P&G’s efforts against workplace harassment, bullying, and discrimination

With #MeToo throwing light on workplace harassment, it has become more important than ever for companies to call out clear standards for conduct.

At HRM Asia’s 12th Asia Employment Law Congress, taking place today and tomorrow at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, delegates have had the opportunity to learn more about key changes and critical updates in legislation across Asia Pacific – all from the mouths of employment law practitioners from leading organisations across the region.

A trend which came up several times during the first day session was the impact of the #MeToo movement on highlighting the issues of workplace harassment and discrimination. Companies are now increasingly implementing pro-active workplace policies that address these issues, not only to better protect themselves from liability, but also to communicate a clear picture of what will and will not be tolerated within the organisation’s walls.

At Procter & Gamble, it begins all the way from on-boarding – where clear expectations are set out for the new recruits to the consumer goods giant.

“We have a worldwide business conduct manual that everyone needs to sign, that very clearly calls out what the standards are irrespective of where in the world you are, or what market you are in,” said Shobha D’Sa, Head of HR and Employee Relations at P&G Singapore, during a panel discussion.

There are also confidential hotlines – manned by independent parties – that employees can call to express concerns – and the company has HR managers who are trained in managing investigations into any significant issues that do arise.

“We give employees clear guidelines on who they can contact if they have concerns – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be their line manager or HR manager, in case their concern is about those people,” she pointed out.

When the #MeToo movement began gaining traction, the organisation also made it a point to reach out to employees to note its ongoing, long-term commitment to maintain a working culture that is free of harassment or discrimination on any factor.

She added that it was important for business leaders also to have a clear understanding of the company standards and guidelines, so that they can champion the standards – and make the correct decisions when inappropriate behaviour does arise, even if the employee in question is a high-performers.

“We make the business leaders own the final decision on what needs to be done in the event of a complaint. HR can’t own the decision – it has to be the business leader who owns it, and who can say ‘This how we measure people: on how they deliver on the business, and how they deliver on the organisational part of the expectations or standards. As such, this person is not a potential leader or top talent.’ This is where having non-HR, business people who are trained in the company’s standards, proves valuable,” she said.

 

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