Employers that lack a sexual harassment policy risk losing candidates
- Nearly half (48%) of job seekers said hearing about a sexual harassment incident at a potential employer would discourage them from applying for a job and 63% said it’s important to know about a company's sexual harassment policy before submitting an application, according to a new Jobvite study. The study, "Harassment and Bullying at Work," found that the majority of job seekers polled in the survey said they would at least consider leaving a company where the workplace felt threatening.
- Most jobseekers and workers find harassment and bullying intolerable, but nearly more workers are bullied than sexually harassed in the workplace, the report said. The survey found that 14% of employees were bullied at work, compared with 9% who were sexually harassed.
- On bullying, survey results show that of the 14% of employees who were bullied at work, the abusers were often managers (57%). Bullying is less likely to be reported than sexual harassment, with 58% of job seekers who were bullied in the last two years not reporting the abuse, compared with 33% who didn’t report harassment.
Employees leave work environments that are hostile and job seekers routinely rule out working for companies with poor reputations (especially if such issues are talked about online) — giving HR even more impetus to follow up with reported situations of abuse and make public their efforts to combat it.
Unfortunately, employers may be behind in fighting back against abuse. Like the Jobvite survey, the American Physiological Association's 2018 Work and Well-being Survey pointed out that not many employers have altered their anti-sexual harassment policies to make them more effective, even after #MeToo surfaced. In several of these cases, HR departments were accused of ignoring complaints or standing by silently as such issues were swept behind nondisclosure agreements or arbitration clauses, which has prompted change throughout the business world.
In some cases, employers might find that their struggle to find skilled workers is less about the scarcity of quality candidates and more about their culture and public image. HR can help set the tone for culture throughout the business by emphasizing accountability across an organization, even from top leaders and performers, and remembering that culture isn't helped along by focusing on "cultural fit." Instead, leaders need to focus on finding people willing to be part of a "cultural contribution," Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School of Business, said during the SHRM 2018 Annual Conference.