New Research from NCHRA and Waggl Indicates that Increased Media Attention around High-Profile Sexual Harassment Cases May Not Make Things Easier for HR in 2018

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In the newest “Voice of the Workplace” pulse, 90% say that the best way to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace is to ensure high standards for leaders.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace infographic

The Voice of the Workplace pulse was conducted from December 15, 2017-January 22, 2018

"In order to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace, we need to create a culture of respect with zero tolerance for harassment, ensure that leadership sets an example of ideal workplace behaviors, and offer actionable education across the board,” said Kate Benediktsson, Head of Ignition, Waggl

The Next Concept HR Association (NCHRA), and Waggl, the most human way for organizations to crowdsource feedback, today released new data from their follow-up “Voice of the Workplace” pulse on the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The “Voice the Workplace” pulse was sent to thousands of people from organizations of all sizes, using Waggl’s crowdsourced listening platform from December 15, 2017-January 22, 2018. Of the 384 people who participated, only 32% agreed with the following statement: “The increased media attention around high-profile sexual harassment cases will make things easier for HR in the coming year.” In large for-profit corporations with more than 20,000 employees, only 18% of participants agreed.

By way of contrast, a full 90% of respondents agreed with this statement: “I believe that the best way to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace is to ensure higher standards for leaders.” The responses were almost unanimously positive across various demographics including age, gender, and organization type.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace has taken a center stage in recent months, with new high-profile cases coming to light on a daily basis,” said Kate Benediktsson, Head of Ignition, Waggl. “But despite existing laws, penalties and mandated trainings, the issue is still far from being resolved. In order to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace, we need to create a culture of respect with zero tolerance for harassment, ensure that leadership sets an example of ideal workplace behaviors, and offer actionable education across the board.” Waggl helps organizations to navigate culture change by creating real-time, 2-way dialogue that can be used to surface ideas, collect authentic feedback, and build consensus. Unlike traditional survey and polling platforms, Waggl engages participants by asking open-ended questions where favorite responses can be “voted up.” The platform enables fast, frequent, focused conversation on virtually any topic.

NCHRA and Waggl also posed the open-ended question, “In light of the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace is still a major issue despite laws, penalties, and mandated training to prevent it, what do you think it will take to get leadership to pay attention and take ownership of the issue? Why do you feel this way?” Crowdsourced responses were distilled into a ranked list. Here are the top four responses:

  • “Accountability is key, including termination of employment for high profile leaders. HR can raise issues and demand action all day long but unless the Board or CEO is willing to take disciplinary action up to and including termination, there will be no credibility for HR.”
  • “Leaders have to talk about it with their teams. It’s uncomfortable. People don’t want to talk about it. It’s easier to pretend it’s a problem elsewhere. Leaders need to step up and take personal responsibility to make things better.”
  • “It is more than creating high expectations for leaders, it is including the whole organization in the high expectations. Continuous training, and providing a responsible and accountable way for leaders at all levels to address sexual harassment. HR needs to be able to properly investigate claims and not side with leaders, up to and including using a third party, and even terminating HR that does not properly maintain an unbiased opinion and respectability.”
  • “Clearly identify the difference between a mistake in judgment and criminal abuse. The difference between sexual harassment that is accidental is due to misreading the level of trust and current emotional state of the relationship. However, it is very clear when sexual harassment is used to control or coerce or attack another person. Often the poor judgement to say something that makes someone feel uncomfortable can be solved via communication whereas criminal level are hard to deal with – people need to understand the difference.”

“From the responses to this pulse, it’s clear that sexual harassment is not a problem that can be solved by HR alone, but HR practitioners can help to address it by approaching it as more than just a compliance issue,” said, Greg Morton, CEO, NCHRA, “Eliminating sexual harassment will require a cultural shift supported by relevant training around respect, communication, and work styles. My prediction is that organizations large and small will place greater focus on this issue in 2018, as they recognize the undetermined financial risk associated. For the sake of business viability and continuity, it will demand their attention.”

For additional information, please visit Waggl at https://www.waggl.com/ and NCHRA at http://www.nchra.org/.

About NCHRA
Next Concept HR Association, formerly known as the Northern California HR Association, is one of the nation’s largest HR associations and has been advancing organizations through human resources since 1960. Delivering over 100 programs annually, the association is dedicated to connecting human resources professionals with practice resources, training, legal and legislative developments, quality service providers, and each other—forming career-long networks and partnerships.

About Waggl
Waggl is the most human way for organizations to crowdsource feedback. Named after the dance that bees do in a hive to transmit important information very quickly, Waggl lives at the intersection of two organizational realities: Companies want an engaged workforce and employees want to know that their opinions count. Waggl goes beyond the traditional survey by offering an extremely easy way to listen to many voices at once within an organization for the purpose of making it better. Waggl’s real-time listening platform creates a transparent, authentic two-way dialogue that gives people a voice, distills insights, and unites organizations through purpose. With a highly seasoned management team and a Board including esteemed executives from Glassdoor, SuccessFactors, and Coupa, Waggl is an innovative industry leader helping companies of all sizes to succeed by building a listening culture. For more information, please visit: http://www.waggl.com/.

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