Workplace Culture’s Pivotal Role in Preventing Harassment

Workplace culture has the greatest impact on allowing harassment to flourish, or conversely, in preventing harassment in the workplace, according to the EEOC.

A toxic workplace culture that tolerates or even encourages bullying, discrimination, and other negative behaviors can create an environment where harassment can thrive. On the other hand, a positive and respectful workplace culture that values diversity, inclusion, and open communication can make it clear that harassment will not be tolerated and can help prevent it from occurring.

A workplace culture that fosters open communication, encourages reporting of harassment, and provides support for victims can also help to address and prevent harassment. When employees feel comfortable reporting incidents of harassment and know that they will be taken seriously, it can help to prevent future incidents and create a safer and more inclusive workplace for all employees.

Cultivating civility in the workplace creates an environment where respect and collaboration thrive.  It should always start at the top.  “The president has been clear to all of us — words matter, tone matters and civility matters,” reported by the White House press office.

Overall, it’s important for companies to take proactive steps to create a positive workplace culture that emphasizes respect, inclusivity, and zero-tolerance for harassment. Investing in civility training not only improves team dynamics but also enhances productivity and overall well-being.  This can help to prevent harassment from occurring and create a safe and supportive environment for all employees.

Here are my five tips on how to create a positive workplace culture:

  1. Respect Everyone and Yourself 

Treat everyone in the workplace, regardless of role, with respect including those we barely know, disagree with, or dislike. Respect for others requires authenticity while observing healthy boundaries. Self-respect is key. 

  1. Be Self-aware 

Civility takes a deliberate effort, requiring conscious awareness of oneself and others. Mindfulness and reflective practice enhance awareness

  1. Communicate Effectively

Positive communication is more about how we say it as much as what we say or do. Positive and empathic communication is critical at times of tension or when employees are feeling stressed.

  1. Take Excellent Care of Yourself

It’s hard to be kind when personally stressed or distressed. Whenever you feel depleted, take five (5) deep breathes.  If you feel upset, angry, or anxious with another person, it helps to remain silent for a few seconds and think before you speak or react.  Remember we have the personal power to control our actions and reactions to people and situations.

  1. Be Accountable

Understand and accept personal responsibility. Practice inclusivity. Avoid shifting blame for uncivil behavioral choices.  Practice bystander intervention and intervene when it’s the right thing to do.