In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the number of women and men reporting workplace harassment to their HR departments has risen starkly.

In response, organizations are in a unique position to support employees throughout the hiring, on-boarding and retention phases. On the other hand, those companies that choose to ignore the issue will struggle in this evolving business landscape where competition for new talent is fierce.

Companies that choose to ignore the issue will struggle in this evolving business landscape where competition for new talent is fierce

Millennial talent have recognized just how widespread these behaviors are in today’s workplace. They want to know that organizations will be proactive about employee safety and will care about them as human beings.

According to Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at Hubspot, “The right question isn’t how companies are reacting to #MeToo, but rather how your team is working daily to recruit, retain, grow, support, and empower women in the work environment.”

How can I help my HR department manage #MeToo?

According to Maia Josebachvili, VP of Marketing and Strategy at at large software firm, there is “no silver bullet” or quick fix, but rather an “arsenal of tools” companies can employ to create change.

Her company is addressing #MeToo head on. Here’s how:

  • Hire Right: Josebachvili employs the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” developed in an attempt to diversify head coaches, in her hiring process. This requires that managers consider a certain number of minority candidates for open positions. This simple shift created huge ripples: her executive team is now 40% female, up from 25% just one year ago. Bonus: they are performing at peak levels.
  • Keep an Open Mind: Stop looking for a “type of person” in your hiring process. Instead, identify a desired skill set or personality type, and remove any preconceived notions about what the ideal candidate might look like. Rather than focusing on a candidate’s “culture fit,” look instead at his/her potential “culture add.” If your workforce lacks diversity, this framework shift can buffer against unconscious biases, which may cause you to seek more of the same.
  • Get Technical: Several technology platforms have attempted to solve for diversity and inclusion shortcomings. For example, Joonko’s AI solution analyzes employee performance based on multiple factors. The system alerts managers to “offer opportunities to someone who may be overlooked due to unconscious bias.” Products like this correct for gaps before they turn into more blaring discriminatory issues.
  • Clear it Up: Some companies have chosen to share data on their staff’s makeup to demonstrate their inclusion efforts. This behavior holds companies accountable to stakeholders, consumers and the general public. Since Hubspot began sharing internal data last year, the rate of women in vice president roles has risen 26%. Today, 45% of managers and executives at the company are female, much higher than the national average.
  • Take it to the Top: While HR can work tirelessly at boosting diversity, “culture doesn’t live in HR.” It’s important that the solutions developed in HR are accepted and implemented at the highest executive level. Executives should offer a plan for managing workplace harassment, but also “a plan to re-communicate that commitment to the entire company.”