Do you want real protection against workplace risk?

Do you want real protection against workplace risk?

Blogs and Stories

Do you want real protection against workplace risk?

Author: Peter Maguire
Published on: June 1, 2021

I recently read an article published on the ABC about what organisations need to do to address one of the main issues in the spotlight at the moment – sexual harassment.

Here is the article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-01/preventing-sexual-harassment-workplace-reform/13187766

It features a couple of academics advocating a “systemic and proactive approach” and it points to guidance material released by Safe Work Australia – “Preventing Workplace Sexual Harassment, National Guidance Material, January 2021”.

Unsurprisingly, that, in the main, takes the form of the normal and established risk management approach of:

  • Legislative obligations and penalties
  • Hierarchical workplace responsibility chains
  • Risk assessment and control measures
  • Policies and procedures
  • Complaint/non-compliance reporting and investigation
  • Consequences for non-compliance

One of the interesting things about this article is the premise that organisations are now being required to address sexual harassment as a Workplace Health and Safety matter as if this is something new – is it really?

We have had a duty to provide a safe workplace and safe systems of work for a long time, haven’t we? Personally, I can recall dealing with cases of psychological and emotional risk to people in workplaces as far back as the 1980s.

Even leaving aside the unfortunate facts of sexual harassment in itself, surely we have all known for a long time that it also adds substantial risks to the mental and emotional health and, in some cases, physical health of the victims?

Do you know what the biggest problem that we have in addressing what we really need to do to change attitudes and behaviours in our workplaces is? It is the belief that we can solve this with the traditional “systemic and proactive approach” which is really one of WHS risk management as embodied in Safe Work Australia’s guidance materials ie do a risk assessment, identify control measures, create a policy, communicate it to people, require compliance and punish non-compliance.

That might help to suppress the more obvious and overt sexual harassment for fear of punishment, but it won’t change the underlying attitudes and (anti)social norms that drive the unwanted behaviours in the first place.

What is needed is a new human-centred approach that treats all people as human beings rather than just human resources.

We need to apply a positive mindset and focus on using strengths to foster the right behaviours rather than just having a deficit mindset about fixing what is wrong.

We need to change language in organisations and ensure that we call out and correct inappropriate language at all levels and in all contexts with everyone feeling both empowered to do that and psychologically safe to make the call.

We need to be real about managing the human risks ie the people who we know are most at risk of doing the wrong thing and educating and coaching them to do the right thing as a matter of habit.

We need to develop real character in our businesses where values are reflected in everyday behaviour and people believe them, practise them and trust in their wellbeing at work.

We need to have systems which recognise and reward the right behaviours not just sanction the wrong behaviours.

We need to do all of this in an engaging way ie one which is inviting, educational, culture enriching and accessible in a modern way.

This is where ShareTree comes in. It is a revolutionary platform for bringing about cultural change through a combination of positive mindset, character strengths, gratitude and modern technology. It supports every one of the needs identified above.

Check it out at https://sharetree.org or give me a call to have a chat about it on 0438 533 311.

CONTACT US

PosWork

A Division of Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

info@poswork.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

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You can’t outsource TRUST!

You can’t outsource TRUST!

Blogs and Stories

You can’t outsource trust!

Author: Peter Maguire
Published On: February 25, 2021

The recent report on the National Workplace Wellbeing Survey 2020 by The Wellbeing Lab in conjunction with the Australian Human Resources Institute asked a couple of questions that we want to explore. The first was : “Do your workers feel psychologically safe enough to talk honestly with each other about their wellbeing?” So what does “psychologically safe” mean? According to Wikipedia: “Psychological safety is being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career (Kahn 1990, p. 708).[1] It is “a condition in which you feel (1) included, (2) safe to learn, (3) safe to contribute, and (4) safe to challenge the status quo- all without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way.”(Timothy R Clark, 2019)[2] It can also be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.[3] In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected. It is also the most studied enabling condition in group dynamics and team learning research.” Given that definition, it should come as no surprise that, according to the survey results:

  • People who are prepared to talk about their wellbeing challenges first go to someone they trust who is most commonly a friend or family member outside work (ie the people they have the closest relationships with).
  • For those who would raise it with someone at work, it is most commonly a team member or their manager (ie the people they have the closest relationships with at work).
  • Conversely, outsourced support (EAP Programs) and institutional support (HR Departments) are the least likely places that people will go for wellbeing support (each of those was reported as the place people would go to in less than 3.5%  of respondents).

This just reinforces the fact that a key ingredient of psychological safety is trust and you can’t outsource that. When you think of it in those terms, it is easy to understand why the results are what they are. People are most likely to speak with people whom they know and trust. Perhaps that is also why so few people would go to HR or EAP – because they don’t know them well enough to trust them? That leads us to their second question: Do your workers feel psychologically safe enough to talk honestly with each other about their wellbeing?” The challenge for any organisation is to do two things:

  1. Enable a psychologically safe work culture and environment where people will open up about any challenges that they are having with confidence and feeling supported and
  2. Equip and empower line managers and people generally to provide caring and practical wellbeing support to individuals, with teams and across the organisation as a whole.

