Awareness of sexual harassment has come a long way since a group of women at Cornell University first coined the term in 1975.

Still, there are few clear training requirements at the federal and state level. Six states currently have laws mandating sexual harassment training and certification. Otherwise, it’s left up to each employer or staffing agency to decide what type of training to offer.

If sexual harassment training isn’t required in your area, how much importance should you give it? In this post, we’ll look at some key benefits of prevention training for all companies (and staffing agencies in particular).

Keep reading to learn why sexual harassment prevention should be part of training for all employees.

Prevention Training for Staffing Agencies: Why?

The #MeToo movement brought attention to sexual harassment on an unprecedented scale. From small businesses to Hollywood corporations, the world is seeing harassment for what it is: an occupational hazard.

Employee safety is part of any human resource management operation—including staffing agencies. Don’t rely on the hiring company to supply all the training for new employees. Why not give them a competitive advantage during the job hunt?

Staffing agencies in 2020 need to be proactive with their sexual harassment prevention training. Once someone has completed their training, they’ll receive a certificate to enhance their resume.

In today’s competitive job market, every extra resume builder is one step closer to landing someone a job. Staffing companies can leverage sexual harassment prevention training to better prepare their clients and give them a competitive advantage.

Who Should Be Included?

Every employee has the right to feel safe and respected in their workplace. This includes employees hired through a staffing agency.

Most companies provide sexual harassment prevention training for their managers and supervisors. But what about interns, students, or other temporary workers?

It’s true that harassment can come from supervisors, coworkers, or even customers. The gender of the harasser and the victim are also irrelevant.

Still, the bigger the power differential in a professional relationship, the higher the risk of sexual harassment. Those at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy, such as temp workers and interns, are often the most vulnerable.

Even if someone is filling a temporary role or taking on a part-time summer job, their rights are the same as a permanent, full-time employee. Sexual harassment training provides a clear picture of what behaviors are and are not acceptable in the workplace.

For some students or interns, this might be their first time entering the workforce. They might not know what to do if they experience or witness sexual harassment. They might also assume that they don’t have the same rights as permanent employees.

Prevention training arms them with the knowledge they need to successfully enter their new job. They’ll understand how their supervisors should treat them and also how they should behave around their coworkers.

What if they’re still looking for a job? An agency-provided training certificate will make them more appealing to prospective employers.

Benefits of Sexual Harassment Training 

We’ve focused on the benefits of training for employees, but what about the staffing agency? Here are 3 reasons why you’ll want to include sexual harassment training courses for all your clients.

Protects Against Negligence Claims

The more you can protect yourself legally, the better off you’ll be. Offering sexual harassment training is a powerful way for staffing agencies to reduce legal liability.

In the event of legal action against a company or staffing agency, the court will launch an examination for signs of negligence. This can include:

  • Non-compliance with federal and state sexual harassment laws
  • Open, clear human resource channels
  • Reporting methods and follow-up procedures
  • Sexual harassment training and record-keeping 

Harassment prevention training is the most effective way to relay your agency’s policies and expectations. It should be mandatory for everyone who comes through your door, whether they’re seeking a temporary or permanent position.

Training makes it clear that the agency takes sexual harassment seriously. It also provides workers with an actionable set of steps to take if they experience harassment in the workplace. Proactively offering this training will help to protect your agency from any negligence claims.

Improved Worker Productivity

Here’s a stat to make you sit up and take note: 75% of victims report that sexual harassment undermined their work performance.

Women who experience harassment are also more likely to become depressed and suffer from sleep problems.

All of this results in reduced productivity and poor performance at work. This will make you—the staffing agency who supplied the worker—look bad.

Combat this cycle before it begins by providing sexual harassment prevention training to all your clients. They’ll be empowered with the tools they need to address harassment if it occurs. As a result, your staffing agency will gain a good reputation in the corporate world.

Reduces Employee Turnover

Sexual harassment has a profound effect on job satisfaction, absenteeism, and employee turnover.

If someone becomes a victim and isn’t aware of their rights (or the proper steps to take), they’re more likely to seek employment elsewhere. When an experienced worker leaves their job, the employer incurs hiring and training costs.

Again, training is a key step in breaking this cycle before it begins. Educated workers who know how to handle the situation (should it arise) are more likely to become dedicated, long-time employees.

Where to Find Prevention Training for Staffing Agencies

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to talk about sexual harassment in the workplace (or anywhere else).

In the meantime, it’s the responsibility of all employers and staffing agencies to ensure their workers receive appropriate training on the subject.

Don’t worry—you don’t have to rent a lecture hall or create a lengthy slideshow. In 2020, sexual harassment training for your entire company is just a click away!

Click here to learn more about our online sexual harassment prevention training program and how it will benefit your business.

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