Bystander Intervention Training

Bystander Intervention Training

Bystander intervention training can play a vital role in preventing and addressing workplace misconduct.


Workplace misconduct, such as harassment, discrimination, and bullying, can cause significant harm to individuals and organizations. It can lead to a toxic work environment, negatively affect employee morale and productivity, and even result in legal consequences.


What is bystander intervention training?


Bystander intervention training is a process that provides employees with the skills and knowledge to safely and effectively intervene when they witness or suspect inappropriate behavior in the workplace. The training aims to empower employees to take action: speak up, seek help, or provide support to those who are experiencing harassment or discrimination.


Bystander Intervention doesn't happen without training.


Including bystander intervention training as part of a comprehensive compliance program is one of the most effective ways to prevent and stop workplace misconduct. It is a proactive approach that encourages a culture of respect, inclusion, and accountability. It helps organizations to create a safe and positive work environment where employees feel comfortable reporting misconduct and supporting each other.


Bystander training is one of the most effective ways to stop workplace misconduct with safe and positive actions therefore further mitigating the risks organizations face when harassment occurs. 


Understanding the bystander effect 

One of the primary reasons why bystander intervention training is so crucial is because of the bystander effect. The bystander effect refers to the phenomenon where individuals are less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when there are other people around (Darley and Latané). This is because individuals assume that someone else will take action, resulting in a diffusion of responsibility.


The bystander effect leads to inaction and can be detrimental in situations where immediate action is required.


Bystander intervention training helps to address the various factors that are responsible for the bystander effect. It teaches employees:

  • how to recognize and overcome barriers to intervention, such as fear of retaliation, social pressure, and ambiguity about the situation

  • practical skills, such as effective communication and de-escalation techniques, to intervene safely and confidently

  • to become upstanders with high ethical standards, deep compassion, and the courage to speak out against injustices

Factors affecting bystanders' decision to help


Several factors can influence a bystander's decision to help or not, including: 


Perception of the situation→ Bystanders may not intervene if they perceive the situation as not severe or if they believe that someone else has already taken action.

Fear of retaliation→ Bystanders may fear retaliation from the perpetrator, colleagues, or supervisors, which can prevent them from intervening.

Social pressure→ Bystanders may feel pressure to conform to group norms, such as not wanting to be seen as a troublemaker or not wanting to break rank.

Lack of knowledge or skills→ Bystanders may not know how to intervene effectively, which can lead to hesitation or inaction.

Bystander intervention training addresses these factors by providing employees with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to intervene safely and effectively.


However, it is not just about training employees to intervene. It is equally important to create an environment where reporting misconduct is encouraged and supported. This means having clear policies and procedures in place, training managers and supervisors to respond appropriately to reports of misconduct, and protecting employees from retaliation.


Need to meet the Bystander Training requirement?

We’ve got you covered! Perspectives Bystander Intervention Training course is compliant with Chicago’s 1-hour bystander training requirement. We can deliver this training to you fast, so you won’t miss the June 30, 2023, deadline.

If you’re outside of Chicago, this requirement will likely set a new standard for other cities seeking to improve their anti-harassment training and create a safer workplace environment. Act now!

Bystander intervention training is a critical component of any comprehensive compliance program as it supports a culture of responsibility, where employees understand the importance of taking action and supporting each other.


Jonathan Eisler, VP of Business Development & Organizational Consulting at