How to Provide Sexual Harassment Training

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Sexual Harassment

Knowing how to create and administer high-quality training sessions on any topic can be quite difficult.  When it comes to something like sexual harassment training, though, you can double that challenge.  Approaching the topic at all is like heading into a proverbial minefield – you never really know when it will set someone off or trigger bad memories for them.

How can we do it, then?  Conjunctionally, how can we approach it in a meaningful and applicable way without being insensitive?  That is precisely what I will be discussing today.  While taking a peek at some statistics as listed on this page may give you some of the needed context, it is still best to learn more as well.

Remember the Rules of Presentation

Admittedly, this may seem like an obvious place to go for this topic.  With that being said, I do feel that it is still quite important to cover.  You see, if we do not have the basics achieved for running a training session on any topic, then succeeding with the most delicate of ones will be nigh impossible.  

So, what should we keep in mind, then?  Eye contact is a big one.  While we should certainly not bore our eyes into our audience’s ceaselessly, it is still a large part of making a connection.  

In addition to that, consider utilizing anecdotes and personal stories as a way to improve the session.  It may not always work but has been demonstrated to be an effective method of reaching your audience in the way that you are seeking to.  Especially when handling something like this, making the message hit home will go a long way.

Think about it for a moment.  When we speak about it in a vacuum, as if it does not have real and tangible impacts on people each and every day, there is less compelling us to care about it all that strongly.  In contrast, if we offer those personal stories and provide evidence that there is a real problem, impacting real people, it tends to be more impactful.

Therefore, when implementing mandatory sexual harassment training, this may be the correct way to go about it.  Obviously, you should not get overly graphic.  Instead, just provide evidence from the heart and back it up with statistics.  Data-driven emotional tales certainly tug at the heart strings.

Be Tactful

Something that we learn when reading over the curriculum and the stats surrounding this is that it happens quite often.  Unfortunately, that means that anyone working for us has potentially experienced a form of harassment.  Whether it was at work or not, the material that you present could potentially be upsetting for them by bringing their bad memories to the forefront of their mind.

“Triggering” someone is what we can call this.  To some extent, it is unavoidable in courses like this.  However, there are practices that we can put into action that can help to prevent it.

For example, you could include a warning in the memo that you send out about the material that some of the content discussed could be potentially upsetting.  If an employee approaches you and explains that they have experienced harassment and would rather not attend the session, that will be up to your own discretion.  Typically, though, I would say that it is okay to exempt them.

Still, keep something like that on the downlow.  You do not want to encourage everyone to lie about something like that just to get out of the training, after all.  As long as you exercise an appropriate level of tact and understanding, though, you should be fine.  

Consider External Options

Perhaps you have read through this entire article so far but are still feeling some discomfort surrounding the topic and how to present it on your own.  There is no shame in that.  For any memos that you need to send out, you can look at resources like this one:  

Otherwise, though, there are still plenty of ways to have the required training without needing to insert yourself.  Companies and organizations exist specifically for this purpose, after all.  They can administer the courses for you, and you will still be able to have the same effect.  

Just note that online options exist as well but should be monitored closely.  You could always quiz workers on the content included afterwards if you want to ensure that they pay attention.  Rewarding them for completing the coursework could be another strategy.

So long as you fill the requirements from your local legislature while also impressing onto your employees how much this matters (and why they should take it seriously), you are doing something right.  It can be difficult to do so but trust me when I say that it is achievable!