Creating a positive company culture requires strategic effort. Yet, despite your best efforts, you can anticipate issues to arise within your workforce.
Implementing a system for handling potential harassment complaints is vital to protecting the health of your organization. You must also educate workers about your behavioral expectations and management’s response to employee reports about harassment on the job.
What steps should we take?
Clear guidelines may help you protect your business from a costly legal battle. If – or when – an employee accuses a co-worker of maltreatment, be prepared to:
- Take complaints seriously. Management’s response to workers’ complaints could significantly affect how they perceive your company. People who feel listened to and understood are typically less likely to escalate matters.
- Conduct an unbiased investigation. Address allegations as though they’re legitimate and base your review accordingly. There could be security footage to review, witness statements to obtain or internal emails to read and evaluate.
- Communicate your next steps. Reiterate your employment policies and let the individual presenting concerns know how you’ll handle their claim. Be as transparent as possible with your feedback and follow-up discussions; be careful not to cross any legal and ethical boundaries in the process.
No matter your conclusion, you would be wise to learn from the experience. You might determine there’s a need to revise your policies and procedures or provide additional training to your staff.
Be sure your workforce understands what you will and won’t tolerate in your place of employment. Then, together, move forward with an increased commitment to developing an environment where everyone feels comfortable with contributing to the team.