Organisations need to make issues such as sexual harassment, which are obvious to the victims, visible to the wider society. So, what could be the next #MeToo movement?
When researchers survey young people about their expectations of the workplace, being bullied or even sexually harassed is certainly not top of the list. Yet, it is a shocking reality for many workers today, with TUC’s 2016 poll finding that more than half of all women in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment at their place of work. Even more worryingly, most of them did not report the incidents to their employer.
Sexual harassment is, of course, only a symptom of the dark side of modern workplaces. It is a deplorable behaviour in itself, and made worse by cultures that sweep difficult or sensitive issues under the carpet.
Organisational environments where perpetrators are protected from facing consequences of their behaviours, especially if they are high performers or senior managers, sends a strong message of disempowerment and unimportance of people to the business to each and every one of their workforce.
Still, if the recent wave of revelations about toxic organisational cultures has had a silver lining, it would be all the women and men who have been able to find a voice and break through the power dynamic. When I hear others speaking about the issue, I hear that for many sexual harassment was not a new workplace problem – “we knew about this for decades”, said someone I know – but suddenly it has become normal to challenge those behaviours, and take action to address them publicly.
The key question now is: What are we going to do to learn from and build on the #MeToo movement?
You can read the full article in Reward Startegy’s next issue of the magazine - available from next week and will be found here.