Bystander intervention trainings are the only research-backed solution for preventing workplace sexual harassment.
The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Harvard Business Review all published reports in the last year highlighting this research.
I have seen this method work as a facilitator of Bystander Intervention trainings for over a decade, training over 10,000 people to recognize early warning signs, trust their gut and speak up to help others in a difficult situation.
What makes bystander intervention trainings so effective?
Old-school anti-harassment trainings drill employees on the rules of conduct. This misses the mark by focusing on changing the behaviors of a few bad actors. Instead of telling people what not to do, bystander intervention training teaches everyone what to do in uncomfortable situations. This shifts the focus onto empowering good people, who vastly outnumber the bad.
Harassment is a pervasive crimes perpetrated by a very small percentage of people, while the majority of good people are silent witnesses. There is a term for this phenomenon — “The Bystander Effect” — which is when people witness something bad happening but do nothing to help.
During liftUPlift trainings, we teach participants social awareness skills, so they can recognize early and subtle warning signs. We also teach what to do and what to say to stop negative behaviors in the workplace and beyond. By shifting the focus and responsibility to everyone, our approach discourages victim-blaming and offers everyone a chance to change norms.
As a facilitator, I share personal stories that illustrate key lessons and prepare participants for real-world intervention.
At trainings, I always share my experience of intervening to stop an incident of racism and harassment on the Chicago Metra. While riding home one night, I was startled when a young man across the aisle started using racial slurs to heckle an elderly hispanic man sitting a few seats away from me.
My heart raced, and I glanced around to see if anyone else would speak up. The train car was full of people, all silent witnesses. After a few more seconds of harassment, I pushed past the butterflies in my stomach and loudly stated, “STOP. You are making EVERYONE uncomfortable!”
As soon as I broke the silence, others immediately chimed in to back me up. It turns out the train car was full of good people who wanted to speak up. The point is, don’t be silent; silence equals condoning. You may need to be the first to speak up, but you won’t be alone.
Your actions have a profound influence on others, and when you do what’s right, there are good people all around you who will back you up.
liftUPlift Bystander Intervention Trainings offer a way for every organization to be proactive and not reactive, commit to positive change, shift responsibility to everyone, and be positively recognized for their efforts. It works, so every business should do it!
Use our online calendar to schedule a complimentary consultation about offering Bystander Intervention Training at your workplace.