As employee lawsuits against employers have skyrocketed and the amount of damages awarded increases every year, we know this is, at least partly, due to so many new employment laws created by state and federal governments. In fact, employment lawsuits currently represent approximately thirty percent of civil litigation in the U.S.
Employee training is not only is a legal obligation in most states, it also makes good business sense.
Sexual harassment disrupts and damages the work environment. The anxiety and frustration experienced by victims impacts not only the quality of lives but also the quality of their work. Ultimately, you the employer, pay the costs associated with poor employee morale, low productivity, and sometimes even litigation.
Sexual harassment abatement through training is one of the best, albeit intangible, bargains in which your company can invest. Money spent on proactive employee awareness training is substantially lower than the costs associated with defending sexual harassment claims and lawsuits.
Consider this: what percentage of your employees (especially your management and supervision staff) are independently able to resolve issues such as potential sexual harassment, issues of intolerance and insensitivity to diversity in the workplace, the threats of potential violence or the specter of substance abuse in the workplace? Are your supervisors and managers quickly and effectively able to resolve issues regarding personality conflicts? Are they functioning as a team?
If you know your firm could use some help in these areas, you may wonder to whom you should turn . . . how do you select the best training for your firm? Where do you start? Do they have to be licensed? What are their credentials? What makes them qualified?
Yes, there are laws in many states setting forth prerequisites. For example, one of the many requirements established in California’s Assembly Bill 1825 (AB 1825), is that the training must be conducted by a “qualified presenter”. More specifically, sexual harassment training can only be presented by “trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise” in preventing such harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
After you’ve determined your company’s specific needs, find a training firm that specializes in these areas.
If your company’s ever named in a lawsuit, you and your training company will be put “under the microscope,” so be very careful to hire only those capable of representing you not only in the classroom, but in court if needed.
Be sure they meet tough criteria; inspection of their qualifications means asking questions: How long have they been in business? Do the trainers hold degrees and credentials in the fields of expertise required? Can they provide references? Do they have valid business licenses? Do they have liability insurance? Ask to see each trainer’s Curriculum Vitae (CV). Verify their claimed credentials, experience and certifications.
Next, schedule an appointment and speak with the trainer in advance. Be armed with a list of questions: What, exactly, is covered in the training? What type of interactivity is involved? Can you provide us with a course outline and materials? Go over the outline in detail and make sure you are comfortable it all fits neatly into your corporate culture, because every company is different.
Bring to your facilitator’s attention any specific concerns or “issues” with which you may be dealing, and tell them to incorporate your specific issues of concern into the training session.
In most cases, information is better received by a workforce if the person communicating the information is an outside, objective, third party and not someone they already know, see, or to whom they have reported on a daily basis.
And finally, ask about “follow-up”: Will the facilitators provide you with contact information such as cellular or home phone numbers, should you have questions after the training?
After your training has been completed, you can expect fewer problems related to the subjects taught. Drug and alcohol abuse awareness training makes better supervisors and empowers all employees to keep health and safety concerns at bay. Sexual harassment training and diversity sensitivity education makes for better interaction on all levels. Violence abatement training, including a violence abatement policy update, can make your company a much safer place to work.
If it’s done properly, you will probably want to call on your training team again in the future as new employees enter the workplace and as new issues may arise. Training can and should be a pleasant, interactive experience leaving your employees better equipped, empowered to reduce potential problems before they become litigious, and happy that you, the employer, cared enough to address these problems in a proactive and inclusive manner.
Selecting from the best employee training companies requires some effort, but its worth it. Employee morale, and your company’s financial well being, are at stake.
To learn more about various types of proactive workplace training, please visit our course catalog or call (800) 591-9741 and ask to speak with a representative today.