Incorporating Real Conversations in Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

One secret to effective account management is to form a personal relationship with your client. The premise is that it’s easy to criticize something you don’t know but harder to go after something you do and like. The same can be said for sexual harassment training in California. Incorporating a more personal message into your overall training program and curriculum can yield more effective results.

Why Personal Stories Work

When a person knows you on a one-to-one level, they can relate to you easier and more in-depth. With sexual harassment training for employees, the same concept applies. If your learners can relate to the message being imparted, even with online sexual harassment training, they’ll respond at a more emotional level and the training will become personal. Training that becomes more personal will have a greater impact and lead to behavior changes as well as a different outlook on workplace interactions and relationships.

Making it More Relatable

One of the toughest aspects of classroom or online harassment training is bringing home the core message: Sexual harassment and discrimination happen virtually everywhere, even if you do not do it or know about it. Personal stories bring that message home. While many females will be able to relate instantly to the messages imparted in employee harassment training because they have experienced it or know someone who has, it is more difficult for men.

An exercise proven to help make the message personal is to ask all your male trainees to talk to their female colleagues, friends, and family members and ask them about any experiences they have had with sexual harassment in the workplace. The response will surprise you. Most men have no idea how many women are subjected to sexual harassment or how extensive the harassment can be. They also have no idea how their own workplace behavior can contribute to an environment that subtly contributes to sexual harassment.


Another way of making sexual harassment training real for your employees is to stop calling it “sexual harassment training.” Like anything, over-exposure is never good. For more than two decades, employees, particularly male employees, have been subjected to incident specific or programmatic harassment training, where the premise is that all males do it and if one does not, they want to do so.

Predictably, labeling all males as harassers and generalizing the entire male population as serial harassers has not yielded respect for training programs. In fact, in many cases, they’re viewed training as punishment. For the training to be effective, apart from making it personal, it must also come across as “tips” to building a respectful workplace and not “what HR makes me do because they think I harass others.” Focusing on the improvement of the overall work environment alleviates feelings of guilt, which can lead to defensiveness, making the training ineffective.

Separate Training Curriculum

Another strategy is to separate training based on supervisors vs non-supervisors. While a unified program would be ideal, it’s impossible to create an environment where a non-supervisory employee will be in a circumstance that a manager will be in to harass someone. It’s also very difficult for managers to relate to non-supervisory employees and a work environment that permits harassment. By tailoring programs to address the unique needs and challenges of both supervisors and non-supervisors, the curriculum will have a better chance of resonating than by using a “one-size-fits-all” training curriculum.

Sexual harassment training in California cannot be impersonal, unrelatable or misapplied, or it will not resonate with your target audience. The more personal and relatable you make it, the better your chance of success. For more information on sexual harassment training, visit Impact Compliance Training today to request a free course trial.