5 Elements You Should Look for in an Effective Harassment and Discrimination Training Program


Do your employees know your policies? Are you absolutely sure they understand how they can treat – and how they cannot treat – their fellow employees? Well according to some new research, it’s more critical than ever that you are able to confidently answer that question with “yes”.

We already know that workplace harassment and discrimination, though awful, does happen. But new research from PWC’s Project 28-40 report highlights disturbing workplace discrimination and harassment figures: 52% of women have suffered from bullying or harassment in the workplace – excluding sexual harassment. When you add in sexual harassment, the number rises to 64%. The highest number of incidents was reported by disabled women and women of color, showing a strong correlation between harassment and discrimination.

These incidents can have a high cost for your business. As the EEOC states on their website, “Preventing employment discrimination from occurring in the workplace in the first place is preferable to remedying the consequences of discrimination.” The direct costs are stunning – the EEOC reports $372.1 million worth of harassment and discrimination settlement payments in 2013 alone. 1 in 4 employees wouldn’t recommend their company due to unfairness in the workplace. The average cost of replacing a valued employee is 100%+ that employee’s salary.

Litigation is also becoming steadily more frequent. Litigation around discrimination cases increased by over 15% in the past decade, and appears to be following a steady upward trend. Are you willing to accept that risk? You don’t have to. By making sure you have suitable harassment and discrimination training in place, you can mitigate this risk, better protecting your company and your employees.

What Can We Do About It?

A comprehensive workplace harassment training and policy management solution can greatly reduce incidents of harassment and discrimination. Did you know that 66% of employees aren’t aware of their company’s stance on harassment and discrimination? That’s shocking. Harassment and discrimination training educates your employees, shows them that you care for them, and most importantly, arms them with the tools they need to act appropriately. Further, it will help them recognize inappropriate behavior when they see it and give them confidence to report it. This is an opportunity for your company to show your commitment to an ethical and safe work environment.

So What Are The 5 Most Important Elements?

Your solution should contain a policy management and compliance training solution that contains the following features.

1. Versioning: You need to be able to access historic versions of policies, quickly. This is critical to protect you in the event of an incident, so that you can verify which version of the policy was in effect when the employee signed it. You also shouldn’t have to search through different content libraries to find them, or risk losing them – your system should track versions automatically. This also allows you to see which employees need to attest to a policy after major changes have been made.

2. Completion Tracking: Your system should track when policies are attested to, trainings are completed, and certifications are achieved. This allows you to better manage potential risks by ensuring that all employees complete the training, without having to manage it manually. It should also notify you when employees are past due on a training or certification.

3. Legislation Tracking: Your system should keep up with legislative and regulatory changes that may affect your policies. Yes, it can be automated! Not only will it save you time, but it will ensure you’re always protected and up-to-date.

4. Full-Service: Find an integrated solution that meets your other ethics and compliance-related needs. With the new technology available in the marketplace, you’ll be able to find an end-to-end solution that works double duty as code of ethics training. It allows a one-stop shop for you and your employees to find policies and completion records, at the individual employee level.

5. Immersive, Multimedia Experience: Let’s be honest: nothing kills a training system faster than boring training, and policy review is likely not the most stimulating part of your employee’s day. An engaging training system offers interactive tools, such as videos and quizzes, allows you to prove that employees accessed the training, and that it was understood. More importantly, employees are more likely to complete it. Interactive training also allows you to see where your employees are missing questions, identify patterns that may signal a clarity or comprehension problem, and to clarify policies accordingly.

Providing harassment and discrimination training for your employees protects them and it protects you. Aside from the financial benefits, you want your employees to feel comfortable working for you and, ideally, to continue working for you for a long time. Provide them with the tools they need to help you maintain a pleasant, safe, and professional work environment, and everyone in your workplace will reap the benefits.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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