We need to teach people how to make harassment stop

The article in the Atlantic by Caitlin Flanagan on the problem with HR and why it's ineffective at stopping bullying and harassment misses the mark. It didn't tell us anything new.  It explains the problem, but does not provide a solution.  Why?  Because - no one working in the field of HR or labor law seems to actually know what works to make unwanted behavior like harassment stop.  

My response to this article? (submitted as a letter to the editor)

The basic problem? No one has ever taught HR how to make harassment stop.

I know this because - I teach how to make unwanted behavior like harassment stop using established behavioral science techniques and I get told by HR veterans all the time that the have been attending harassment training for decades and no one has ever taught them how to make it stop.  I'm the first one. They are shocked because - it should be basic training.

(Note: If you want to learn this - here are links to my online courses. I am HRCI & SHRM approved and do groups as well - https://humanistlearning.com/category/continuing-education-2/hrcredit/

What HR and the rest of us get taught - isn't' how to make it stop. We are taught: what the law is. How to file reports. How to comply with the law. But no one ever teaches us - how to actually make it stop.

The sexual harassment training we are all subjected to - is designed by lawyers - who also - have never been taught how to make unwanted behavior stop.  To top it all off the training we all get is based on a flawed assumption that all we have to do is tell men to stop doing it and they will stop. The result is that every 2 years we are forced to sit through a training that tells us - it's illegal - don't do it, for 2 solid hours!!!!  No one ever thinks to include a unit on how to  - oh  I dunno - MAKE IT STOP!

Blaming HR is unfair. Yes, they work for their bosses. Yes, the tools they have at their disposal are limited. But I've never met an HR professional who doesn't want it to stop. They all want it to stop. They are often victims of it themselves. The problem is - they have never been taught how to make it stop. They've only been taught how to comply with the law.  

Instead of asking, what the problem is with HR. Let's ask the all important question. What needs to happen to actually make sexual harassment stop.  Behavioral scientists have known the answer to that question for 70 years so we have no excuse. Let's start teaching everyone how to do it using established science and maybe then, we can make some progress instead of continually being shocked that asking a sexual predator to stop - doesn't work and is never going to work.

What will work? Teaching people how to behaviorally train their abusers to leave them alone.  Teaching HR how to tweak their processes so that they facilitate behavioral extinction instead of making things worse.  Helping upper management understand the negative cascading impact that bullying and harassment has on problem solving in the workplace so that they stop rewarding bad behavior. 

I talk to people all over the world about this issue. Everyone wants it fixed. The reason we haven't succeeded, is because all our interventions are based on flawed assumptions instead of established behavioral science. My videos are available at Humanist Learning Systems or with amazon prime membership in case anyone wants to educate themselves.  And yes -  I have free programs for kids as well - 

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