Where to start
Where do organisations start in developing education programs on workplace sexual harassment?
Developing and implementing an effective workplace sexual harassment education strategy requires a well-structured approach. There are several learning and development models available and many large organisations may already have established or preferred methods. Whichever model your organisation adopts, it is important to ensure it is suited to your broader education strategy, which should extend beyond the conventional approach and include both formal training and informal, continuous learning (micro and social learning).
The following provides a general guide for consideration based on the ADDIE model of instructional design.
Conduct a needs analysis.
- Identify your learning audience and understand their needs
- Identify your existing learning approach, tools and resources.
- Use a variety of data sources for your analysis including consultation with leaders and workers (this may be conducted as part of your overall risk analysis (see Chapter 2, Risk Management)
You can download the Analysis Tool for guidance.[link to Analysis Tool]
Consult and collaborate with your workforce
Under WHS laws, You must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a work health and safety matter such as sexual harassment. If you have agreed procedures for consultation, you must use those procedures.
Additionally, inviting staff to collaborate during the design stage of the program can lead to increased involvement and retention of knowledge, as well as a broader understanding of the issue from other points of view.
Collaboration and consultation may be undertaken through a variety of forms, for example, online surveys, focus groups, team meetings or communicating directly with your people. Determine the approach that is best suited for your organisation.
- Be transparent; discuss the reasons for implementing specific workplace sexual harassment education and training in your organisation.
- Consider safe spaces during consultation (e.g. gender-based meetings, to allow people to safely share their experiences of the current sexual harassment training).
- Avoid positioning education as a mandatory training exercise focusing on the avoidance of legal liability.
- Commit to following up with staff by sharing consultation outcomes, milestones towards implementation, and transparent evaluations of effectiveness post implementation.
- If appropriate, provide opportunities to contribute to development of training should workers wish to be involved in the pilot program, review or evaluation.
Example questions to assess the current knowledge include:
- Do they understand what sexual harassment is?
- Are they confident in addressing sexual harassment if they are a bystander?
- Do they know how to report sexual harassment?
- Do they know what other options are available apart from reporting?
- What previous sexual harassment training worked and did not work for them and why?
- What would they like to see as part of the new training?
- What would increase their confidence in understanding the topic of sexual harassment and how to respond to and prevent it?
- What is their view of current information provided?
- For specialist roles, how confident are they that the process they have been trained in is people centred and trauma informed? Do they know what these terms mean?
- What are their attitudes toward workplace education programs (i.e. will anyone be likely to resist).
Formulate a sexual harassment education strategy document
- This is a high-level plan, developed after a needs analysis, describing how your organisation will use training and education solutions.
- It explains what you are committed to delivering, how you are going to do it, and the value it will add.
- Your strategy can be as simple as a one-page document, or a more detailed strategic plan.
You can download an example Education Strategy document on this page.
Identify influencers or ‘points of contact’ for micro and social learning opportunities.
- Capitalise on the activities your workers enjoy and are engaged in. Learners take on-board messaging from a variety of different influencers or ‘points of contact’ (e.g. emails, social networks, team members, leaders, lunchrooms).
- To change behaviours, you need to recognise the points of contact in the workplace that affect behaviour and use them as a platform for continuous messages.
Formulate a sexual harassment education framework
- This is a high-level overview of education and training needs, assets, audiences, design, delivery methods, supporting tools, applications and platforms gathered in one place.
- A framework document is usually created after you have developed an education strategy and considered ‘points of contact’.
- It can be as simple as a one-page document housing all the relevant information or as detailed as organisations require.
You can download an example Education Framework document on this page.
Create training plans for each learning module, and micro and social learning opportunity.
- Identify content, delivery methods and frequency, tools and resources.
- For effective micro learning, this requires adapting the content or message to each delivery method, ensuring it is relevant and applicable for the ‘point of contact’ and that messages are recurring (but not repetitive), and scheduling learning at effective intervals.
Develop your modules and learning content.
- You do not need to have all the required micro-learning journey materials developed and ready to release on day one of the program.
- Focus on developing content which is required early before developing content required later in the campaign.
Implement and deliver learning modules.
- Engage relevant audiences and communicate your strategy, purpose and goals.
- Then deliver, review and evaluate
Evaluate and review.
- An effective education strategy will include evaluation and review at every stage of the development process as well as after implementation and delivery of the finished programs.
- It will include review and evaluation of feedback from learners and about the process itself, and will identify where improvements can be made.
- Evaluation findings should be returned to the starting point, and your program updated and continually improved.