SHRM Harassment Survey: Some Improvement, But Culture Needs to Change

“Change is taking place, but organizational culture must continue to evolve.” That’s one takeaway from the study that SHRM released earlier this month as part of its “Harassment-Free Workplace Series.”

“We have a long way to go.” That’s my takeaway from the study.

Many of the statistics from the study are discouraging

Consider these results:

  • Two-thirds of executives have barely (or not at all) changed their behavior in response to the #MeToo movement.
  • Of the one-third of executives who reported changing their behavior, 34% of these declined to describe how they had changed their behavior. One respondent noted, “Don’t talk to women.”
  • Two-thirds of executives believe that increasing the number of people in the organization that employees can report concerns about sexual harassment would be moderately effective, at best. (14% said that would not be effective at all.)
  • While the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace has strongly recommended more accountability, leadership, and zero tolerance as ways to eliminate workplace harassment, only 13% of executives cited “Management/Leadership/Executive Support” and 10% of executives cited “Zero Tolerance” as ways to reduce sexual harassment

Now, there are some positives too. Two-thirds of non-managers are very satisfied with the efforts their companies have taken to keep the workplace harassment-free. Plus, nearly every HR professional who answered the survey reported their workplace has a formal anti-harassment policy.

What next?

SHRM summarized the survey results in this infographicharassment

— I know how you guys like infographics — with three additional takeaways:

Article Continues Below
  1. It’s time for more than rules.
  2. Policies alone are not enough.
  3. Employers have to change their culture or sexual harassment will persist.

Do you agree? What stood out to you from the survey? And what has your workplace done to reduce/end sexual harassment?

Email me. I’d love to hear from you.

This article is reposted from

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.