In a survey of 1,000 Ethics, Compliance, and HR professionals at enterprises in the US and UK, sexual harassment was identified as the leading form of misconduct they feel should be addressed proactively, according to 67% of respondents.
The greatest challenge however is encouraging employees to report misconduct so the stewards of organizational culture and compliance can get an accurate picture of the problem (and resolve it). When it comes to harassment specifically, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that one in three complaints it handles include a harassment allegation. But the body also believes that 75% of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported.
From these and other psychologically focused studies, we know that the two main reasons people do not speak up about misconduct are fear of retaliation and an expectation that nothing will be done. In the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp we also understand that shame and cultural norms contribute to allow sexual harassment to go underreported.
Vault Platform: Your solution for workplace harassment
When it comes to exposing and resolving harassment, no matter how good the intentions, well-meaning initiatives to encourage openness and transparency often fall short for two key reasons:
- Fear of consequences – embarrassment, isolation, low performance ratings, lost promotions, and even firing
- A sense of futility – the belief that saying something won’t make a difference, so why bother?
Vault Platform addresses these challenges with a modern and highly accessible solution encouraging employees to speak up in confidence. The Resolution Hub helps investigators efficiently document and respond to incidents, closing the loop with employees, and getting to resolution as quickly as possible.
Effective incident reporting is critical
In the UK a new Code of Practice on sexual harassment and harassment at work is expected to come into force as early as 2021, based on guidance outlined by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Vault Platform was one of the organizations invited to comment on the document when it was being put together in 2019 (full report available, here).
The EHRC identifies “a lack of appropriate reporting procedures” as a key factor in the under-reporting of workplace harassment and encourages companies to look at reporting tools.
According to the guidance: “The scale of harassment that we and others have found is disturbing – and has been largely hidden due to under-reporting. Low reporting rates have often been taken by employers to mean that harassment is uncommon in their workplace. In fact, a lack of reported incidents could reflect an absence of confidence in reporting and resolution procedures, indicating an even greater problem.”
With this being the case it’s clear that incumbent tools and processes are not working, forcing people to take matters into their own hands, increasingly turning to social media to voice their concerns, encouraged by the social success of the MeToo movement.
A study by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills found that 95% of companies expected a rise in the number of employees using social media such as Twitter to raise complaints and concerns about their company over the next five years. These same respondents also believe employee activism could cost as much as 25% of global revenue in financial and reputational damage.
During the numerous lockdowns and shift to working from home as a result of the 2020 pandemic, there have been multiple reports of increased harassment, bullying and discrimination taking place online. The understanding is that the pervasive problem of interpersonal misconduct hasn’t gone away because people spend less time face to face, it’s merely moved in tandem with our preferred communication channels.
how Vault Platform helps your company prevent workplace harassment
Reveal and resolve
misconduct in your workplace
Data & Analytics
A trust platform with
security at the core
Vault Platform’s core application is to facilitate trust between companies and their people and to help to create working environments that are inclusive, diverse, productive and safe. This is why we consider security and data privacy to be critical components of our platform and why both are at the foundation of everything we do.