How to make harassment training work?

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How to make harassment training work?

The cost of training employees can quickly build up to an excessive amount of money for organizations. Researchers continue to prove the financial loses of workplace training because in many cases leaders within the organizations fail to solidify the purpose of the training of the employees, which leads employees reverting to their old ways. So the question arises, how do organizations create training programs that work for their employees and in turn the organization will get the most bang for their buck?

Behavior in the workplace can take on two general forms, passive presence and active presence. Passive presence involves employees attending a workshop or training course to learn about respect in the workplace and gender and diversity. During the workshop, employees might not want to be there or might not find themselves engaged throughout the training. The passive behavior continues within the organization when a leader ignores diversity and tolerates a toxic or archaic organizational culture. The ignorance of the leader will support an organization that maintains the status quo in the employees, despite the status quo being dated and not progressive for the changing diversity in the world.

Active presence involves interest and commitment to learning by employees. The commitment furthers when the leaders in an organization demonstrate the importance of respecting everyone regardless of race, sex, or gender. In active presence, the organizational culture is one that values and champions the differences of all employees. The behavior through active presence is following what is right regardless who is watching.

The difference between the two is apparent; however, in many cases, employers believe training is enough to change the behavior of employees and create a progressive organizational culture. Along with the training, employees need managerial support, coaching, and the ability to utilize the skills they have learned in the workplace to change the status quo. Without this, researchers have proven employees will revert to their old ways without a second thought about what they learned (Beer, Finnstrom & Schrader, 2016). Therefore, it is crucial to ensure all staff are coached and mentored on their newly acquired skills and understand how to treat one another with respect and dignity. With the support of all employees in an organization, only then will change of the organizational culture genuinely happen.

To learn more about training related to leadership, organizational culture, perfecting what we already know about harassment in the workplace, trauma-informed interviewing, or workplace investigations, check out Magnus Consulting. I offer training, workplace assessments, audits, coaching, and investigations related to issues in the workplace.

Jen Magnus is a DBA in Organizational Leadership, a workplace trainer in bullying and harassment, organizational culture, leadership, workplace investigations, and trauma-informed interviewing. She is a 14-year veteran of policing and a member of several Boards. All notes, publications, and opinions are her own unless otherwise specified. © Magnus Consulting 2018


Beer, M; Finnstrom, M, & Schrader, D. (2016, October). Why leadership training fails-and what to do about it. Retrieved (2018, March 12)

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