Empower bystanders to help us end sexual harassment in the ad industry

Empower bystanders to help us end sexual harassment in the ad industry

As the industry gears up for Cannes, it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and attuned to the wellbeing of our community.

As the excitement of Cannes looms on the horizon, we’re reminded of the magic that is about to unfold when creativity, innovation and collaboration come together. Cannes is a time to celebrate the incredible work the ad industry has poured its heart and soul into, and an opportunity to bask in the glow of artistic brilliance.

Yet, amid this celebratory atmosphere, it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and attuned to the wellbeing of our community. Sexual harassment remains an unfortunate reality within advertising and marketing, and it often occurs in plain sight. But, as leaders, we possess the power to intervene and create safer environments for all, including bystanders.

It is easy to get swept up in the holiday-like atmosphere and, when mingling with peers from all around the globe, it’s easy for employees to forget to remain just as cautious as they would back on home ground.

In the vibrant spirit of Cannes, let’s embrace our collective responsibility to nurture a culture of safety and support. Let’s cherish our community and uphold the ethos of looking out for one another, ensuring that every individual feels valued, respected and empowered amid the festivities.

As leaders, it falls on us to foster a culture of safety and support. TimeTo training empowers individuals to become allies in the fight against harassment, ensuring that every individual feels safe, respected and empowered. The training, delivered by Nabs experts, is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to step in effectively when witnessing inappropriate behaviour and provide support to those impacted.

What you can do

By implementing the following measures, leaders can create a supportive environment where bystanders feel empowered to speak up against sexual harassment and play a proactive role in promoting a culture of respect and safety in the workplace.

Provide training and resources: As leaders, you should ensure that bystanders have access to the correct training to educate them on how to effectively intervene in instances of sexual harassment. Providing these resources can empower bystanders to take action and support victims.

Encourage reporting: You should create an environment where bystanders feel comfortable reporting incidents of sexual harassment without fear of retaliation. This can be achieved by ensuring anonymity, providing multiple reporting channels and clearly communicating the company’s commitment to addressing such behaviour.

Offer emotional support: Bystanders may experience a range of emotions after witnessing sexual harassment, including shock, anger and distress. As leaders, you can offer emotional support and provide access to counselling services, facilitating peer support groups or simply lending a compassionate ear to listen to their concerns.

Follow up: After an incident has been reported, you should follow up with bystanders to acknowledge their courage in coming forward and to provide updates on the progress of the investigation or resolution process. This demonstrates that their concerns are being taken seriously and reinforces the company’s commitment to a safe and respectful workplace.

Addressing retaliation: Bystanders may fear retaliation for speaking out against sexual harassment. Reassure and proactively address any instances of retaliation and take steps to protect the individual’s confidentiality and wellbeing. This may involve implementing anti-retaliation policies, conducting regular check-ins and taking swift action against perpetrators of retaliation.

So as you and your team embark on this exhilarating journey at Cannes, let’s not only revel in the brilliance of our industry but also stand together in solidarity, ensuring that every individual feels safe, respected and empowered. Wishing you all an amazing experience at Cannes.

Katrina Urban is head of learning and development at Nabs

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