In our recent poll on LinkedIn, we found that almost 40% of respondents do not provide training on bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace to their employees. Which means that, despite the legislation, codes of practice and policies hopefully being in place, many are missing a trick in effectively embedding dignity at work in organisations.
Updating your dignity at work policies is not just a legal obligation, but a key foundation in creating an environment where all employees can thrive without fear of discrimination, harassment, or intimidation, in turn, contributing to employee well-being and organizational success.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the steps you need to take to enhance your dignity at work policies and provide the necessary support and resources for your employees.
P.S. We’ve also got a very useful webinar coming up on this exact topic, on Wednesday 30th August at 11:15. Register here and get it in the diary!
For now though, read on!
Assess and Revise Policies
The first step in strengthening your dignity at work policies is to conduct a thorough assessment of your existing policies. Align them with the current legal framework, including the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2005, and more specific / directly focused obligations such as the Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work. Pay close attention to areas such as:
Clearly outline what constitutes prohibited behaviours, encompassing discrimination based on gender, race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and more. Emphasise that no form of harassment or discrimination will be tolerated, whether it occurs in person, digitally, or through any other medium.
Establish well-defined and confidential channels for employees to report incidents of inappropriate behaviour. Ensure that these reporting avenues are accessible, secure, and known to all employees. Encourage employees to speak up if they experience or witness any behaviour that violates the dignity of individuals in the workplace.
Lay out a comprehensive procedure for investigating complaints impartially and fairly. It’s vital to ensure that all parties involved are treated with respect and that a transparent process is followed. Define the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the investigation and emphasise the importance of confidentiality throughout the process.
Consequences for Violations
Specify the potential disciplinary actions that may be taken in the event of policy violations. These consequences should be commensurate with the severity of the offense. Clearly communicating the potential outcomes of violating the dignity at work policies underscores the organization’s commitment to maintaining a respectful work environment.
At Insight HR, we have the experience and expertise to ensure that your employment contracts, policies and procedures are compliant, effective, inclusive and embedded in your organisation. If you need support in this area, get in touch with us here!
Effective Communication and Training
As we always say, updating policies is only half the battle. The next key step is effectively communicating these policies to your employees. Use multiple communication channels, including company-wide emails, team meetings, line manager briefings, and your internal messaging systems, to ensure that every employee is aware of the updates to the dignity at work policies.
Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities in creating a respectful and inclusive workplace. These sessions should cover:
- Definition of Dignity at Work: Clearly define what constitutes respectful behaviour and what behaviours are deemed unacceptable.
- Recognising Harassment and Discrimination: Provide real-world examples of behaviours that are considered harassment or discrimination. Emphasise the role of bystander intervention in preventing such incidents.
- Reporting Procedures: Walk employees through the steps they should take if they experience or witness inappropriate behaviour. Assure them of the confidentiality of the reporting process.
Insight HR has a range of options to support you in this regard, either in-person or online, such as our Dignity At Work Investigations training course, packed with our templates, guides, and in-depth training on dignity at work investigations. Ask about our full suite of training options here!
Confidentiality and Support
It is also imperative for organisations to recognise that employees affected by dignity at work issues need a support system that prioritises their well-being. Harassment, sexual harassment and bullying are all serious issues which can leave all involved feeling anxious, stressed, and in need of support.
Confidential Helpline or Contact Person
Establish a confidential helpline or designate a contact person whom employees can reach out to if they face any issues related to dignity at work. This avenue ensures that individuals have a safe space to discuss their concerns without fear.
Partner with professional counsellors who specialise in addressing workplace-related stress, harassment, and discrimination. Providing employees with access to counselling services can significantly contribute to their emotional well-being and recovery.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Offer employee assistance programs that provide a range of resources, from mental health support to legal advice and wellness programs. These programs empower employees to seek help and guidance whenever they need it.
At Insight HR, we partner with EAP providers to ensure that you can manage these issues from start to finish, either with our help or with the help of established and expert providers. If you’d like to hear more about our EAP providers, get in touch with Megan (HR Consultant) here!
Cultivating an Inclusive Work Environment
In addition to training and support, embedding your dignity at work policies can be significantly boosted when combined with a broader effort to foster an inclusive workplace culture.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Implement strategies that celebrate diversity and promote an inclusive culture where all employees feel respected and valued. Encourage a sense of belonging among diverse groups and create an environment that appreciates and leverages their unique perspectives.
Leaders at all levels should exemplify the behaviours expected of employees. Encourage senior leadership to be champions of dignity at work, demonstrating their commitment to creating a respectful and inclusive environment.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Support and collaborate with employee resource groups (ERGs) that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. These groups can play a crucial role in driving positive change by organising events, workshops, and initiatives that promote understanding and awareness.
Continuous Monitoring and Improvement
And last but not least, to ensure the continued effectiveness of your dignity at work policies, engage in ongoing monitoring and improvement efforts.
Employee Feedback Mechanisms
Regularly gather feedback from employees through surveys, focus groups, or anonymous feedback mechanisms. This feedback can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your policies and identify any emerging issues.
Use the insights gained from employee feedback to refine and evolve your dignity at work policies. As societal norms and workplace dynamics change, your policies should be flexible enough to adapt to new challenges. Check out Episode 54 of The HR Room podcast “Is it time to update your HR policies” where we discuss the importance of continuously reviewing, updating, and improving these key tools.
In the ever-evolving landscape of workplaces, updating your dignity at work policies is an essential endeavour. By assessing and revising policies, effectively communicating changes, providing robust support mechanisms, fostering an inclusive environment, and continuously monitoring and improving, HR professionals and business leaders can create workplaces where all employees are treated with respect, dignity, and equality. Through these concerted efforts, organizations can stand as beacons of progress, setting the standard for workplaces that prioritise the well-being and dignity of every individual.
How can Insight HR help?
Whether it’s reviewing policies, updating contracts and handbooks, providing in-person or online training, or providing on-demand advice via our HR support line, the team here at Insight HR will give you quality, consistent, and tailored service, equipping your organisation with the skills and confidence it needs to succeed in this area.
Our promise to clients, is that they will receive a customised, consistent, and customer-focused service from the team here at Insight HR.
If you’d like to hear more about how we can support you with this, and any other HR challenges you might have, get in touch with us via email at email@example.com or chat to us directly on 0567701060!
P.S Do you want additional insights from the experts at our next free webinar?
Join the Insight HR team and special guests, for a discussion on Dignity At Work, taking place on Wednesday, 30th of August at 11:15 AM.
We’ll be discussing employer obligations, employee protections, the relevant legislation and codes of practice, how to craft policies, how to manage issues, and so much more.
The HR Room is a free monthly online forum run by Insight HR where you can receive expert HR advice and have your burning questions answered.
Book your place today, before you miss out!