How to Increase Accountability to Decrease Microaggressions and Harassment

Cause and effect is a simple yet invaluable concept that is learned at a very young age. If you touch the stove, then you will get burned. If you don’t eat, then you will get hungry. As we mature, this set of causal relationships is ingrained in our behavior. We become hardwired to avoid negative consequences.

What happens however when the threat of those consequences is removed? Would we drive the speed limit if there wasn’t a threat of seeing those flashing blue lights in the rear-view? Would we waste our valuable time aiming for those eight hours of sleep if we felt fine getting only a couple each night?

Would your colleague think twice about making a lewd “joke” if there was a threat of actual consequences?

What if your colleague made an unintentional mistake with his/her words, resulting in a microaggression, but was made aware and learned from it?

Harassment often starts as an off-handed comment. Perhaps it’s inappropriate language, a misplaced insult or even a suggestive compliment. When that isn’t met with opposition, or even the fear of reprimand, then it can gradually escalate. An insult can turn into a mumbled racial slur or microaggression; a suggestive compliment can turn into a sexual advance. It’s a vicious cycle of provocation, harassment, and intimidation, which if left unchecked, will continue playing on repeat.

Unfortunately, this lack of reprimand, or lack of a learning moment, has created workplace environments in which unacceptable behavior has become the daily norm. Offensive speech is passed off as “water-cooler talk”, sexual innuendo is just being “one of the guys”, and what would in most circles be considered hate speech is just “messing around”. This atmosphere can become endemic to a workplace without any indication to new employees that they’re entering a hostile work environment. While it may be the day-to-day for those who have become numb to the behavior, it can be devastating for those on the receiving end of the harassment.

The seemingly simple solution – articulate the incident as soon as it occurs. Correcting negative behavior, intentional or not, and learning from it before it intensifies is always easier than trying to change when it becomes the norm. This is much easier said than done, however.

The top two reasons why victims do not report harassment:

  1. Fear
  2. Embarrassment

 

Fear is a powerful thing; a terrible and controlling thing. The threat of losing your job, be branded a “rat”, being viewed as culpable just by association is more than enough for most victims to opt for silence. Fear is also often leveraged as a direct threat by the aggressor. IF you speak out about this, I’ll deny it and you’ll get fired.

Embarrassment is an equally paralyzing deterrent for reporting undesirable behavior. The emotional impact of being bullied, harassed, intimidated, or diminished cannot be overstated. For those (global) employees whose native language is not English, speaking up on anything is daunting.  It leaves many victims choosing silence over reporting, despite the long-lasting psychological impacts.

Even if the hurdles of fear and embarrassment can be overcome, many workplaces do not have the structure for victims to report an incident to the appropriate persons within an organization.

The AnonyMoose platform was specifically designed to break this cycle of silence. It single-handedly enables employees to reach top management instantly, directly, and discreetly, by hiding their identities, thus removing the barriers of both fear and embarrassment. 

Allegations are unfortunately easily dismissed when it appears to be a single incident, however when victims are given a means to report without retaliation or judgment it can build a history and clear picture of the bad characters within a workforce.

AnonyMoose doesn’t just help employees speak up and be heard without fear or hesitation.  In addition to providing invaluable feedback and ideas, it also enables invaluable insight for a company into aninequitable, discriminatory, or possibly toxic work culture. This toxicity and inequity are counterproductive to employee morale, productivity and a sense of belonging.

Additionally, addressing abusive or inappropriate behavior early on can avoid the potentially damaging development of harassment or civil lawsuits and the accompanying public relations nightmares.

When we were children, we were taught there were consequences for every action. This was reinforced as we grew up. When we enter the workforce, accountability for one’s actions or behavior is no sure thing.  If the culture of accountability is lacking, then patterns of disrespect, microaggressions, and harassment permeate the organization.

AnonyMoose’s goal is to create a safe and respectful workplace for all. There is no better way to become aware of, and stop the cycle of inequity or abuse within a work environment.

From an infrastructure perspective, implementing the AnonyMoose app is an easy task of a few hours of setup. The return is an unparalleled ability to identify concerning patterns and alert leadership to implement timely action.  AnonyMoose empowers the entire team to be accountable.