If an organization has become toxic by enabling sexual harassment to thrive, it will require time and effort to fix, says Bay Ryley, founder and president of workplace e-learning company Ryley Learning.
“A toxic workplace is not just one bad incident or one botched investigation — it’s the infiltration of inappropriate behaviours and responses,” Ryley tells AdvocateDaily.com. “Once an organization has reached that point, it’s going to take time, effort and energy to heal and come out on the other side.”
With that in mind, Ryley created the online training tool “Eliminating Sexual Harassment: It’s Everyone’s Business,” which is delivered via computer, tablet or smartphone and features an animated video series and interactive exercises.
Ryley, a Toronto-based employment and human rights lawyer, says there are four indicators that a workplace is toxic, she tells AdvocateDaily.com.
“The first sign is when the organization has a large number of sexual harassment complaints,” Ryley says. “Conversely, if harassment is suspected, but there have been no complaints at all, there might be a culture of fear or apathy, so employees don’t feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns.”
Another indicator is a high employee attrition rate, she says.
“If there is a higher than usual number of employees quitting or being fired that could be a sign of something more going on — maybe there’s a certain person who seems to be connected to those who are leaving,” Ryley says.
If there are rumours about the company having a toxic workplace, she says that could be another sign of a sexual harassment problem.
“Lastly, we’ve seen cases where former and current employees take to social media and other public forums to call a company out on its policies and practices,” says Ryley, pointing to one recent example of mass employee protests at a tech company. “You have got a serious problem when you get to that point.”
There are ways to reverse the damage, she says, but ideally, organizations should take proactive steps to avoid a culture of toxicity.
As originally published on Advocate PR Ltd.