may not see how their actions are harmful. ‘They’re just words.’ However, a victim can feel just as violated as they would if they were physically attacked. Use Virtual Reality to help your team recognize harassment. Give them online training simulations and tools to identify the incident, comfort the victim, reprimand the harasser, and escalate the situation. Sexual harassment prevention online training should give the perspective of an aggressor, a victim, and a bystander. And don’t just stick to the most common offenses. Offer sexual harassment prevention online training in nuanced circumstances as well. They’re more insidious, and as a result, potentially more damaging.
You don’t have to develop anti-harassment resources in-house. Use our free online directory to find the best outsourcing partner or off-the-shelf solutions for your compliance online training program.