Poll: 1 in 3 Execs Have Changed Behavior in Response to #MeToo

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 5, 2018

A survey of 18,000 employees conducted by the Society of Human Resource Managers has found that more than one in three executives, 32 percent, have modified their behavior from a moderate to very great extent as a result of the #MeToo movement. Conversely, 66 percent reported between no change at all to very little change. As to specifically what they were changing, the most common response was being more careful about their language, at 24 percent, followed by avoiding specific topics and jokes, at 16 percent; "extreme reaction," at 11 percent; not touching people, at 9 percent; and implementing new policies and training, at 6 percent. 

By "extreme reactions," executives meant responses such as "avoid any direct or indirect contact with others, any one-on-one conversation, asking permission to enter a 3 foot personal space and NEVER closer than 3 foot of another" or "Don't talk to women." 

Outside the realm of individual behavior, the executives polled said that the most effective measure for fostering a safe environment for all employees was "enhancing the ability for HR to investigate without potential for retaliation" with 45 percent saying it was "very or extremely effective." Followed closely by this was independent reviews of all workplace misconduct investigations by HR. The least effective measure, according to these executives, was "rewarding increased reporting of sexual harassment allegations" with only 22 percent saying such a thing would be very effective. 

The study also reported that, overall, most employees are either satisfied or very satisfied with their organization's efforts to keep their workplace free of sexual harassment, with only 6 percent saying they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Poll respondents were also very positive about their organizations, with 58 percent saying that their workplace is "not at all" one that fosters occurrence of behaviors that might be considered sexual harassment. 

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