R.E.S.P.E.C.T. It’s what Aretha Franklin wanted. Is it what your employees need in order to eradicate sexual harassment?


R.E.S.P.E.C.T. It’s what Aretha Franklin wanted. Is it what your employees need in order to eradicate sexual harassment?

By Grace Roache

During my 20-year HR career, I was fortunate in that the organizations I worked for helped me to protect those who brought claims of sexual harassment and to thoroughly investigate their claims. However, in light of the seemingly endless reports of sexual harassment in our workplaces, I worry that I may have failed some employees in not providing the information and safeguards they needed to report harassment. The painful truth I’ve come to accept is that, while I was responsible for employee welfare, some employees may have been harassed by those I had recruited.

I know I can’t change the past, but, like many donors and responsible leadership teams, I can help to improve our current work environments. When I consider the previous work I did in sexual harassment prevention, it often focused heavily on compliance. Whilst compliance with donor requirements, employment laws, etc. is important, I think in order to get better, we need to take a more holistic approach and address the entire work environment. It’s rather like learning to change your posture so that your back stops hurting rather than taking a pill to numb the pain.

I’ve been fortunate that our consulting organization, RISE, has been able to partner with Humentum in taking a more holistic approach to sexual harassment prevention or, as we prefer to call it, Promoting a Culture of Respect. We have created a program that is customized to the international development sector and helps managers and employees to:

• promote a work environment that encourages respect & intercultural sensitivity

• understand sexual harassment and their obligations to prevent it

• respond appropriately to sexual harassment concerns

• identify risk factors for work units and develop strategies to mitigate them In conjunction with Humentum and Bond, we are rolling out several two-day Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions which also help participants learn how to deliver a customized participatory training session in their own organizations (details are below).

Promoting a Culture of Respect - Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Promoting A Culture Of Respect - Training Of Trainers Program

Sadly, Aretha Franklin recently passed away. However, I hope the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. she demanded continues to grow for employees in our organizations. By building it, we create stronger institutions and happier people. Who doesn’t want that?


Explore the Safeguarding course

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