It’s been some years since the #MeToo movement heightened awareness about workplace harassment, but that journey is far from over. During the time that has passed, we experienced an awakening and a call to “do something.” Now in 2022, a focus on inclusivity is reinforcing the charge that all people must be treated with fairness and respect. Accompanying this realization is a whole new sense of what is considered acceptable behavior and what is not.
So much progress, but still so far to go
Anyone who has ever felt marginalized in the workplace still finds inspiration from cultural movements like #MeToo. But while much progress has been made, there’s still far to go. The reality is that in many companies, people still face harassment in the workplace. Consider the results of a recent survey of full-time U.S. employees that indicated that 44% experienced harassment at work including “personal harassment and bullying, discriminatory harassment and bias, online harassment and cyberbullying.” In addition, 48% have “witnessed others experience harassment at work,” and 34% “left a job because of unresolved harassment issues.”
- experienced harassment at work44%
- have witnessed others experience harassment at work48%
- left a job because of unresolved harassment issues34%
A harassment-free environment and the connection to a culture of inclusivity
The solution? It lies in the connection between harassment prevention and inclusivity. You simply can’t have an inclusive environment where people feel understood and valued if you have not yet fully unmasked issues of harassment that may be lurking in your company. The insidious thing about harassment is that it is often preempted by a set of behaviors that may go unseen, like microaggressions (i.e., slights, barbs, demeaning comments). If these behaviors are not addressed, they will continue to escalate until they ultimately meet the legal definition of harassment. By turning this situation around before it gets to that point, companies can reset boundaries and move closer toward a culture of inclusivity.
To retain and attract talent: Embrace DEI as an integral part of your culture
That culture of inclusivity is the key to one of the biggest problems facing organizations today. As the Great Resignation puts pressure on companies, they have the opportunity to elevate their culture in a way that attracts and retains talent. Why? Because the Great Resignation is really more accurately called the Great Reshuffle, in which prospective employees reconsider their priorities, placing a higher level on company culture and employee experience.