An unhappy reality even for the most enlightened of organizations is that there is a possibility than an employee may experience harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
Statistically, we know that many victims, between 6 and 13%, do not choose to report such experiences and an additional 75% do not feel that their organization adequately handled the incident when they did report. As such, it's important to have a comprehensive set of reporting channels and processes to aid your employees in feeling safe to report and supported through the review process.
One way to provide victims with strong reporting channels is to enlist the assistance of an outside resource, such as an Ombudsperson. The role of an Ombud is to provide a reporting channel to victims of harassment and discrimination who does not sit within the organization or answer directly to anyone within the organization.
In the process of our research, we interviewed a member of a large, multilateral organization who felt this was a key to their reporting system:
In addition to a peer advisor, we have an ombudsperson. If you want informal resources and conversations, you go to the former. If you want a more formal complaint filed, or you need help with a sexual harassment claim, you go to the ladder. That person sits outside the organization to insulate against any kind of conflict of interest.
Of course it is important to note that formal reporting channels should be just one aspect of an organization's reporting system. As our participant cited, it was also important to have an internal member of the organization available for informal reporting and consultations.
By providing multiple channels of reporting, victims of harassment and discrimination can choose a process they feel most comfortable with and that they feel matches the level of trangression.
EXPLORE THE FOLLOWING SOLUTIONS: