Establishing a Harassment Advisor service

A confidential listening and advice service can reduce grievance claims.

Early intervention is crucial in preventing complaints being made, and in ensuring negative attitudes and behaviours don’t become entrenched.   So Harassment Advisors are volunteer staff, trained in the role, who are able to encourage parties, where appropriate, to opt for informal methods to resolve matters.

Setting up a Grievance Resolver or Harassment Advisor service will give your employees someone confidential and independent to talk to if they are feeling bullied, harassed, or angry with a colleague.

Whatever the name, the principle is the same: employees are able to talk openly and honestly about a problem with a colleague to someone who will show empathy and understanding, and who will be familiar with the relevant policies and procedures, and who can help them weigh up the pros and cons of the different options for resolving the matter.

We have helped many organisations set up this service.  We are particularly proud to have been chosen by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to train their Diversity Champions.

Staff thought the study days were excellent. They were all very enthusiastic. When cases of bullying have come up they’ve been prompt to act. Managers are acting more speedily than they otherwise would have. They are acting quickly and appropriately, so we have rarely had to use the formal procedure, they have been resolved at low level.

Conflict Management and Dignity at Work Training Commissioner and Delegate, Head of HRBarts NHS Trust

CMP’s training for Anti-Harassment Supporters enhanced my skills and has enabled me to add value to my organisation’s core activities. CMP were good value for money, I would definitely use CMP again and recommend them to others.

Harassment Advisor Training Delegate, Service ManagerChildren's Society

CMP is a very good company to do business with, all of our objectives were clearly met for very good value, all aspects of communication were fantastic and we would definitely recommend them. We did not want an off the shelf package for bullying and harassment training, but we didn’t know what we needed either. CMP provided professional credibility, expert support, and great flexibility to tailor the workshops to meet our requirements.

Dignity and Respect, Manager Skills and Bespoke Conflict Management Training Coordinator, Workplace coordinatorBedford Borough Council

CMP delivered intensive bespoke conflict management courses of varying levels to 200 managers, to achieve a significant boost to managers’ confidence and skills in managing transition during a time of change, and contributing significantly to achieving the organisational goal of preventing and managing bullying and harassment. From our initial discussions, it was evident that CMP were keen to listen to our needs and work with us to develop a course that satisfied our requirements. The successful partnership combined with local provision and high-quality trainers has developed into a key part of our overall strategy for management development of our staff.

Bespoke Conflict Management Training Buyer and Delegate, Senior Divisional Officer Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

It’s always an unknown quantity when employing an external training provider, however, CMP was really what it said on the tin, the experts in conflict management, the trainers were really excellent and experts in their field!

Conflict Management Skills and Mediation Service Set-up Commissioner, ILM Professional Workplace Mediator and Conflict Management Skills Delegate, Head of HR & DiversityNorth Glamorgan NHS Trust (Now Cwm Taf UHB)

By providing a confidential listening and advice service you can reduce inappropriate grievance claims and make more use of mediation to resolve conflicts.

The key issue that leads to bullying and harassment claims is the breakdown of relationships and the cumulative effect of inappropriate behaviour.  So early intervention is crucial in preventing complaints being made, and in ensuring negative attitudes and behaviours don’t become entrenched.

Training Harassment Advisors

We run a  two-day course endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management. By the end of the course, your advisors will be able to:

  • Listen actively to a wide range of people, build rapport and show appropriate empathy
  • Help people understand what they can do to address their situation by talking through the different ways of resolving matter,  and the benefits and drawbacks of each option
  • Offer emotional support and coaching to help people implement their decisions
  • Be clear about the boundaries between the harassment advisor role and the HR
  • Educate colleagues to understand what inappropriate behaviours look like and how they can impact on people
  • Act as a first and confidential contact point for staff who feel that they have a diversity or equality complaint to make
  • Enable people to discuss their concerns in a one to one meeting in a safe environment thereby reducing stress levels

Should you set up an internal service?

Outlines the pros and cons of setting up an internal harassment advice service; and gives you the 7 areas to work through before you invest in training.

The significant cost of bullying and harassment at work in terms of morale, performance and sheer human misery has been well documented. Taking into account the absenteeism, turnover and productivity costs of bullying and harassment, the total cost for organisations in the UK has been estimated at approximately £13.75 billion in one year. These costs arise because most employees lack either the confidence or the knowledge about how to respond. They either adopt the ‘flight’ response of leaving the business physically or psychologically, or they ‘fight’ via formal processes. Sometimes, taking out a formal grievance is the right and only action. There are options which are significantly less costly in terms of the human costs, as well as less costly to the business. Making employees aware that there are different ways these behaviours can be addressed will reduce the amount of fight and flight responses, and increase the use informal processes. Early intervention at corporate and individual level is pivotal in preventing conflicts escalating to formal processes and ET claims. Resolving issues at an early stage stops them from developing into more serious cases in which HR and/or the Department’s Trade Unions become involved. This paper outlines the value of a harassment advisor service and helps you get ready to set up your internal service or consider the option of outsourcing that service.
Developing the complete dispute resolutions worker