According to a Washington Post study in 2017, 64% of Americans think that workplace sexual harassment is a serious issue. This number has risen from 47% in 2011, which suggests that this issue is a growing concern for American workers.
To protect their workers and their reputation, many organizations have begun implementing internal programs to educate their workers on acceptable workplace behavior, and the ramifications of sexual harassment. With that said, online sexual harassment training has grown in popularity among American companies.
Online sexual harassment training provides a great deal of benefits for organizations looking to train multiple employees at once. However, many business owners and executives are still confused about how it works, its effectiveness, and how they can find a good program that best fits their needs as a company.
Here’s an in-depth explanation of how online sexual harassment training works, and the benefits that follow.
What is Online Sexual Harassment Training?
Online sexual harassment training is an Internet-based educational method to make employees aware of what constitutes a sexually hostile environment. With the number of sexual harassment cases rising, many companies are now making it a compulsory aspect of basic employee training.
States like California, Delaware, and New York have made it mandatory for employers to provide sexual harassment training to their employees. Other states also strongly suggest that all employers should provide anti-harassment training to their workers.
In 2018, the state of New York and New York City passed the law requiring sexual harassment training to be provided to all employees on an annual basis. With such dire need in so many areas, holding physical classes is quite difficult. Therefore, many companies have resorted to online courses to educate their workforce to have a general understanding of sexual harassment, misconceptions about it, and the best way to handle such incidents.
Why is Online Sexual Harassment Training Important?
As mentioned earlier, work related sexual harassment is a rising concern. This isn’t, of course, limited to the corporate environment. Major celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Bill O’Reilly, Russel Simmons, and more recently, Harvey Weinstein, have faced sexual harassment accusations too.
What is shocking is that at the base of the movement, 33% of sexual harassment victims are men.
According to another survey where from a sample of 2000 adults, 81 percent women, and 43 percent of men said that they had been the victims of some form of sexual harassment in their lives.
Training has become inevitable considering these facts. Authorities, too, are adopting more stringent policies, and on many occasions have even made it compulsory for employees to undergo sexual harassment training.
Benefits of Online Sexual Harassment Training
From a safer workplace to higher productivity, sexual harassment training has numerous advantages. An unsafe working environment reduces productivity dramatically, increases stress levels and causes demotivation and discontent. This causes the company image to suffer, and eventually the business’ profitability.
Therefore, sexual harassment training helps prevent such scenarios, and conducting it online has its benefits. Apart from being cost-effective, it is an easy-to-use training method, which has several benefits. These include:
1. Safer Work Environment
Workplace stress can significantly cause a dip in performance. And sexual harassment can be a major cause of stress at work, creating an unsafe working atmosphere. It harbors feelings of fear and discomfort, which are not only felt by the victims, but by other people who work there as well.
Sexual harassment training clearly outlines what constitutes sexual provocation, what is inappropriate workplace behavior, how to approach a colleague of the opposite sex and so on. The purpose of this is to clear out any misconceptions in the minds of the employees so that no one can claim ignorance if the company takes action.
Safe work environment eventually translates into good productivity, quality, and better financial returns.
2. More Knowledgeable Workforce
Employees should be made aware of the difference between what friendly, warranted actions are and what are not. A training course not only clears out these misconceptions but also creates awareness about the consequences that can result from an act of sexual harassment for all parties involved.
It educates employees on how hostile acts can disturb victims psychologically, physically, and professionally. A sexual harassment training program creates awareness by educating people about personal space, professional respect, and boundaries.
It also informs them about the different medical, legal, and professional consequences that the perpetrator and the victims of an inappropriate sexual act might face.
3. Reduced Compliance Risk
An untrained workforce ignorant of sexual harassment issues is a huge financial, legal, and professional risk for employers. The lack of awareness can result in a violation of company policies and worse, of state or local laws.
All these aspects can have severe consequences for the business. For example, if one employee takes legal action against their colleague for sexually harassing them, the company will be questioned about whether they trained their workforce to learn anti-harassment laws. If they discover that the employees don’t have training, the company can face huge financial penalties and lose their standing in society.
This in return can have other serious consequences for the business as well. For example, the inability to new skilled employees, investors hesitant to invest, and even customer boycott.
4. Track Progress Online
A significant benefit of the online training course is that the results and progress are readily available to track. The management can quickly evaluate which employee stands at what stage of the training, and know what exactly they have learned out of the courses.
The trainees too can easily check their syllabus out and see how long they have to go, what they have learned so far, and what to expect next.
5. Complete Training from Anywhere
One of the best things about an online training course is its easy accessibility. Since the courses are online, employees can participate in the training at their leisure. Non-virtual classes take place in classrooms, at a set schedule. Attending these classes require a lot of time and effort.
Another good thing about a virtual sexual harassment training program is that your lectures are available on the website 24/7. You can access them whenever you want, and even pause, rewind or repeat them in case you don’t understand something at first. You will not get such luxuries in traditional classrooms where you must be considerate of your classmates as well.
The private nature of these courses is important because sexual harassment is a sensitive topic. People may have questions regarding the subject that they may shy away from asking in front of other people. An online course offers discretion which a traditional classroom cannot afford.
It is very difficult for professionals to take time out of their work schedule to take these courses. Online classes give them room to set their classes according to their schedule, as it suits them.
Where to Find Online Sexual Harassment Training Courses
While online sexual harassment training courses offer many benefits, you need to select your courses carefully. If your workplace hasn’t already recommended a course, you need to make sure you select the right one. It is important that you select a course that is accredited and covers a wide range of topics.
360training.com is a platform where comprehensive anti-sexual harassment courses are available from which both managers and employees can benefit. From defining sexual harassment to clearing numerous misconceptions about it, and then educating people on how to handle it, these courses cover all the critical aspects of the subject.