Education programs worth investing in, whenever possible, address workplace harassment, respect and civility in the workplace, bystander intervention, and unconscious bias.
Best practices for anti-harassment education and training programs
- Provide universal, across-the-board company-wide trainings - preferably live, customized, and interactive.
- Ensure all new employees receive anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training promptly and at least within their first six to twelve months of employment.
- Offer dynamic educational opportunities and training programs about preventing harassment on a regular basis, and at a minimum, annually.
- Train frontline supervisors and managers about their duties to prevent harassment and how to address complaints of harassment appropriately.
- Educate employees about the statutory protections in Vermont’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Law, 21 V.S.A. 495h.
- Include bystander awareness, intervention strategies, and skill-building in any anti-harassment program.
- Supplement anti-harassment training with topics relating to workplace civility, interpersonal skills development, conflict resolution, unconscious bias, avoiding microaggressions, and using inclusive language.
Considerations for a training program or trainer
- Choose training programs with information that is relevant to your unique team.
- Live, interactive training can be more impactful than passive recordings. Live trainings allow participants to ask questions and discuss how the information applies to their workplace.
- Some employers and training professionals prefer to address sensitive topics such as violence, bullying, or harassment with the benefit of a trauma-informed approach.
- Programs led by trainers from outside your organization can reinforce education you provide in-house.
- Some employers choose to provide “refresher” courses about harassment using electronic materials, online trainings or webinars. These options have the benefit of being potentially lower in cost and accessible by employees from work or remote locations at any time of day.
- It is best to try to offer trainings that appeal to a variety of learning styles.
- Consider taking employees off-site to emphasize the seriousness of the matter.
- For employers providing on-site training, make sure you provide enough time and appropriate space to communicate the importance of the training.