1. TTC Open Playbook Homepage
  2. Diversity and Inclusion Enablers

Tackling unacceptable behaviour

➖Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying. Policies on bullying and harassment or discrimination must be clear and robust to guide actions and behaviours: what is not acceptable, what actions may result, and what ‘zero tolerance’ actually means. Alongside that, communicate disciplinary and grievance procedures so people know that if they have a complaint, it will be investigated and how appropriate action will be taken, regardless of seniority.

 'No system will foster change if companies continue to view complaints as threats to the organization that must be resolved as quickly as possible rather than as well as possible. Complaint systems can help to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment only
when they spark a transformative process within the organization. The ideal complaint system should encourage workers to voice their grievances and should communicate the organization’s commitment to fair and non-retaliatory resolution. It should also increase bystander awareness of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Plenty of employers know that their current systems don’t work. While we need more research about the efficacy of these alternatives, employers shouldn’t wait for the research to introduce new options', Chapter 3: Making Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Systems Better, Frank Dobbin, Harvard University and Alexandra Kalev, Tel Aviv University.

Be transparent to encourage people can speak up. Share stories of how the organisation and individual leaders have responded to previous situations. 

Empower bystanders to act on sexist and sexually harassing behaviours.

➖'Create an environment where allies feel that they have permission to call out bias in the moment. If you feel that you’re not in an environment like that and if you feel that if you speak up that may actually act against you, you won’t take action. It’s really important to create an inclusive environment where that’s considered to be a trait that you’re going to expect individuals to live up to, where they want to feel empowered to support one another and that’s rewarded. We need to provide people with that comfort level' Dr. Terri Cooper, Deloitte U.S. chief inclusion officer in this Forbes article.

🔦MediaCom have launched a Safe Space Ally Programme. 15 volunteers from across the agency who are passionate about inclusion were chosen and trained to become a Safe Space Ally. Their role is to serve as an advice panel for reporting or dealing with microaggressions or inappropriate behaviour and will help keep individuals safe.

➖Clearly communicate the difference between having fun and bonding to create a positive work culture from behaviours that are divisive, intolerant or go beyond what most would regard as acceptable.

➖People managers at all levels must be trained to recognise where banter or behaviours overstep boundaries, how to be supportive and how to fairly manage increasingly diverse teams.

➖ Recognise it takes confidence for people to speak up, and concerns over power imbalances, detrimental impacts on career, being judged, and a lack of confidence in complaints processes or dismissive attitudes can prevent issues being raised.

➖Senior management teams must lead by example and role-model the expected behaviours. Reinforce expected behaviours through the way performance is evaluated. Every individual should understand their responsibility in behaving appropriately, and as part of how their overall performance is evaluated. 

🔦Intel uses a confidential online hotline (called 'WarmLine') where employees are paired with case managers to resolve workplace concerns or struggles before they resign. "We wanted to get on the front end of what was happening in retention and have a proactive way to address employees' concerns before they were ready to exit out the door," said Barbara Whye, Intel's chief diversity and inclusion officer. The WarmLine data helps Intel to understand what they need to do differently, and then take specific actions as a result. They break data down by organisational departments enabling more targeted conversations depending on the area of the business.

🔦RBC Capital Markets 'launched a campaign called “That Little Voice,” which gives light to the voice we all have in our heads that gives us the gut feeling to speak up when we witness something that feels wrong. They have created videos, guidebooks, and other resources to educate and empower team members to drive inclusive cultural change, 'Inclusion is more important than ever–here are 4 ways to achieve it', Fast Company April 2020. You can also access RBC Capital Market's full suite of guides.

At Deloitte, there was a strong emphasis on ensuring that the workplace culture was sufficiently inclusive and that inappropriate behaviour in the workplace was adequately addressed:

Previously, people worried about raising things because they didn't think the issues were 'big enough' to warrant formal reporting to HR. Also, if it was their line partner involved or manager involved they were nervous about formally reporting. So we created respect and inclusion advisors (of which we have 39 today) - people that are not HR; they are leaders in our business that people can go to for guidance, impartial advice in a confidential way. The existence of these advisors has really helped in ensuring that our people feel able to call out behaviours that they believe are counter to our commitment to respect and inclusion. (Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent. Deloitte LLP, Professional Services, 17,000+ employees), 'Addressing the gender pay gap: employer methods', Scottish Government.

Further information