On the two-year anniversary of #MeToo, workplace harassment, misconduct continue to plague employees; and employers still struggle with how to protect workers.
Two years after the #MeToo movement started, a new survey shows that 56% of employees have witnessed or experienced inappropriate, illegal, or unethical behavior. However, they say that their concerns often aren’t investigated; and some suggest that these incidents go unreported because employees fear consequences or worry they won’t be believed.
Among other findings from the survey:
- A vast majority (85%) of employees say they know how and where to report issues, but 39% lack the confidence that their issues will be addressed fairly.
- 36% of issues go unreported, 46% of these because the person thought it wouldn’t matter or be handled appropriately and 42% because the person was afraid of consequences.
- 70% of people who reported a problem indicate the situation was investigated and resolved. However, only 1 in 10 of unreported issues was self-addressed or resolved.
- Only 24% of people who reported an issue say they “strongly agree” that they knew what to expect during the investigation process; and the same percentage say they “strongly agree” that there was good communication with them from management/investigators during the process. Only a third (32%) say they “strongly agree” that they were treated with dignity and respect.
- Most employees (67%) seek out their managers to report an issue; only 37% say they go to HR. Hotlines are the least frequently used reporting mechanism, identified by only 6% of respondents.
- Men and women experience harassing or unethical behavior almost equally. However, reports by men are 26% more likely to be investigated.
- Employees who reported concerns were 11% more likely to recommend that others with similar problems go to HR. This number goes up to 26% when an investigation was conducted and up to 43% when the issue was resolved. Conversely, employees who reported issues that weren’t investigated were 41% less likely to refer others to HR.
- When issues were investigated and resolved, regardless of the outcome, employees were 45% more likely to recommend their employer to job seekers, which is comparable to those who never experienced an issue (47%).
- Nearly one-quarter (20%) of employees who had a problem but didn’t report it say they left the organization because of their negative experience.
The survey authors concluded, “Employers value the idea of employee experience, but they still struggle with addressing employee issues. To build transparency and improve culture, organizations must implement a consistent, best-practice employee relations and investigations management approach that includes people, process, and technology.”