Over the past several years there has been a growing number of reports, allegations, and lawsuits brought against companies for harassment behavior in the workplace, as well as the ongoing challenge for companies to create a positive and supportive speak-up culture where colleagues advocate for each other when those behaviors show up.
When harassment is overt, it can be obvious to spot. When in-jokes, casual conversation, and workplace friendliness mix, it can be less clear how to identify behaviors which can turn into harassment. It can be confusing for employees to understand how to address them and so FactSet viewed anti-harassment training as essential to raising awareness of to which behaviors constitute harassment and how to empower people to speak up. To move beyond a standard training on the issue, FactSet partnered with Steps on a program to support their global populations.
Using our Steps to Change methodology and drama-based approach, we set out to create a program which explored what behaviors may constitute harassment and the ways we can change our behaviors to reduce them, as well as looking looked at where the line between what is and isn’t appropriate in the workplace lies. We began with live-virtual sessions, which used fictional scenarios (based on our research within FactSet) to explore moments of harassment such as: the power dynamics between a manager and individual contributors; how jokes can cross the line from banter to harassment; how tolerance for the bad behavior of an external client could put a colleague at risk; and how remaining silent when observing harassment can make one culpable. We also explored how harassment can show up in social media and through various lines of workplace communication, for example using a pre-filmed scenario of a text exchange to look at meme culture and the growing use of informal communications such as instant messaging, and texting.
Participants had the opportunity to explore what keeps people from speaking up and what they can be doing as individuals, in their teams, and regionally to encourage a culture that supports changing unwanted behaviors through group discussions about the presented issues.
As a global organization, global diversity and cultural inclusivity is key for FactSet. The global Steps teams worked in collaboration with FactSet offices in the U.S., India, and The Philippines to build programs tailored to each region. Group research discussions were led in all three regions to identify overarching themes, and from these discussions, the initial program for the U.S. and Europe was developed. Steps teams in India and The Philippines then worked with local FactSet teams to adapt the program to those regions. Through this global collaboration, three programs were created to reflect the specific voices, concerns, and cultures of each of the regions.
To support scaling the content to reach all FactSet employees globally, the live program content has been adapted to film, with a detailed facilitation guide provided for teams within FactSet to lead sessions themselves, similar to the live program. We also consulted with FactSet in the creation of a multimedia-based e-learning version of the program, which will allow the content to be shared even further. We worked with FactSet to ensure that any regulatory requirements for anti-harassment training were met (for those regions with them), and that the content can be used for several years to continue supporting their population in this important discussion.