- Few employers are addressing the concerns of the #MeToo movement or the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, according to a report by talent acquisition software firm Greenhouse. A survey of more than 1,300 businesses and 4,000 employees in the U.S. and U.K. found only 8% of companies are addressing #MeToo internally, while 24% are addressing sexual harassment.
- More than half of companies in the report said they have a diversity and inclusion program. However, 45% of employee respondents said they either didn't know whether their employer had a D&I program, or claimed their employer had none at all. Forty-eight percent of employees said their company only handles D&I issues through grievance processes.
- Greenhouse's survey of employers also indicated a general lack of focus on talent-related issues among surveyed companies, it said. While 47% of CEOs in the survey felt talent-related matters were among their most important business problems, over half of surveyed managers reported spending just three hours per month on people-related concerns.
Though sexual harassment allegations emanating from the #MeToo movement have jolted workplaces, research from Greenhouse and other firms shows employers have largely been slow to act on the issue. The majority of women in a report from job board Fairygodboss said they felt the workplace remained the same for women a year after the movement's inception.
D&I initiatives are closely linked to harassment-free workplaces that prioritize gender parity. Though diversity is often treated as a quota for employers to hit, inclusion is the set of actions employers take to engage and retain workers, including treating them as valued members of the organization, recognizing their value and contributions and ensuring that all employees have the same opportunities for advancement. Hiring for diversity isn't enough, experts previously told HR Dive; inclusion must be the other half of the equation.
Moreover, inclusion has an impact on the prevalence of harassment. A 2017 survey found 37% of tech industry workers left their jobs due to mistreatment. The hardest hit respondents were women and racial and ethnic minorities, who reported being denied promotions and premium assignments in some cases while experiencing race- and gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and stereotyping.
Improving the response to harassment and mistreatment could start with training. Traditional programs, whether delivered via classroom settings or electronically, often "bucketed" employees as potential harassers or victims, EVERFI senior director of prevention education Elizabeth Bille told employers at a March event. A more effective approach, Bille said, might be to incorporate bystander intervention training to specifically attack the stigma that exists around intervening in uncomfortable situations. Leadership can also speak up in order to reinforce the cultural aspect of harassment prevention.