Thought Leadership Blog

The HRS Thought Leadership Blog delivers validated findings, visionary perspectives and op/ed commentaries related to HR, Leadership, Organizational Development and Employment Law. To enjoy the full volume of available articles, please enter topic keywords in the search box to explore our body of work. Articles are regularly presented by the HRS team and guest experts.

The Making of “Workplace Harassment, Avoidance and Solutions” and Why This Training Video So Popularly Connects and Delivers

Facts fuel purpose, and harassment is despicable. Developing this action-propelling video was a poignant, challenging, incredibly important and all-consuming journey. Continuously diving deep to continuously confront diminishing experiences shakes one to the very core. That said, we’ve never for a moment lost sight that all forms of harassment are equally despicable and equally important to conquer, including but not limited to racial, religious, disability, military, any gender-related characteristic, family status, age, national origin, and so many more characteristics that simply make us beautifully and imperfectly human. 

When I activate on #MeToo, I’m doing so from the perspective of a woman beyond age 50. I’m in the age group of women who grew up where environmental harassment was culture, and only economic harassment was disciplined (sometimes.) We learned early about the “choices” women would need to make. Those of us who said “no” took many huge hits to our careers. Sometimes our “no” would establish our credibility, and other times we were blown back to start as if we landed on the tornado space in Milton Bradley’s Game of Life. 

Among a disproportionately small group of women who boldly entered the “businessman’s world,” I am reminded daily how the landscape has since changed. While some women even taped their breasts, assimilated to male protocol and/or imitated the Lilith Sternin Crane character from Cheers; few of us kept our hair feminine, wore modest makeup and enjoyed appropriate length skirts. When choosing to lead with sexuality, the majority of us were taught we’d be inciting a sexual response. While it’s entirely impossible to ask for harassment, which is by definition unwelcome, some of us experimented with the timeless strategy of “the best defense is a good offense.” Meanwhile, we were pummeled with the television commercial “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never-ever let you forget you’re a man.” Both women and men were harassing women, and when a gladiator culture collided with the female mud-wrestling era, men loved to pit women against each other for pure sport and entertainment. Many women could not find women to support them, but I always managed to find some good peeps!

We’ve watched many forms of harassment actually become seemingly lessened before they got worse.  It’s no secret that focusing too much on one’s own feelings can cause one to lose complete sight of her or his affect on others. The struggle can become “Who’s harassing whom?” On another important note, just before the #MeToo movement struck, men’s sexual harassment claims were increasing faster than women’s. I’m reminded of a timeless Fox6 PrimeSpot we delivered on “Dating in the Workplace” which opened with a scene from “Disclosure.” Whether labeled economic or environmental harassment, and regardless of which protected characteristic is attacked; it all dramatically shapes us, and it all becomes economic.

I can see genuine pain, empathy and determination in my face each time I’m forced to watch myself on the video screen, (and who likes to see themselves on the screen?) I’m proud to be in a generation who toughed those challenges and gave today’s harassed the ability to speak up and fight back. I’m even prouder to be on a team that has delivered 35 years’ action and positive outcomes by channeling extraordinary experience, know-how, passion, pragmatic understanding and empathy.  

9 months of masterful writing, screen play, casting, interview, actor scenes, editing, top-tier production, consistent community involvement and “all in” launch have produced something truly unique, and the hype continues to grow. At the earlier suggestions of our employer clients to produce an onboarding video that kicks off HRS’s 35 years’ equity in larger scale solutions, we took it to the next level. We captured current trends, updated definitions, crafted relatable actor scenarios, and we created magnetic catch-phrases to improve today’s workplaces. And, as always, we’ve safeguarded and leveraged our court-recognition as affirmative defense experts, delivering reasonable care to employers of all sizes and missions. 

More info, trailer, media coverage and purchase opportunities at:

Testimonials to the unique effectiveness of this solution at:

See why Amazon ranked this the "#1 New Release - Business Training" at launch: View/Buy at Amazon

Article by Jessica Ollenburg, HRS CEO | Sr. Practitioner. Celebrating 35 years as co-founder of HRS, Jess delivers balanced effective solutions at the intersection of employment law, organizational behavior, HR design, crisis management and the hard metrics of business productivity.

Jessica Ollenburg - Monday, May 28, 2018