Last week, TIME dedicated their annual Person of the Year cover to the #SilenceBreakers, a group of women and men who began to actively voice, name and, in explicit detail, call-out sexual harassment involving people in positions of authority. Although uncomfortable to read and sometimes awkward to discuss, the time has come for the silently accepted to be declared unacceptable, for both men and women in the workplace.
All it took was one social media #MeToo post to create a movement that has brought empowerment to the women and men who have long endured harassment, feeling ignored or powerless to protect their rights and place in the workforce. Many, for the first time, saw the depths of this social issue and realized the wounds that friends, family and co-workers carry. If the conversation hasn’t begun at your company, it is certainly happening amongst your employees, and you have the ability to bring the conversation to the table.
Many of these once silenced voices have remained so for years. Abuses of power have existed since women entered the workforce. In 1964, a law was passed to protect people from sexual harassment, viewing it as a form of sexual discrimination. What may have been passed into law, has not trickled down into practice. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that 1 in 4 women have been a victim of some form of sexual harassment, and over 70% of men and women have experienced some level of retaliation as a result of reporting the incident.
We have seen, over and over again, that abuse of power is a widespread problem, reports have surfaced from the entertainment industry, IT, journalism, and politics. Unfortunately, there are so many more examples ranging across a variety of industries and companies, and ultimately impacting all employees.
Small Steps to Create Big Change
At ADURO, we believe that big change can happen through taking a series of small actions. We have created programs to help your organization navigate these turbulent waters. In addition to our Live Empowered and Step Up and Lead Paths, we have published individual challenges to help support our client’s organizations in creating a zero-tolerance workplace.
In the first quarter of 2018, ADURO is expanding its Growth & Development and Contribution & Sustainability elements to foster open and honest communication which include:
- Effective Listening and Communication Skills
- Say No to Bullying & Harassment
- Setting (and Keeping) Boundaries
- Be a Change Maker
If you aren’t currently addressing sexual harassment, start by implementing a policy to prevent it in your workplace. We challenge you to drive real change by starting the conversation today.