Social Media and Workplace Behavior: Where Did They Get That Idea?!
For those of us who didn’t grow up with the internet and social media at our fingertips daily, the online information ecosystem can be both bewildering and bemusing. On nearly every topic and every online platform you can think of, there are myriad influencers sharing their thoughts and opinions with an audience of followers that can, for the most successful, range into the millions. These people have established their expertise on a particular subject and built up a steady following, a status they use to make money on affiliate links to products, sponsorships, ads, and other monetization strategies.
Some are exactly what you might expect: Skincare influencers reviewing the latest expensive products and touting their favorites. Fashionistas talking about upcoming trends for the latest season. Others can be refreshingly educational: Mechanics who post how-to videos on auto repair on YouTube. Crafters who post tutorials to help novices learn to knit or sew. Search #CleanTok on TikTok, and you’ll find an endless stream of oddly satisfying videos with tips on deep cleaning, organization, and house-cleaning hacks. Still others occupy weirdly specific but charming niches, like My Korean Dad, who gained fame by posting videos of himself being kind and supportive while doing regular dad stuff. In short, if there’s a topic you’re interested in, there’s probably already an influencer posting about it.
The problem lies in the fact that these benign examples aren’t the only influencers online. For every person who has gained an audience showing people how to tie a tie properly or displaying skateboarding stunts, there are those posting tips and tricks far less socially appropriate—especially in the workplace.
Sexual Harassment and Online Influencers
Enter online pickup artists. This strain of influencer gains attention by giving young men hoping for dating success advice on women. Unfortunately, their strategies seem ripped straight out of a 1950s men’s magazine. They encourage men to see dates as transactions, with women obligated to provide some sort of return for having a meal or entertainment paid for. They advise men to treat women like prey or targets instead of individuals deserving of respect and recommend keeping them emotionally off-balance and insecure through mind games and “negging” (undermining their self-confidence through subtle insults about their appearance or behavior).
This is far from ideal in the social scene, but in the workplace, it can become downright disastrous. Men imbibing videos asserting that women need to be dominated and that every “no” is a possible “yes” if you just push hard enough are, at best, an HR nightmare. At worst, you could find yourself with a lawsuit on your hands. How does a conscientious employer protect their workforce (and themselves) from regressive ideas that can produce a toxic work environment if left to spread unchecked?
Being Proactive: Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Reporting
While professional behavior might seem like a matter of common sense, there’s plenty of evidence to show that people don’t always have sensible instincts. Rather than cleaning up huge messes after the fact when an employee shows questionable judgment in how they interact with their colleagues, you can nip issues in the bud by setting clear standards for what is expected and providing easy reporting channels so isolated incidents don’t develop into ongoing problems.
It starts with effective sexual harassment prevention training. Bridge Training Consultants has developed entertaining, interactive programs designed to engage and educate your workforce, not just check off a regulatory box. We provide training either in person or remotely, in both English and Spanish, delivered by professional actors and comedians. We also tailor training to your industry, so examples are relevant to your employees’ experience.
After that? You can’t fix what you don’t know about. It’s essential to have a modern reporting channel in place to give you a timely heads-up about possible issues. NotMe Solutions integrates easy digital reporting with a case management system so that when your employees speak up, you can act quickly and effectively. The #NotMe reporting app allows employees to submit reports from a phone, tablet, or laptop, anonymously if they choose. The case management dashboard then enables you to prioritize, track, and resolve incidents efficiently.
When combined, the right sexual harassment prevention training and reporting channel show that your organization isn’t just paying lip service to the idea of creating a safe workplace environment—they’re committed to ensuring that each employee enjoys the right to work in a supportive atmosphere free from harassment. It also puts would-be harassers on notice that infractions won’t be tolerated. If you’d like to learn more about how Bridge Training Consultants and NotMe Solutions can protect your organization and your workers, contact us here.