In Part 1 of this Q&A, Lisa Crowe, the Vice President of Content at Traliant, shares her insights into what makes workplace harassment prevention training effective for employees navigating today’s evolving world of work.
How has workplace harassment and discrimination training evolved over the years?
Clearly, the need for workplace harassment training has become stronger and more apparent over the past few years. The #MeToo movement has empowered women and others to speak up and shine a light on behaviors that have been occurring in the workplace for years. And more states have been implementing specific training requirements to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Overall, I think organizations are taking harassment and discrimination more seriously than they ever have, not just for liability and compliance reasons, but in an effort to promote more positive workplaces for everyone.
What is Traliant’s approach to workplace harassment training?
From the beginning, we’ve been focused more on changing behaviors; less on rules and regulations. Behaviors shape an organization’s culture, so underlying our behavior-based approach is helping create a positive workplace culture that is built upon respect. This is one of the key drivers that can prevent situations from escalating. Fostering a psychologically safe environment is also an important part of prevention because it encourages people to share concerns and emotions, and even apologize and take responsibility for an unintended misstep.
Empathy and understanding is another aspect of prevention that we focus on in our training. Showing the different perspectives of individuals helps drive learners’ understanding that we all don’t see things the same way. If we can create those “aha” moments in training and make the learner think, “Wow, I really never thought of it like that,” then we can begin to change behaviors.
How can organizations develop a training strategy around both preventing discrimination and harassment (PDH) and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)?
As I mentioned before, it begins with building a positive culture. That’s the foundation for a cohesive training strategy, with PDH and DEI as cornerstones. As part of a larger training program, harassment prevention training and diversity training complement each other, working together to increase learners’ understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable and what they can do to be more respectful and inclusive. This holistic approach is integral to preventing incidents and harassment claims and fostering a workplace where people with diverse backgrounds and experiences feel they belong and can contribute. Topics like unconscious bias and microaggressions go beyond diversity and inclusion. If not actively addressed and managed, biases and microaggressions can perpetuate a toxic work culture and lead to discriminatory practices.
What are some of the best practices in anti-harassment and DEI training?
Many of the best practices in harassment and DEI training are the same as in other workplace training topics. It starts with specific and measurable behavioral objectives that you’re trying to achieve. Then, designing the training in ways that help change behaviors, using scenarios and interactive elements, rather than lecturing on specific laws. The overall length of the training should be as short as possible, while covering the necessary topics and focusing on what employees need to know. Training content should be as applicable to the learner as possible.
Traliant releases a new season of Preventing Discrimination and Harassment every year. What’s behind the ‘new year, new course’ strategy?
I think we are one of the few companies that updates its PDH courses every year. We do that because oftentimes harassment prevention training is taken annually, so we want employees to experience a new course every time they take it. And it ensures the training is up to date with any new requirements or relevant topics and developments. This keeps learners engaged with fresh content and examples, based on situations happening in the world.
What’s the importance of offering different industry versions, such as PDH for healthcare, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing and construction?
One of the principles of adult learning theory is that adults are focused on applying the knowledge in real-life situations and problems. So creating versions for different industries allows us to use examples, situations and scenarios that relate directly to the learner’s real-life and work environment. The more applicable the examples are and the more relatable the images/videos are to the learner’s work experiences, the more likely they are to engage in the training and learn the material.
At the end of every course, learners are asked to complete a short survey. What’s the goal of the survey and how are the findings used?
Surveys are a tool to help us improve. What did learners enjoy about the training and what didn’t they like? We find out if employees are likely to apply the behaviors they learned in the training. The majority say they are “likely or very likely,” which is great, but we take into account complaints, too. If we get multiple comments about a specific topic, video or even an image, we’ll update the course based upon learner feedback. Ultimately, we want to know how we can do better. Oftentimes, the buyer of our training is different from the end user. We want to make sure we are developing training with both the buyer and the learner in mind.
With increased attention on work culture, what do you see as training’s role in helping improve company culture?
Training can be an important aspect of improving work culture and addressing hurdles that keep people from feeling they can bring their whole selves to work. Training offers a lot of different ways to communicate an organization’s code of conduct, reinforce expectations for behavior, and keep employees up to date with requirements and developments, inside and outside of the workplace. However, training is only one tool in the toolbelt. It should be part of a larger program or initiative that includes employee engagement programs, development opportunities, team building and other activities that promote open, honest communication.
In Part 2, Lisa will share her views on some of the top trends and developments in online compliance training and how they can benefit learners and their organizations.
Lisa Crowe, Traliant’s VP of Content, manages a team of eLearning developers, content creators and instructional designers, who are responsible for creating Traliant’s interactive compliance training solutions. Lisa brings over 15 years’ experience in the eLearning industry to her work, along with a passion for fostering strong, cohesive and efficient teams. She earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership, specializing in instructional design.
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