Shocking data | Sexual harassment training needs updating, experts say

Sexual harassment training needs updating, experts say

Recent accusations of ‘frat-like’ culture among several firms such as games production studio Blizzard have given rise to the notion that sexual harassment training within the workplace may be in need of a serious update.

Former Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime last week apologised for perpetuating a toxic working environment in which women were repeatedly sexually harassed, including claims that HR leaders advised some alleged victims not to take action against their abusers.

Morhaime was just one of many leaders to step down from the company, as reported by Bloomberg, along with President, J Allen Brack and HR executive, Jesse Meschuk.

Bloomberg had previously reported that Activision Blizzard “fosters a ‘frat boy’ culture in which female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, according to a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.”

However, such cases are not unique to Blizzard. In fact, if recent data is to be believed, it seems that the majority of companies are failing to instil sexual harassment training among their workforce.

A recent TalentLMS and Purple Campaign report polled over 1,200 employees, and found that 92% of women surveyed said that unwanted physical contact counts as sexual harassment, compared to 78% of men survyed.

Suggestive remarks were considered harassment by 88% of women and just 69% of men; likewise, sexual jokes were frowned upon by 86% of women and 69% of men.

Additionally, 73% of women surveyed said comments regarding someone's gender identity and expression were sexual harassment, compared to 47% of men.

“There is still a long way to go in educating employers and employees,” said Christina Gialleli, Director of People Ops at TalentLMS, said in the research.

“With over 75% of women and 85% of men reporting they feel safer at work after having received training, it’s clear that sexual harassment training needs to be a part of every company’s yearly curriculum.”

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However, the data also highlight just how effective revised sexual harassment training can be in sparking positive change. Up to 90% of respondents reported that, after receiving training, they were more aware of how to report an incident of sexual harassment.

70% noted that training made them more likely to stay with their company, and 61% reported that training made them feel more productive in their role.

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