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By: Matt Ingold

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October 23rd, 2018

Four Employer Options for NYS Sexual Harassment Training

NYS Sexual Harassment Training

If you are a New York State employer looking for options for completing your mandatory annual sexual harassment training, and seeking a solution for the first time, getting started could be an overwhelming task.

What are my options? How much will it cost? How much time will it take? What do I have to do to comply?

In this short article, we'll provide a quick run-through of your options with cost considerations and pro-con evaluation for completing NYS sexual harassment training. From there, pick the one that suits your workforce best and get training!

Option 1: Do the training yourself

The NYS Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights has built model training programs available online that employers can use for free. You can get a training script, a PowerPoint presentation, and eventually the DOL will provide these resources in multiple languages to include: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Bengali, Russian, Italian, Polish and Haitian-Creole.

Cost: Free, minus your own time

Pros: You can't beat the price—it's free. If you have a small workforce with little to no turnover, someone to deliver the training, and you can train everyone as a group in one or two sessions, then this could be a viable option for you.

Cons: While the resources are at your disposal, the work is all on you. Should you hire someone new, you'll be delivering the training one-on-one in order to stay compliant with the mandate to train new employees "as quickly as possible." If you have a large population or high turnover, and don't have the staff to dedicate to the training, this can be a tedious task.

Option 2: Bring in an onsite trainer

You can also contract with a lawyer or HR consultant to come onsite and deliver your training. 

Cost: $$$-$$$$

Pros: Seasoned trainers are rich with anecdotes and have a way of making the training sticky and memorable. They are also a turnkey option—you schedule them, they show up, take attendance, deliver the training, and you're set. Also, sexual harassment can be a legal minefield, and it's often good to have a legal professional delivering your training.

Cons: With an onsite trainer, you're going to pay the shot. Also, while it's nice to have a lawyer deliver your training, it's not necessary—remember, the DOL has developed the minimum training requirements and model training so that employers can deliver the training themselves.

With regards to pricing, cost is either a flat hourly rate or a fee-per-seat, and depending on your group size, the length of each session, and the number of sessions you need, this can get pricey quick. That means minimizing sessions by maximizing attendance in each training, which can erode the effectiveness of the training (too many people in a room at once) and completely halt daily operations and workforce productivity.

Plus, if you have new hires each month, you're going to need to regularly bring in your trainer to complete new-hire training. More training means more cost, so if you have ongoing training needs this isn't a very scalable option.

Option 3: Use a Learning Management System (LMS) 

An LMS is an online employee self-paced learning software that allows you to build training tracks for employees to complete online and on-demand. Sexual harassment training through an LMS will typically provide some video-based scenarios, solicit participation through quizzing, and cover all required topics with a virtual trainer.

Cost: $$-$$$$

Pros: You can find some really slick online training programs out there that have made a big investment in keeping participants attentive. This usually translates into a positive overall experience for participants, who by and large are otherwise disinterested in the topic of annual sexual harassment training. If training is better, then there is a lower likelihood of incurring an expense sexual harassment suit.

Furthermore, the digital training experience can be a cultural fit for a business aiming to be on the cutting edge of technology trends, or who perhaps has a large Millennial population.

The LMS also gives administrators clear insights into when training is completed, and who has completed, partially completed, or not started the training. Training records must be maintained for seven years, so an LMS can maintain an audit worthy training record for compliance purposes too.

Cons: High-production quality for training does not always improve the qualitative impact on training effectiveness, but it arguably raises your compliance cost. Computer accessibility might also be a limitation, as a lot of these programs are only available via desktop computer. Also, you might find slow adoption or flat-out rejection to the program from different generations or amongst employees that are technology averse.

Option 4: Live or On-Demand Webinars

NYS sexual harassment training via webinar gives employers a live or simulated live virtual instructor option for completing online training.

Cost: $-$$

Pros: Training webinars can train a lot of people at once while still soliciting individual participation. With new features like interactive polling questions, surveys, and Q&A webinars led by a live or simulated-live instructor can be a cost-effective means of delivering an interactive training experience to employees.

When training is on-demand and simulated-live, employees can pick the training times that work best for their work schedule, or administrators have greater flexibility in getting employees trained in multiple group training blocks, sometimes without incurring an additional cost. Training can be performed individually, or conducted in a group with a proctor.

Webinars are relatively low-cost to produce, meaning they can be more affordably priced than other LMS web-based training. For record retention, applications like GoToWebinar capture insights on employee participation, engagement level, provide handouts, and offer a free mobile app so attendees aren't restricted to a desktop computer and can participate from their smart phone or tablet. 

Cons: Live webinars have set start and stop times, so if the set times don't fit for you, you're out of luck. Simulated-live webinars, which are recorded webinars that have the same look, feel, and participatory elements of a live webinar, can be offered on-demand, which mitigates this scheduling issue. That being said, you lose the real-time Q&A that can be facilitated only through a live trainer.

Both LMS and simulated-live webinar offerings often come with an additional portal through which participants can submit questions and get feedback within one to two business days from a trainer, which is perfectly permissible by the law. Furthermore, though webinars are arguably simpler for the technology-averse to navigate than an LMS, some people will always balk at a web-based training option.

What NYS sexual harassment training option is best for you?

After reading this you probably find yourself instinctively gravitating toward one or a combination of these four options. Important considerations include:

  • how often you see yourself needing to conduct training
  • tech-savviness of your population
  • staff access to computers or mobile devices
  • competency of current staff to deliver training
  • and finally, budget

If you see webinars (option 4) as a possible delivery option for you annual training needs, I invite you to learn more about Benetech's NYS Sexual Harassment Training Webinars. We allow you to experience a free trial of the training before committing, and have built this to be the most affordable option on the market. 

If you are leaning toward an LMS (option 3), we can help there as well. Contact Jason Barnes for more information and a demo of Benetech's NYS Sexual Harassment Training via LMS.

Learn More About Benetech's Training Webinars 


About Matt Ingold

Matt serves as Benetech's Director of Business Development. He helps employers reduce the cost of personnel management, and discover where improved talent management can give their business a competitive advantage.

  • Connect with Matt Ingold
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