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Sexual Harassment and your Employer Brand

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Everywhere you turn, sexual harassment stories abound. From the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to NBC’s (fallen) Matt Lauer to Michael Fallon, British Defense Secretary. Daily, we see new allegations being lodged left and right.  Needless to say, your firm’s Employer Brand is at risk when this happens. Each incident can have a far-reaching impact on your firm’s profitability, worker morale and ruin your “talent brand” among new recruits and college students and graduates.

In the product area, Brands can sometimes take years to recover. Potential customers develop negative generalizations about a firm or a product  which will make them less likely to be repeat customers. Don’t let this happen to your Employer image and Brand.

Women will be the bulk of your future talent pool and pipeline. Trends in college enrollment point to a more female centric workforce.  In 2016 for example, more women than men enrolled in college that Fall–a trend that holds for the US nation; in fact, even in 2014, women similarly outpaced men—accounting for 55 percent of undergraduates enrolled at four-year colleges in the United States.

What to do?

I suggested in an earlier article, for this publication titled, “How Can the Employer Brand Help New Employees?”, that your firm’s Employer Brand can be used to provide a road map and code of behavior for new Employees. It could inform, educate and filter the company culture for the new ones and provide an explicit set of norms and behavior and mode of operating. Here is where, I believe, a strong statement and policy declaration on sexual harassment be stated and explained and, I think, be incorporated as a key pillar your Employer Brand. Furthermore, emphasis should also be placed on highlighting through your Employer Brand Program your firm’s sexual harassment training and reporting policies. Both in-class and LMS modules and sessions for all employees on sexual harassment, should be mandatory. This could potentially reduce the risk of liability and avoid any damage or erosion to your Employer Brand.

The future work place is shaping up to be a different entity from the one we currently have. More women will predominate the corporate work space. Attracting them and more importantly retaining them will be the goal. Ensuring a safe and hostile free work environment will be a key mandatory requirement for both men and women—your Employer Brand should incorporate this!

The topic for this article was suggested by a writing partner of mine:  Simone Morris @jubileetown