Workplace Answers

Organizational Culture

When forming a harassment prevention training plan, it’s not uncommon for organizations to ignore a very powerful tool:

Corporate Culture.


Take organization A, for example.

They offer an intensive harassment prevention training course for employees every 6 months. Their handbook is full of phases such as “we believe in a harassment-free workplace for everyone!” Yet every morning, the top executives gather together around the coffee maker and discuss what they did last night and comment on how all of the women in the office look that day. Out of the 40 highest executives in the organization, only one person is not Caucasian.

The organization has never had a member of the c-suite that was not a white male. It is not uncommon for the company to host golf outings at a nearby “all male” country club. The corporate culture is one where the “good ole boys” rule the roost, and always have. It’s not difficult for the outside to see why the human resources managers consistently have to handle harassment claims, despite their best efforts at harassment prevention.


In comparison, look at organization B.

They offer the same intensive harassment prevention training course that organization A offers. Their handbook is also full of phrases denouncing harassment and in support of harassment prevention. But their top executives are a diverse bunch, an almost equal number of men and women from many different backgrounds. Currently a Hispanic male is the CEO and their CFO is a woman originally from Japan.

They often host organization sponsored family picnics or bowling nights for employees and their families. The top executives are just as likely to be chatting with the administrative assistants as they are with each other. It’s a culture where all diversity- in title, race and gender- is welcome and seen as an asset. Human resources managers rarely have to deal with harassment claims and are able to focus their energy on other tasks.


Difference Maker.

The difference here is not what’s being said “officially” on harassment prevention. It’s what’s being said under the radar, by the leadership of the organization. If your human resources managers are constantly dealing with harassment claims, despite a terrific harassment prevention training plan, it’s probably time to analyze your corporate culture.


Learn more about Harassment Prevention Training.


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