Importance of PoSH Awareness Training in Workplaces
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  Jun 17 2024 | admin

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a noticeable increase in awareness regarding the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace (PoSH). 2023 there was a significant 31% rise in complaints compared to 2022. The IT sector, in particular, accounted for 84% of these cases. This surge highlights the urgent need for companies to train and sensitize their employees about sexual harassment proactively. As a result, numerous organizations are now focusing on PoSH training services to create and maintain a safe and secure workplace environment.

The shift to remote work during the pandemic has brought new challenges to the forefront of workplace safety. Blurred lines between personal and professional spheres, increased reliance on online communication tools, and the potential for isolation can create situations conducive to harassment.

In this context, effective PoSH awareness training becomes even more critical. In the Outcast Collective, everyone deserves to feel safe, respected, and empowered to thrive at work. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of PoSH training, exploring its role in creating a truly inclusive and respectful work environment for all.

Understanding PoSH Awareness Training and the Legal Framework

PoSH stands for Prevention of Sexual Harassment. To promote better relationships and equality among employees, organizations implement PoSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) training. The PoSH Act mandates that companies and employers take appropriate measures to prevent sexual harassment incidents in the workplace.

Compliance with the PoSH Act involves spreading awareness among employees about their roles and responsibilities through structured training programs. These sessions help employees understand the redressal procedures when incidents occur, either to themselves or their colleagues. PoSH awareness training equips employees at all levels with the knowledge and skills to:

  • Identify different forms of sexual harassment, both verbal and non-verbal. This includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, offensive jokes or comments, and creating a hostile work environment.
  • Understand the key provisions of the PoSH Act, including the responsibilities of both employers and employees.
  • Recognize and respond to potential harassment situations. This includes bystander intervention strategies and clear channels for reporting incidents to the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) or designated authorities.

The PoSH Act, or the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, is a landmark legislation in India. It mandates the creation of Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) within organizations to investigate complaints regarding sexual harassment. The ICC plays a significant role in ensuring a fair and impartial investigation process.

Aditya Narayan Mishra, Chief Executive of CIEL, emphasized the impact of PoSH training, stating, “This proactive approach has encouraged employees to come forward and report sexual harassment, potentially contributing to an increase in the number of PoSH cases.” This underscores the significance of PoSH awareness training in cultivating a workplace culture where employees are empowered to report incidents safely. 

Corporate Leaders Championing PoSH Awareness

Forward-thinking CEOs understand that fostering a safe and inclusive work environment isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a smart business decision. PoSH awareness training is crucial in demonstrating a commitment to creating a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.

Here are a few examples of companies benefiting from PoSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) awareness training programs:

  • Tata Group: Tata Group, a major Indian conglomerate, has implemented comprehensive PoSH training programs across various companies. These training sessions focus on educating employees about the different types of harassment, the legal framework under the PoSH Act, and the mechanisms available for redressal. This has helped Tata maintain a safer and more respectful workplace environment, and increased employee trust and productivity​.
  • Franklin Templeton Investments: Franklin Templeton Investments, a global investment management organization, has utilized PoSH awareness training services to educate its employees and Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) members. The training has been positively received, with employees finding significant value in understanding the nuances of the PoSH Act and how to handle complaints effectively. This has contributed to a safer workplace and better compliance with legal requirements​.
  • DBS Bank: DBS Bank, operating internationally, has also benefited from PoSH training programs. This proactive approach has helped DBS foster a respectful and safe working environment, which is crucial for employee retention and overall workplace morale​

The Need for PoSH Awareness Training

Despite the growing emphasis on DEI, sexual harassment is still a pervasive issue in workplaces worldwide. A 2022 Gallup poll found that 23% of women in the workplace have experienced sexual harassment in the past year.

The need for PoSH awareness training is clear. However, many organizations struggle with the “how” of implementation. Developing and delivering effective training programs requires expertise and experience in navigating sensitive topics while ensuring clear communication and legal compliance.

