Workplace Answers

Workplace Harassment Prevention

The Unseen Effects of Workplace Harassment


Many organizations put harassment prevention programs in place to ward off the most obvious outcome of workplace harassment - law suits. Though harassment prevention training programs are valuable despite the reason they are in place, it’s likely those programs are protecting the organization from more than JUST a law suit. When there is harassment in the workplace, organizational effectiveness is altered immensely.


If harassment is occurring in the workplace, the workforce is likely to be less productive.

The victims of the harassment are probably distracted by the harassment and spending time and energy on how best to avoid or confront the harasser, rather than spending that time and energy on completing work. Even if an employee isn't the specific victim of the harassing behavior, that person is probably witnessing it or hearing about it from the victim (or even the harasser!). In addition, the harassment could be causing employees to miss more days of work in order to avoid the harassing behavior.


Harassment prevention becomes even more important when an organization takes into account how harassment in the workplace correlates with turnover. Employees who are being harassed would be expected to have low job satisfaction, resulting in them finding new positions. The hiring and training process is time-consuming and losing talent is damaging to an organization. An organization that is allowing harassment to take place in the workplace will not be able to retain the best people in the industry - preventing that organization from being the best in the industry.


When low productivity and high turnover are taken into account, it's clear that harassment in the workplace is very expensive and harassment prevention programs start to seem like a good idea if the organization was ever skeptical on how necessary they are. Lowered productivity results in less work being done, which results in higher payroll costs and decreased product output. High turnover results in frequent hiring searches and frequent training for new hires - both expenses that can be controlled significantly by retaining employees.


Organizations may believe that harassment prevention efforts are important to ward off law suits, but in reality, harassment prevention programs are likely saving the organization money in ways that weren't originally considered.


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