Harassment Potential Indicator

Harassment Potential Indicator

Note: This is part of our harassment potential indicator assessment instrument. We consult with our clients to modify the instrument to suit their context.


Thank you for agreeing to participate in this assessment. This confidential questionnaire is designed to help you tell us what you think about a number of issues that are related to harassment and unfair treatment in the workplace. Please look it over, ask any questions you might have, and work through the questionnaire on the following pages.

You can keep a copy of your answer sheet - the other copy comes to our office. Your management will not see your answer sheet, nor will any manager or supervisor be able to link responses to any employee. We'll analyze the data we receive and prepare a summary report to help your organization plan the next steps of its workplace improvement program.

Harassment: Inappropriate Behavior/Abuse of Influence

We use a general definition of harassment that is broader than most legal or human rights frameworks. This questionnaire assesses an organization's ability to manage employee behavior and to provide legitimate avenues for the use of supervisory influence and other forms of power in the workplace. This includes appropriate patterns of gender and race relations. While there is a range of what may be considered "appropriate" there are limits beyond which behaviors are inappropriate or unwelcome. Organizations must develop the principles, systems and skills to manage employee behavior and their use of influence: if this is not done properly there is a relatively high potential for harassment complaints.

Harassment Related Factors

The questionnaire gathers employee perceptions of the following harassment-related factors:

1. Legislation and policies
2. Training and skill development
3. Supervision and leadership
4. Response mechanisms
5. Workplace climate
6. Diversity management
7. Staff development and promotions
8. Teams and work groups
9. Role clarity
10. Ambiguity and change management
11. People-centered management
12. Performance management systems

These factors are briefly described in the following pages.

Description of Harassment Related Factors


Legislation & Policies The
organization has clearly defined harassment policies and procedures,
employees know where to find this information and it make sense to
them. Employees know there are laws to prevent abuse, and leaders and
employees demonstrate commitment to implementing the organization’s
harassment principles and procedures.


Training and Skill Development Newly
hired, promoted or transferred employees are provided with timely,
relevant and effective orientation training. Interpersonal relations
and harassment training is seen as effective, and staff know how to
identify and respond to harassment they observe or to which they are


Supervision and Leadership Leaders
and supervisors demonstrate a commitment to eliminating harassment in
the workplace – they’re seen as "walking the talk" much of the time.
Employees feel their supervisors know and respect them, and they have
confidence in their leaders. Managers and supervisors take time for
their own human relations training, and these supervision skills are
evident to the people with whom they work.


Response Mechanisms The
organization has established a timely, effective and fair harassment
complaint and investigation process, and employees know and have
confidence in the staff to whom they should turn when they want to
discuss harassment concerns in confidence. Interpersonal problems are
addressed quickly before they escalate out of proportion. Staff feel
would be fairly treated if they were unjustly accused of harassment.


Workplace Climate The
workplace is characterized by a climate in which employees feel it is
safe to be honest and people trust each other. Staff feel as if they
are treated as competent and respected human beings, and their
supervisors and leaders have their best interests at heart. People get
along with each other, and there are few cliques in the workplace.


Diversity Management Staff
feel that they and other employees are treated fairly and equitably,
and all employees have access to opportunities to progress. The
organization values a variety of personalities and mindsets, there is
diversity in the workforce, and there is no tolerance for sexist or
racist comments and jokes.


Staff Development and Promotions Staff
know how to progress in the organization, and they receive clear and
logical reasons from supervisors when they are not successful in
seeking promotions. They have ready access to training and support, the
promotion system is seen as fair and open, and staff are encouraged to
take advantage of all available opportunities for growth.


Teams and Work Groups The
organization has developed lively and effective work groups, members
can contribute to their teams, and staff are encouraged to work with
members of other teams to get the job done. New members are welcomed
into their teams and helped to become productive, employees go out of
their way to help each other, and the workplace sometimes resembles a
warm and caring family.


Role Clarity Employees
know what’s expected of them, they know how their work relates to that
of people around them, and sense that other parts of the organization
understand what they do. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined
and understood throughout the workplace, and staff can change these
roles as required to get the work done.


Ambiguity and Change Management The
organization is flexible and can adapt to change, and employees are
encouraged to ask questions in times of uncertainty. Supervisors are
open to new ways of doing things, employees feel free to make
suggestions for improvement, and the organization welcomes and responds
appropriately to input.


People-Centered Management The
organization demonstrates it values its employees: supervisors make
time to talk with subordinates about their work, and when required they
go out of their way to find a more suitable "match" between workers and
the needs of the organization. Work procedures are adjusted where
appropriate to suit the needs and capacities of employees, and
supervisors know how to deal effectively and fairly with staff who have
difficulty with their work.


Performance Management Systems Employees
have clear and relevant job descriptions and are aware of what is
expected of them. They collaborate with their supervisors to define the
desired results of their work, it's easy to discuss performance with
supervisors, and they’re well rewarded and recognized for a job well
done. Each employee’s workplan is clearly linked to their section’s
plan and to the organization’s overall mission.