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40% of UK Business Directors Have Never Been Trained on Workplace Harassment

Leading ethics and compliance software and services company NAVEX Global® highlighted research today finding more than 44 percent of UK business directors have never received training on workplace harassment, and 21 percent have only received one training session, according to the report available here

Twenty-eight percent of the UK non-managerial level workforce have either never been trained or only received one session on workplace harassment. This represents a significant proportion of the workforce inadequately trained to be aware of and spot harassment, as well as what constitutes such behaviour. The comprehensive report, Tackling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, indicates UK organizations require a continued focus if sexual harassment is to better addressed. 

A promising finding is an 11 percent increase in workplace harassment reports since initial news reports that led to what is now known as the #MeToo movement. Independent research has shown a clear association between increased use of internal hotline reporting systems like those used to report workplace harassment, and improved business performance. The report also found positives in the 57 percent of respondents who stated they expect to improve their training. 

“It’s reassuring to see an increase in reporting, and employers need to make additional progress with training, procedural changes, awareness and improved company culture,” said Bob Conlin, NAVEX Global President and CEO. “Only then will we see a more impactful improvement in our culture. This needs to be supported and led by every organization’s board. Our findings show the higher you move up within a business, the less training and awareness there is of sexual harassment. Given how power and workplace harassment can be a poisonous mix, this is troubling and needs to be addressed.” 

The report also cites the Young Women’s Trust finding that one in two human resources directors and decision-makers who are women think their workplaces are sexist, and a third of EU women report experiencing sexual harassment at work.  

Other key points in the report include: 

  • Building trust in reporting mechanisms was found to be the most pressing harassment issue in UK organisations, followed by basic harassment awareness
  • One in eight large organisationsin the UK are aware of unreported sexual harassment in their workplace (Young Women’s Trust) 
  • The biggest reason cited for not reporting misconduct is fear reports will not be confidential (74%)

“We’ve come a long way in the UK and the European workplace, making it safer and more supportive than ever before,” said Conlin. “However, what our report highlights is there’s still a lot of work to be done if we’re to reach our full potential.”  

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