Professionals are taught to constantly update their corporate policies to create a safe work environment for every employee.
Recently, it’s become important for HR departments to implement new protocols for sexual harassment and social media abuse.
Both problems have become increasingly prevalent in recent years and
are somewhat connected in that the former can be exacerbated by the latter.
The consequences of not updating policies for sexual harassment and social media can be dire.
If companies don’t prevent sexual harassment, workers won’t feel comfortable in the office and may target potential attackers.
Additionally, employees can waste valuable time and damage a company’s brand on social media.
So, businesses must have the proper standards in place to prevent negative behaviors.
Sexual harassment in the modern workplace
A common misconception is that only women are sexually harassed at work.
The stereotype is borne of the idea that men dominate the corporate arena and condone lewd behavior toward the fairer sex.
This image is false and is a narrow view of sexual harassment.
The generational shift is another factor that impacts sexual harassment in the workplace.
For example, the way your Gen-Y employees view “aprropriate” language or discussion can be very different from your Baby Boomers.
You have to have a consistent policy in place that everyone understands.
Nolo points out that anyone can be sexually harassed. A male intern can be harassed by a female executive and vice versa.
Sexual harassment affects every employee regardless of his or her age, rank or gender.
Additionally, sexual harassment has proliferated in the digital age. Associates can send lewd pictures and messages to each other through text messages and social media.
HR departments need to take a proactive approach to sexual harassment and make it a key part of HR Training.
The company policy should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that every it accounts for new technology and emerging trends.
The consequences of not stamping out sexual harassment can be extremely.
For instance, an employer can be open to lawsuits if it doesn’t protect victims from their attackers.
Additionally, Nolo notes that some states require companies to regularly offer sexual harassment training.
Social media: a growing problem
It’s wasy to think that not bad-mouthing a company on the social media sites would be common sense.
But just like anything else, you shouldn’t think it can’t happen to you. It probably happens more than you think.
According to Forbes, companies should create in-depth social media strategies to prevent their images from being harmed by employees.
HR departments should monitor posts to ensure that workers aren’t being offensive or overly critical when talking about a business.
However, creating a social media policy is a difficult task because of what is federally regulated.
Forbes also reports that the government protects workers who are “venting” about their employers.
If you notice that someone is being critical on Facebook or Twitter, you don’t have to always fire them on the spot.
Depending on the circumstances, you can create an open dialog and ask the worker what he or she thinks can be done to help the situation.
License: Royalty Free or iStock
Scott Murray is the Social Learning Evangelist for TrainUp.com, the web’s largest career marketplace.
He is also a contributor to the Training Insights Blog, a series of blogs dedicated to career and professional development.