UPFRONT AGREEMENT | 2 MIN READ
“Oh great, here we go again, our annual harassment training” said by any employee that’s had to endure the monotony of watching powerpoint slide after powerpoint slide. Most are simply waiting for it to be over so they can go take care of all the work that’s piling up.
For most companies, harassment training has just become a legal/compliance box to check off. ‘Yep, we did it – onto the next thing.” And guess what? It hasn’t worked.
For the last 9 months, the #MeToo movement has been center stage due to the considerable number of people who have come forward supported by new studies showing 1 in 5 adults have been harassed at work. In FY 2017, “The EEOC secured approximately $484 million for victims of discrimination in the workplace”. That’s right, $484 Million Dollars.
Harassment training is doomed to fail. Why? Because it lacks follow-up and any formal process to foster healthy relationships between employees and management. The most important factor to consider when addressing workplace harassment is how can we, as a company, be most effective in proactively preventing it on a regular and consistent basis?
To actually take a proactive stance on harassment, discrimination, bullying and the like, employees must feel safe, have no fear of retribution, and have an on-going and open dialogue with their manager. The tool every manager should be using to build this type of relationship is called an Upfront Agreement.
Upfront Agreements make difficult conversations easier to have. They deepen trust, commitment and cooperation allowing employees to feel comfortable talking to their manager about anything. They transform workplaces into happier, healthier places to be.
So what is an Upfront Agreement?
- It’s a pact established at the beginning of a relationship—or at the beginning of a new phase in a relationship.
- It’s an ongoing conversation about how people choose to work together.
- It’s a mutual understanding about responsibilities, expectations and communication. If it’s not mutual, it’s not an agreement.
Employees are so used to being told what to do – one way communication – top down. Take off the boss hat to show you authentically care. Employees will learn that they can come to you and trust you. That is how you take a proactive approach to preventing harassment and discrimination. When a manager engages an employee for their feedback, thoughts, questions, comments or concerns they’re going to feel empowered, valued and those feelings will fall to your bottom line. Morale will go up, productivity will go up, attitude improves, and they believe their manager truly wants to support them to succeed.
Sign up below to receive your Sample Upfront Agreement, which includes language related specifically to the #MeToo movement, harassment, discrimination, and bullying. We encourage you to make this your own and change or alter the language or statements to meet your needs and the needs of your organization. To find out more information about building an Upfront Agreement with your direct reports, please click here to schedule a 15-minute discovery conversation.