Case study

Transforming Culture Through Harassment and Discrimination Training

Business Challenge

These four organizations experienced employee complaints or strict harassment and discrimination compliance requirements. Each company had unique challenges, including employees who would close rank during investigations, outdated policies, lack of workforce diversity, and on-line training, or training delivered by legal partners focused on litigation avoidance rather than culture change. Compass was engaged by each client to develop customized harassment and discrimination prevention training, moving beyond the traditional and ineffective “check the box” training programs so prevalent in American workplaces.

Innovative Solutions

During each engagement, Compass collaborated with internal leaders, human resources, and legal to assess client culture, policies, and leadership strength. In all cases, Compass conducted investigations and/or culture assessments prior to or post-training. In one organization, harassment was uncovered on an unmonitored popular social media collaboration tool.

Customized training was developed to transform or reinforce culture and values to rid the workplace of harassment and discrimination. Compass implemented the following strategies:

  • Facilitated on-site training sessions with a maximum of 25 participants to ensure a safe and interactive training environment.
  • Encouraged participants throughout the process to “be uncomfortable” and share and explore experiences, perceptions, and differences.
  • The training included results from the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the workplace, including bystander intervention training with a heavy focus on culture and core values.
  • The training equipped both leaders and employees with information regarding federal, state, and local laws, their rights, and obligations. Customized role playing and 1:1 partner exercises for both employees and leaders showcased specific word choice responses. Leaders received additional training to explore leadership practices and to discuss additional responsibilities.

Shared Results

As a result of workforces being equipped with knowledge and practice, the following outcomes occurred:

  • Within 20 minutes of a training session, at a client where the employees traditionally closed ranks, multiple employees identified a tragic abuse of power and sexual harassment and reported the issue. Subsequently, Compass conducted an extensive investigation for the client resulting in the removal of a bad-acting leader.
  • An African American employee, who had voiced discrimination concerns, reached out post-training to thank Compass for the changes in his co-workers’ behavior and his renewed comfort in the workplace.
  • One client saw a significant increase in harassment reporting, which led to Compass performing an investigation resulting in two individuals being removed from the organization.
  • For another client, the training uncovered misconceptions from previous on-line training and successfully deprogrammed the team’s thinking.
Large hospital system in the northeast
Tech firm in Pittsburgh
Chemical and gas distributor
National financial banking network

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