I, along with millions of others, have watched in disgust as daily reports of sexual harassment explode out of entertainment, government, corporate America, and technology like an angry, fiery volcano that has been building steam for centuries. It is sickening that in this day of supposed enlightenment, progress and equality – people are still abusing their actual or perceived power over others.
As a woman, I applaud my sisters who had the courage to come forward and end their silence, taken for so many reasons I am not even going to try to understand. As a human, I applaud my brothers who found the strength to share their stories despite fear of ridicule, judgment or worse. As an HR professional, I ask myself…how can this have been prevented?
Our society needs to heal itself toward creating inclusion and equality for everyone, for sure. However, much of this abuse occurred within formal or informal organizational structures where there is an expectation that those in leadership positions would and should know better. Should we all just assume that because society needs healing, the microcosm of organizational structures is just doomed to stay in this abusive, disrespectful state? I think that there is another way for leaders to partner with HR to help the right outcomes happen.
This current climate won’t change overnight. It is complex, and will need to be addressed at multiple angles from numerous vantage points. It must happen in homes, schools, communities and workplaces. At the professional level, this is a space HR plays in every day – driving and guiding change management. We must all be active participants to be the change we want to see.