As more human resources departments deal with the fallout from #MeToo, video producers have seen huge interest for their sexual harassment videos.
Manhattan Beach, CA-based Traliant has realized 150% growth in its compliance training video business dating back to October when the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal broke, Bloomberg reports. The firm counts Hilton Hotels and the Momofuku restaurant chain among its clients and is on pace to take in $3 million in sales this year versus $1 million last year.
"We get literally dozens of inbound inquires a day," says Andrew Rawson, Traliant's co-founder. "What #MeToo has done is moved something that was important and made it urgent."
Requests for Lake Oswego, OR-based Navex Global's anti-harassment courses have zoomed up to an average of 20% per month since October, while McKinney, TX-based TrainUp saw search requests for its online anti-harassment courses climb to 2,150 in January. That is up from 267 requests from the same month last year.
"The growth has been explosive," says Jeremy Tillman, founder of TrainUp. Anti-harassment videos have been used by human resources departments for decades. In some states, including California, companies are required to provide this training if they have at least 50 employees.
But with #MeToo outing workplace harassment to a level never seen before, video production companies are more cognizant of offering content that resonates today. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) finds that 32% of it members have switched up their anti-harassment training content and format in the last 12 months.
"The #MeToo movement has really forced organizations to rethink what they're offering," says Bettina Deynes, chief human resources officer at SHRM.
Allen Noren, CEO of Kantola Training Solutions, notes that his and other firms have to create videos that match up against real-life examples that "are so lurid now." Navex Global's Ingrid Fredeen, a senior product manager at the firm's in-person training program, notes that "everything we write is pulled from something in the news."
"You have to give them contemporary examples," she adds. "Otherwise it's not meaningful."
A 2016 report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that anti-sexual harassment videos have been a long-time failure. "Much of the training done over the last 30 years has not worked as a prevention tool—it's been too focused on simply avoiding legal liability," the report notes.
But today's video producers can learn a lot from anti-sexual harassment videos from the 1990s, Elizabeth Tippett writes in The Conversation. She is an associate professor at the School of Law, University of Oregon.
"While these early harassment videos for the most part feel very dated, particularly in terms of the roles women tended to occupy, they actually offered a more complex depiction of sexual harassment than we see in current HR training sessions," Tippett writes. "Steeped in an environment of overt subordination, the older videos understood that sexual harassment, first and foremost, was an abuse of power that limited women's employment opportunities in the workplace. Newer training, not so much."
David Schwimmer, the actor who played Ross in "Friends," and Sigal Avin, a director and screenwriter, partnered to create a video series depicting different sexual harassment scenarios, The New York Times reports. Those videos were released on Facebook April last year and about six months before the Weinstein scandal broke.
"Look, men have a lot to learn, but you're not going to learn anything without dialogue," Schwimmer says. "Men commit the vast majority of rapes, sexual assault and sexual harassment, so men have a special responsibility to do something about it and get involved."