By David Hassell
According to workplace culture expert David Hassell of 15Five—a performance management solution company that simplifies employee feedback—sexual harassment isn’t just a case of ‘bad eggs.’ It’s often symptomatic of a toxic workplace culture that shuts down open communication, allowing sexual harassment to not only exist, but to flourish.
However, there’s a highly effective strategy that HR professionals can use to facilitate communication and keep their workplace culture accountable—and one that’s imperative for U.S. businesses to follow:
STEP 1: Employees Put Managers in the Hot Seat
Managers encourage their employees to take as little as 15 minutes per week to answer some honest questions about their progress and potential challenges, as well as their experience within the company culture. This creates a safe space to discuss difficult issues and offers a venue for constant feedback so that managers can diagnose culture problems before they get worse.
STEP 2: Managers Set Their Pride Aside and Listen
Managers commit to reviewing employee feedback each week for five to 10 minutes—a small amount of time that’s easy to maintain no matter how busy they are. In doing so, managers can address minor issues and set aside major matters to discuss in one-on-one meetings. Over time, this back and forth, which solicits information and offers support, creates genuine, trusting relationships between managers and employees.
STEP 3: Big Bosses Get a Weekly ‘State of the Company’
The highest levels of management are involved in the weekly feedback cycle with an easily digestible report comprised of manager feedback and observations. They are not just pulled in when a damning scandal is brewing. With this detailed visibility from top leadership, down through all levels of the organization, a culture of openness and transparency is created and maintained so that harassment has no place to hide.
David Hassell is an entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of 15Five. He strives to help organizations and everyone in them reach their potential and become ‘organizationally-actualized.’ David graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering in 1998. For more information, visit 15five.com.