Have you ever been in a situation at work where you witnessed something uncomfortable but you didn’t say anything? Or have you seen leaders exhibit behaviors that are rude or offensive but you were unsure what to do about it? I’ve been there and it was highly uncomfortable. In fact, the situation still bothers me to this day. Here’s the CliffNotes version: Very early in my career, I watched a VP come on strong to a coworker, he befriended her and gave her some additional opportunities at work. Then he loaned her money and they started dating “in secret.” Eventually, he had a meltdown and abandoned her. Her career stalled and she ultimately quit. Guess what, everyone? Nobody ever got mad at that VP. Not a single person! Well, that’s not true. I started asking questions of her, but I didn’t know what to say.
On today’s show, I’m talking to Morgan Mercer, founder and CEO of Vantage Point. She is an expert in this field and I am hopeful we can all learn a thing or two from her. Vantage Point uses virtual reality (yes, you read that correctly) to immerse employees, leaders, and managers into scenarios just like the one I described. They then train and test the same individuals on how to respond to difficult situations at work, appropriately.
If you want to hear some of the best ways to handle sexual harassment at work and how virtual reality is paving the way to help us learn how to deal with these scenarios with compassion and empathy, then sit back and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- What standalone virtual reality is and how it can help with anti-sexual harassment training
- How virtual reality scenarios help people allocate all of their resources to solving an issue and how it helps people to translate feelings into information
- Why and how Vantage Point started with anti-sexual harassment training
- The idea that technology can teach you to be compassionate and can teach you empathy, but can it actually change behaviors and change attitudes through this type of training?
- Why sexual harassment training through virtual reality is important for employers, what they learn, and how they can set future training scenarios
- Morgan shares some stories of how Vantage Point’s technology has been shown to change behaviors, outcomes, or moved organizations forward
- Morgan shares her personal why, including why she is interested in fixing work from this perspective
Why Morgan does the work she does: “Women don’t speak out unless they speak up in unison. When you realize the level of inequality that so many people live with and face across the board, from economic background to various genders, their ethnicity to whatever it may be, it’s really impossible for me not to care. When I leave the world one day I want to look back and I want to feel like I made an impact.” Morgan Mercer, Founder and CEO, Vantage Point
Resources from this episode:
Can VR teach us how to deal with sexual harassment?
Can VR make us more empathetic?
How Virtual Reality Is Helping To Empower Women
One has to be careful reporting anything like this to HR. I once reported a VP of a small transportation industry company for horrendous sexually offensive comments said in my presence and the presence of several other men in an office setting within earshot of a woman employee.
I was terminated “for cause” shortly thereafter. Turns out they were making “relative value” judgments and he was “more valuable” to the company than I was…so to speak. I guess they thought no one would go after them for sexual harassment.
I filled a complaint with the EEOC about the sexual harassment and claimed wrongful termination. To no one’s surprise, the company went bankrupt with no warning about a year later, leaving customers and employees stranded all over the U.S. and UK . As one coworker put it, “That place was a real dog and pony show.” Since they went under, the perpetrator moved on and I’m sure kept up the harassment.
I keep an eye on him on LinkedIn to avoid ever doing business with a company he works for. Yeah, he was a real piece of work.