From the evolving social media landscape to the #MeToo movement, certain cultural changes impact every aspect of our lives — including work. Your leaders are the backbone of your company. As such, your organization’s strategic plan should include ensuring they’re prepared to adapt to these trends so they can successfully lead employees through changing times. As we work our way through 2018, here are a few hot topics to consider incorporating into your leader training.
#MeToo and workplace harassment
Despite the impact the #MeToo movement is having on our culture, workers remain reluctant to report being sexually harassed. A new CareerBuilder survey found that, of those who said they were sexually harassed in the workplace, 72 percent did not report the incident and 54 percent did not confront the person responsible for the harassment.1
This may change in the current environment, so leaders should be prepared and trained to create a safe and supportive environment for reporting sexual harassment. Should a report occur, they should also know the process for documenting it, the right resources to access and the steps they need to follow to protect the parties involved, as well as the company.
A sexual harassment claim could cost your organization thousands to millions, with the average out-of-court settlement ranging from $75,000–$125,000.2 To avoid potential legal action, you should ensure your leaders are trained on what constitutes harassment and implement a process for investigating these kinds of claims. Also make sure your policy is spelled out in your employee handbook and posted in a public area.
Using social media
Does your company have a policy setting boundaries for using social media at work? While it’s hard to keep employees from using their personal social media accounts while on the job, employees whose companies have policies regulating social media use at work are less likely to use social media on the job.3 Whether or not you have a formal policy, make sure your leaders know your company’s stance on the use of social media so they can convey it to employees.
On the flip side, giving employees some flexibility when it comes to using social media at work isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can actually drive employee engagement. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, of those who report using social media on the job, 34 percent do so to take a mental break.3 Depending on your culture, it might be helpful to share some of the positives with your leaders to keep from becoming overly restrictive.
Flexible work environments
As more businesses move to a flexible or virtual work environment, leaders’ relationships with their employees must also evolve. Flexibility can mean a number of things, from giving employees time to go to appointments during the workday, to taking a personal call during their shift, or working from home when feasible. According to one study, employees across generations rank flexibility and the ability to effectively balance work and personal commitments as the main factor influencing their work experience.4 You can say you have a flexible policy, but it all comes down to how individual leaders manage.
No one wants to think about the possibility of violence in their workplace, but unfortunately, it happens. Your managers should receive training to spot warning signs and know what to do if an incident occurs. You should also conduct regular safety drills for all employees. Beyond violence, there are natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires that can disrupt both your business and your employees’ personal lives. All businesses should have a disaster contingency and emergency response plan in place.5
It’s important to keep a pulse on what’s happening in society and incorporate relevant topics into training for your leaders. Your leaders are the boots on the ground and when they’re prepared, they can lead your employees through changes or uncertainties that can affect the workplace.
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1 CareerBuilder. New CareerBuilder Survey Finds 72 Percent of Workers Who Experience Sexual Harassment at Work Do Not Report it, 2018.
2 ERC. The Cost of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 2017.
3 Pew Research Center. Social Media and the Workplace, 2016.
4 Alight Solutions. 2017 Workforce Mindset Study, 2017.
5 Department of Homeland Security, 2018.
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