Not even the upsets and unpredictability of one of college basketball fans’ favorite weekends would have revealed much of the old-school “Box & 1 Defense.” But, it may be time to resurrect the Box & 1 defensive strategy as an effective program against harassment. The “Box-and-1” in basketball is a hybrid defense: four defenders represent the corners of a box as the core of the defense. Then, the “one” is the best defender doggedly guarding the opponent’s biggest scoring threat. Applying the Box-and-1 to the workplace involves developing a foundation that covers the underlying, day-to-day issues. In other words, the “Box” includes the following:
- Culture: Build a culture of respect, starting at the top, where employees are valued and productive, and diversity and inclusion are embraced. Science proves the success of diverse organizations.
- Policies and Procedures: Emphasize a higher standard of conduct and enforce it. Bullying, insults, and unprofessional conduct are discouraged. Colleagues speak up for each other. And there is a trusted system for reporting bad behavior.
- Investigations: Employees who complain often complain again about how investigations are conducted-- the embarrassment, the backlash, the gossip. Effective investigations are handled with the dignity of the accused and the accuser in mind.
- Training: Focusing on “compliance” instead of “understanding” has derailed effective training. The most effective training helps explain the nuance and complications of workplace behavior, is interactive, and reinforces the three other corners of the box.