Top 10 Reasons to Implement PoSH Awareness Training in Your Organization

Investing in PoSH awareness training offers many benefits for both employees and organizations. Here are 10 compelling reasons to get started:

  1. Create a Safe and Respectful Workplace: PoSH awareness training equips employees with the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent sexual harassment. This leads to a safer and more respectful work environment for everyone.
  2. Empower Employees: When employees comprehend their rights and the reporting mechanisms in place, they feel more empowered to communicate if they encounter or see harassment.
  3. Reduce Truancy and Turnover: Encountering sexual harassment can take a significant toll on an employee’s mental and emotional well-being, often leading to increased truancy and ultimately, higher turnover rates. PoSH awareness training creates a safe space for reporting incidents, which can help to address issues before they escalate.
  4. Enhance Employer Branding: A powerful employer brand is essential in the current talent-driven market. Companies that prioritize creating a safe and inclusive workplace through programs like PoSH awareness training attract and retain top talent. A Deloitte report highlights that millennials, a key demographic in the workforce, actively seek out companies with strong diversity and inclusion initiatives. Demonstrating a commitment to PoSH compliance positions your organization as one that values respect and ethical conduct.
  5. Boost Employee Morale and Productivity: Employees who feel safe and respected at work are more engaged and productive. A study by Gallup found that employees who are satisfied with their organization’s approach to DE&I are more productive than their counterparts who are not.
  6. Decline Legal Risk: Failing PoSH awareness training can expose your organization to significant legal risks. The PoSH Act mandates that companies have Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) to investigate sexual harassment complaints. However, even with an ICC, a lack of employee awareness can make it difficult to identify and address harassment effectively. Investing in PoSH training demonstrates your organization’s commitment to creating a safe workplace and can help to minimize legal liability.
  7. Foster a Culture of Open Communication: PoSH training encourages open communication about sensitive topics. This helps to build a culture where employees feel comfortable speaking up about their problems and are assured that their voices will be heard.
  8. Promote Bystander Intervention: Bystander intervention is crucial in preventing and addressing sexual harassment. PoSH training equips employees with the skills and strategies to intervene effectively in situations of potential harassment.
  9. Develop a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce: A commitment to PoSH awareness training demonstrates your organization’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. This creates a more welcoming environment for employees from all backgrounds and experiences.
  10. Cultivate a Culture of Respect and Responsibility: PoSH awareness training goes beyond simply checking a legal box. It paves the way for a culture of respect and responsibility within your organization. Employees learn to interact with each other appropriately and become more sensitive to potential harassment situations. This promotes a more optimistic and collaborative work environment where everyone succeeds.

The Impact of Partnering with The Outcast Collective for PoSH

At The Outcast Collective, our team believes a truly inclusive workplace requires going beyond the minimum legal requirements. We offer comprehensive PoSH training programs that help organisations and teams, 

  • Be engaging and interactive: Our training programs utilise various methods to keep participants engaged, including case studies, role-playing exercises, and group discussions.
  • Be tailored to your organization: We take the time to understand your distinctive culture and needs to ensure suitable and impactful training programs.
  • Be delivered by experienced facilitators: Our team consists of DEI experts with extensive experience in conducting PoSH training.
  • Be compliant with legal requirements: Our training programs are designed to meet the requirements of the PoSH Act and ensure your organization remains legally compliant.

Our PoSH Awareness Trainings and Workshops Do Make a Difference, read how:

Let us understand it with a few examples of how partnering with The Outcast Collective can benefit your organization:

  • Increased employee awareness: Our training programs ensure that all employees, from leadership to entry-level, understand their rights and responsibilities regarding PoSH.
  • Improved reporting mechanisms: Employees will feel more confident about reporting incidents of sexual harassment through the proper channels.
  • Reduced tolerance for harassment: By creating a culture of open communication and bystander intervention, our training programs help to reduce the tolerance for sexual harassment within your organization.
  • Stronger employer brand: Demonstrating a commitment to PoSH compliance through effective training programs enhances your reputation as a fair and ethical employer.

Ready to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace for all your employees? The team at The Outcast Collective, led by our PoSH Service Delivery Lead Rutuja, is here to help. Connect to discuss the details and learn more about how our customized PoSH training programs can make a difference in your organization. 

Contact us via WhatsApp at +91-89280 21419 for PoSH compliance solutions. Let us begin and cultivate a culture of respect in your organisation today.

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