By Phyllis Zimbler Miller
The song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical SOUTH PACIFIC describes how people are taught to discriminate against those who are different. The flip side is equally true – people need to be taught what is discrimination as well as how not to discriminate.
And that’s where the power of digital signage to display relevant content on a programmable rotation schedule can be very important in today’s climate of continuing sexual harassment along with racial and religious discrimination.
Let’s face it. How many of us when we are first employed at a company sign statements acknowledging we understand that sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination are against company policy? Even if we remember signing that policy, do we truly understand what constitutes both sexual-harassment and non-sexual-harassment discrimination?
Here’s just one example of non-sexual harassment from a list compiled by TheBalance.com: “Making remarks about an individual’s skin color or other ethnic traits.” While this example might not immediately come to mind, the information that this does indeed constitute harassment is important to convey.
Some of you reading this article will be shaking your heads and saying to yourself, “We don’t just have our new employees sign a policy statement. We have discrimination training once a year for all employees.”
Assuming that everyone in your company (including the CO) attends the training, pays attention instead of checking texts and emails and understands the subtleties sometimes existing between appropriate or non-appropriate behavior and language – again, how many of us remember everything from one training day to the next one 12 months later?
Now let’s consider how effective use of internal communications digital signage can help create a non-hostile workplace by clarifying appropriate behavior and language:
To begin with, programming digital signage discrimination information on a regular basis can keep these important topics top of mind. When information is provided on a regular basis, this information may tend to better “stick” with us.
Yet the true power of digital signage is its ability to utilize storytelling, one of the most influential mechanisms for human memory retention and for showing by example.
Years ago in New York City a Spanish-language public health campaign for condom use ran in subway trains. Instead of posters announcing the importance of condom use to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, a comic strip approach was used. The actions and consequences of the comic strip characters told the “story” in a very impactful ongoing campaign.
Today we have digital signage software with numerous options including video for conveying important information. Imagine utilizing this power of storytelling to provide specific examples of sexual harassment and other discrimination behavior and language (only PG-rated of course). In this way, confusion over what does and does not constitute harassment is not left to interpretation but has been clearly stated.
In fact, why not sponsor company-wide contests (with awards) for the best ideas for digital signage content on these topics? Even the mention of the upcoming contests serves to remind employees that your company takes these issues seriously.
While there are many valuable uses of digital signage, utilizing it for reinforcing company policies can be very beneficial, especially if keeping this information top of mind spares a company from negative publicity and harassment lawsuits.
A WWII print poster stated “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” Consider what great slogans and examples you can create for your digital signage harassment information campaign.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the content marketing strategist at digital signage software company Enplug.com in Los Angeles. She has an MBA from The Wharton School and is particularly interested in UX.