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How to root out workplace harassment.


We all know it. Employees have a right to work in a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. And as an employer, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that these rights are met. 

So many business try to do the right thing and run frequent workshops that provide up-to-date knowledge regarding legal and duty of care obligations. But based on recent headlines, these training programs might not be working, and employers should perhaps try more innovative approaches. 

Recent research suggest that the best way to prevent sexual harassment, bullying and other toxic workplace behavior is not by proving staff with more knowledge, but to train them in how to stand up for their abused colleagues when they witness incidents. Also know as Bystander Training. 

One reason why encouraging intervention makes good sense is that some 70 percent (!) of employees have observed harassment in the workplace. 
While the concept of encouraging employees to report harassment is not new, bystander training achieves additional goals that may positively shift workplace culture:

  • It provides employees with strategies for intervening in/responding to observed workplace misconduct.
  • It allows employees to practice in simulated scenarios with role play actors to increase confidence and improved communication skills.
  • It reinforces to employees that, if they don't feel comfortable stepping into active situations, they can "intervene" by reporting misbehaviors through different channels.


Additionally, Bystander Training can serve as a powerful deterrent. Potential harassers, even those in high-level posts, will know observing "bystanders" are watching.
Finally, bystander training helps create a culture of shared responsibility and purpose, in addition to boosting workplace morale. 
There is a strong case for incorporating some form of it into existing training programs and there is really no downside to equipping employees with intervention tips to address harassment.

Would you like to know more about our roleplay based Bystander Training Program? Call 0487693349 or visit our website www.interactwa.com.au

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