Is your workplace safe? 10 reasons why every firm needs PoSH training

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Is your workplace safe? 10 reasons why every firm needs PoSH training

PoSH training is both responsible and legally required in most firms. To ensure compliance with laws such as PoSH Act, 2013 in India, organisations must regularly conduct training courses, said Sumit Manon from The Response Company.

Did you know that the total number of sexual harassment complaints at workplaces increased by 27% in the financial year ending March 2022 compared to 2021?  While such cases have always been present, the impact of Covid has brought changes in workforce sentiment. The increase in sexual harassment cases is now a concerning issue for employee safety, particularly with many offices reopening.

Even though the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) PoSH Act was passed almost a decade ago in 2013, the problem of sexual harassment still poses a significant threat to women’s safety and dignity. In order to explore the effectiveness of PoSH training programs and how to maximise their benefits, People Matters interviewed Sumit Manon, Co-founder of The Response Company, a startup dedicated to assisting organisations in sensitising their employees about ethics and PoSH policies in the corporate world.

During our exclusive conversation, he emphasised the critical role of PoSH training programs in creating a safe workplace environment by educating staff members about sexual harassment, its different forms, and how to address and prevent inappropriate incidents. 

Sumit Manon further highlighted that apart from preventing potentially harmful, distressing incidents, there are numerous reasons to conduct POSH training sessions for employees and shared with us top ten reasons to implement POSH training in the workplace:

1. Creating awareness  

PoSH training programmes educate staff members on what sexual harassment entails in both its overt and covert forms. Employees are better prepared to spot and stop such instances of harassment by being conscious of the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. 

2. Legal compliance 

PoSH training is not only a responsible practice but also a legal necessity in most firms. Organisations must regularly hold PoSH training courses to guarantee compliance with laws like the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 in India. Companies that offer POSH training drastically reduce their risk of potential legal difficulties. They fortify their defence against probable legal complaints by exhibiting a dedication to stopping and dealing with sexual harassment. A well-trained trained workforce is less likely to act in ways that could result in legal repercussions.

3. Promoting a culture of sincere respect  

PoSH training sessions facilitate a respectful workplace culture. They emphasise the value of upholding respect and equality for each person and encouraging an inclusive environment where everyone feels respected and safe. 

4. Empowering employees 

Employees who take part in PoSH training gain awareness about their rights and what to do in the event of either experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment. This information inspires confidence and motivates others to speak up, ensuring prompt reporting and proper action. 

5. Enhancing organisational reputation 

Businesses that place a great deal of emphasis on PoSH training make it evident to their staff, stakeholders, and customers that they are committed to upholding a courteous and safe workplace. These businesses are more likely to draw in top talent, retain it, and have a solid standing in the market.  

6. Improving employee morale and preventing productivity loss

Having a sexual harassment-free workplace raises employee morale and job satisfaction.  Employees are more engaged, driven, and productive when they feel protected and valued.  PoSH training is essential for creating a supportive work environment that enhances employee performance and well-being. 

Incidents of sexual harassment can have a considerable negative effect on productivity. Employees who are subjected to or witness harassment may experience increased stress, anxiety, and a loss of focus during work hours as well as outside of work. Organisations conduct PoSH training in an effort to stop such events and maintain a productive staff. 

7. Encouraging accountability and responsible reporting  

The significance of promptly reporting instances of sexual harassment is emphasised throughout PoSH training sessions. It ensures that workers are aware of the channels for reporting available within the firm in addition to the consequences to be faced by violators. Organisations can hold offenders accountable and prevent similar behaviour from repeating by promoting responsible reporting.  

8. Promoting diversity and inclusion 

Fostering inclusion and diversity is closely connected with active participation in PoSH training. Organisations foster diversity of perspectives and ideas by cultivating an environment where everyone is treated equally and with respect, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background. PoSH training helps nurture innovation, greater judgement, and increased collective performance.  

9. Nurturing managerial responsibility 

PoSH training is essential in informing managers and supervisors about their roles in preventing and responding to sexual harassment. These educational sessions equip supervisors with the information and skills required to recognise indicators of sexual harassment, respond to complaints proactively, and build a supportive environment for the victim. 

Firms that facilitate mandatory PoSH training ensure that managers are prepared to handle sensitive situations of such nature and contribute to a safe work environment by encouraging management responsibility.

10. Minimising financial risks 

Occurrences of sexual harassment often result in financial and reputational consequences for organisations, with legal fees, settlement costs, and a damaged brand reputation resulting in massive financial losses. 

Businesses can minimise such risks by addressing and preventing traumatic incidents of sexual harassment through routine PoSH sessions. These programmes lay the foundation for a solid defence against potential lawsuits and the protection of the organisation’s financial resources and reputation.

Neglecting PoSH training “could cause serious reputational harm to organisations. News of sexual harassment occurrences often travel quickly in the age of social media and heightened public scrutiny, damaging a company’s brand reputation severely. Investing in PoSH training conveys that a company cares about its community and can help keep its reputation intact,” stated  Sumit Manon. 

Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that POSH training should be a continuous procedure rather than a one-time event. To make sure that employees keep up-to-date on the subject, regular refresher training sessions and updates on evolving laws and policies are essential. “An organisation’s commitment to stopping sexual harassment is reinforced by ongoing training, further reducing the risks of such traumatic incidents,” he concluded. 

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