5 Things L&D Pros Can Do to Mitigate a Hostile Work Environment

Hostile work environments have the potential to cost businesses thousands or millions of dollars every year due to costs associated with employee turnover, presenteeism, and absenteeism, as well as costs associated with settling or litigating harassment lawsuits.hostile
Yesterday’s post covered six telltale signs that your employees are in a hostile work environment. And today’s post will cover what you can do about it as an L&D professional.
Here are five things you can do as an L&D professional to mitigate a hostile work environment.

1. Implement Emotional Intelligence Training

Employees who undergo emotional intelligence training foster better and more positive communications with one another in the workplace, know how to mitigate stressful situations and potentially heated disagreements on their own, actively seek to build rapport with others, and more. Read “4 Reasons Why Your Employees Need Emotional Intelligence Skills” for more details.

2. Condition Your Leaders to be Servant Leaders

Most hostile workplaces are a direct result of hostile managers or hostile management practices. However, if you condition your managers to be servant leaders, they will be more empathetic and open to listening to and working with their employees directly to mitigate any hostile feelings or experience, oftentimes before they even arise or begin to fester.

3. Enforce a Zero-Tolerance Policy Against Harassment and Discrimination

If you really want to mitigate hostile work environments, develop and share a zero-tolerance policy for all forms and mediums of harassment and discrimination. Have employees and leaders across your organization sign the agreement and make it clear that all reports of hostile or unwanted behavior will be investigated and taken seriously, with the potential for severe repercussions.

4. Have an Open-Door Policy

Allow employees to come directly to you with concerns at any time before those concerns fester and resentment builds or more dangerous situations occur. And keep all discussions with employees confidential until formal complaints are filed and action is taken.
And even after formal complaints are filed, allow employees to remain anonymous when they’re afraid of retaliation from others. To mitigate hostile work environments, it’s imperative that employees feel like they can come to you at any time and safely and confidentially confide in you.

5. Investigate Every Complaint Fully and Fairly

Whenever employees confide in you that they are experiencing a hostile work environment, you must investigate it—every single time, regardless of your own beliefs or biases.
Develop a formal internal system and process for investigating complaints so that each complaint is addressed with the same amount of care and diligence. And make sure employees feel comfortable following your processes and that they are confidential and reliable.
Do the things listed above to help mitigate against a hostile work environment’s taking over your own organization.

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