To Say or Not to Say: Anti-Harassment and Communication in the Workplace

By Mark Dorosz
VP of Compliance Learning, Interactive Services

“Communication is key” is a phrase we hear repeatedly in and out of the workplace. What we don’t hear about often are the types of communication that exist, and how they shape the environments we use them in. In the workplace you must consider high context and low context styles – it’s a cultural and environmental detail.

Low-Context Communication

People often think that business communication is largely low-context in nature. In low-context communication, people will speak with very little subtext, communicating primarily by exchanging information, and not using much non-verbal communication. This is a common form of communication in business settings.

Some business leaders will approach anti-harassment & discrimination compliance training in a very low-context manner, teaching people about the specific language that they shouldn’t use. However, it’s also important to consider high-context communication when it comes to anti-harassment & discrimination compliance training. People need to be taught that they might be subtly sending messages that they didn’t mean to transmit.

High-Context Communication

In anti-harassment & discrimination compliance training, people need to learn more high-context communication in order to succeed. In low-context communication, statements are taken completely literally. In high-context communication, something could have an unintentional offensive connotation.

For instance, some employees might try to compliment each other on their performances in a way that is perfectly innocent. However, it is possible that a man might say this to a woman in a way that implies that she’s only doing a good job ‘for a woman.’ People who haven’t experienced a lot of prejudice personally might not always recognize situations like this. High-context communication skills and anti-harassment & discrimination compliance training could lessen the frequency of these situations.

Developing New Skills

Anti-harassment & discrimination compliance training can help people develop an entirely new mindset. Interactive Services can assist you in developing an Anti-Harassment training that will strengthen communication and trust within your organization.

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