Ethena's Best Trainings of 2020
Top albums of the year. Best books. Most interesting… harassment prevention training? We know, it’s a stretch.
Our mission as a company is to reimagine corporate training for modern teams, starting with harassment prevention training that focuses on culture change and elevating the way we work together. While binge-watching might work for The Queen’s Gambit, the EEOC tells us it’s a bad model for harassment training. Instead, we deliver our content monthly which allows us to focus on timely, specific topics that impact workplaces as they exist now, not how they existed in 1996, or even 2019.
Of course, training only works if people actually pay attention. At Ethena, we customize content by industry and tone preferences to make sure our references actually land, and that only the people who like Dad jokes get Dad jokes. Beyond that, it comes down to setting our content standard not at the level of other trainings, but to compete with the internet at large. While we might not be able to compete with Netflix (but who can really?), we’re proud to have a 90% or above positive rating on every piece of training we’ve produced this year.
We pulled our metrics and picked our top five topics to look at what worked and why — we’ll leave the “best album” argument for Slack (our CEO’s vote: Taylor Swift. Change her mind in the comments).
Rules and Regulations 2
The intro gif for Rules and Regulations 2, or What we’re trying to avoid on the journey toward a more inclusive workplace
I know, Rules and Regulations 2 sounds less than inspiring. But, it’s the law that we provide training on the law, so we make it as engaging as possible. In fact, our users marked this training as the second most engaging piece of content on our platform.
The training contextualizes the laws around harassment and reporting by showing how those legal guidelines support a culture of preventing harassment, which is proven to be a leading indicator in assessing the prevalence of it. Ethena believes in culture change, not just compliance, and where laws do exist, we ground them in real-world scenarios that show their role in the broader workplace. The Oregon trail extended metaphor probably won us a few millennial votes, too, and we aren’t mad about it.
Google “who is a good boy.”
If you have ever gone online, then you know that the Internet is also prime territory for harassment. Like a bridge, it can get you where you need to go, but it’s also where the trolls live. As the lines between home and work blur, the risk of keyboard courage-fueled displays of bad judgement escalates. And, harassment is still harassment, no matter where it happens. So, as a response to the world shifting to work-from-home this spring, we created training specifically around online harassment and how to work within new work from home norms. We also added content specifically about managing remote teams to give managers actionable strategies on how to be more inclusive while managing a distributed team.
The trainings were so well-received — and going back to the office, a distant dream — that we added them to our core curriculum, so all learners are prepared to handle harassment and be proactive in creating inclusive workplaces, whether they’re on Slack or at happy hour (corner booth, we miss you!).
We feel you, R2D2.
We don’t need to belabor the point that 2020 has been rough. And, even when the world isn’t constantly on fire, it’s important to know what your rights are in the workplace around mental health, and how to support your colleagues who are going through a tough time, whether that means mental illness, a personal crisis, or just a rough patch. As the lines between work and home become even fuzzier and we see mental health rates decline, we can’t avoid talking about mental illness in the workplace anymore. Our mental health training includes an ADA explainer, information around disclosure and privacy, and how to talk about mental health in the workplace in a destigmatizing way.
As always, we err on the side of proactivity over reactivity, giving key takeaways that address common pitfalls and areas of confusion around mental health. We operate from the position that most people want to do the right thing. We provide a common vocabulary so they can align their intentions with their impact.
When you overhear an inappropriate comment from your desk
Bad news: harassment training is not proven to prevent harassment. In some cases, it actually might make it worse (don’t worry; we’re working on it!). It makes sense! Harassment training can feel like math class. Making the jump from theoretical concepts to real life action can feel impossible. Sure, you can teach me polynomials, but is that going to help me do my taxes? But, there is one tool that has been proven effective in preventing harassment: bystander intervention.
This training leverages audio to talk about why bystander intervention is effective and, more importantly, how to actually do it. We focused on the different levels of immediacy and involvement that can be effective and provided some tactical language to use, so everyone is empowered to intervene as a bystander.
Pregnancy and Parenthood
Kids, or junior coworkers?
This training in particular shows the importance of being “beyond legal” colleagues. There are still some truly shocking instances of pregnancy discrimination that we address while explaining in-depth the legal protections of pregnant people. Those legal protections, however, are not enough to support parents, especially those who give birth. In order to fix a structural problem, we first have to acknowledge it, even if, as in this case, training isn’t legally mandated. We break down the biases at play in how we talk about parental leave and perception of contribution to workplaces among genders, and how to address those biases.
Frankly, this training is kind of a bummer. Women have been leaving the workforce in record numbers this year, largely as a result of the caregiver burden which still statistically falls largely on women. We think this training resonated because we didn’t hedge on that. While this inequality will be more readily addressed through systemic change, we showed the work that could be done by individuals to make a difference in supporting our colleagues, and how to ensure that pregnant people receive the protections they are entitled to under the law.
2020 brought us unexpected challenges and opportunities for growth. But with a new year comes exciting new things and it’s the same for us! We’re growing our team of content creators which already includes award-winning playwrights, poets, and journalists to also include graphic artists, podcast experts, and more. And, we’re excited to bring all we’ve learned at Ethena to workplaces across the world with our Ethena for Global Teams launch in January. Here’s to a happy new year and healthy workplaces!