For larger organisations, the repositioning of HR Departments to be focused on building strong, trusted and valued relationships with people across the organisation should be a priority. For smaller businesses, look for an external HR consultant who brings that wellbeing capability and the trust factor along with the rest of the HR toolkit that you might need for process and compliance. All of this is consistent with another piece of advice from the report: “Caring for workers’ wellbeing requires diverse and sustained support at the levels of ‘me’ (workers), ‘we’ (teams) and ‘us’ (whole workplace) to create a thriving workplace environment.” Of course, all organisations need external specialist supports and networks that can assist in helping employees with their support needs in relation to wellbeing. Having access to professional and community supports with medical and allied services, counselling and psychological support services at a practical level for the organisation and its people is important. Our Better Workplace Projects and our EngageMentality Coaching Programs both have employee voice and trust/integrity as central pillars of the employment relationship.

If you would like to explore how we can assist in building a psychologically safe culture based on trust and wellbeing, please do not hesitate to contact us.

CONTACT US

PosWork

A Division of Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

info@poswork.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

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Using strength for positive change

Using strength for positive change

Blogs and Stories

Using strengths for positive change

Author: Peter Maguire
Published On: February 25, 2021

Do you ever ask the question “Why is that person so good at that when I really struggle with it?” Or maybe it is “Why does that person struggle with something that I find to be easy and fun?”

Every day in our jobs or otherwise in our lives, there are things that each of us enjoys doing and things that we don’t ….. and they are different for each of us. Or maybe it is that, while we might do the same tasks, we might go about them in different ways and some of us get more fulfilment from completing those tasks than others.

Why is that?

It isn’t just about the education, training and experience or the natural physical, social or intellectual capabilities that each of us has, albeit that they are important for each of us.

In the early 2000s, scientists started exploring what it is that helps people to be at their best. 50 scientists led by luminaries Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman looked across countries and cultures and thousands of people for those qualities that are universally considered to be the strongest parts of being human (Refer: “The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality” by Ryan M. Niemiec & Robert E. McGrath). From that research, the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues was created.

Character strengths are basic elements of our identity and each of us is stronger in some strengths than others. It is when we are able to use the signature strengths that we are likely to be at our best in performance, in relationships and in personal wellbeing and happiness. Similarly, when we have to deploy our lesser strengths to perform a particular task, we can find that a struggle because it doesn’t come naturally to us and we have to work harder at it.

The VIA Classification comprises 24 character strengths grouped under 6 virtues as depicted in the graphic below.

You can undertake a free survey to identify your character strengths profile at https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register.

Why might you want to do that?

I’ll tell you what doing this survey and understanding my character strengths profile has done for me:

  • I have a much clearer sense of my own personal identity and how I can be at my best
  • I now know why it is that I struggle with some tasks and I can manage that better
  • I have improved my wellbeing by doing stuff that fits with my signature strengths every day
  • I have also been more mindful of and compassionate to myself when I have had to exercise my lesser strengths (and rewarded myself for getting through the struggle)
  • I better understand how I can make my best contributions for others – essentially by being who I am and leveraging my signature strengths for their benefit
  • I am happier and more resilient

Additionally, understanding the character strengths of others (clients, friends, colleagues, family) has helped me to better understand how I can best support them with my character strengths and draw on their character strengths in a positive way for themselves and others including me.

That is why the practice of character strengths is such an essential element of positive psychology and a key ingredient in the consulting work that we do today.

If you haven’t done the VIA Character Strengths Survey, give it a go – there is only upside. Here is the link again https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register

CONTACT US

PosWork

A Division of Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

info@poswork.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

LET'S HAVE A CHAT

Getting with the strengths

Getting with the strengths

Blogs and Stories

Getting with the strengths

Author: Peter Maguire
Published on: February 25, 2021

At Ridgeline HR, VIA Character Strengths are now an essential part of our toolkit in our organisational development, workplace wellbeing and coaching programs.

We are also using this terrific framework as part of our own teambuilding and business development activity.

The value in this character strengths approach is multi-faceted.

It helps us to understand ourselves, why we flourish in some activities and struggle in others and that helps us to better manage our own performance and wellbeing.

It helps us to understand the same things about our teammates and how we can optimise our relationships by using our respective strengths and supporting each other in areas where we might not be so strong individually. That makes us a more effective, more balanced and happier team.

You can learn more about VIA Character Strengths at the VIA Institute on Character – see https://www.viacharacter.org. Take the free character strengths survey to get started.

Our Practice Leader Peter Maguire, who is also on the Executive Committee of Communities of Wellbeing, has recently been making daily posts on the CoW facebook page exploring each of the 24 VIA Character Strengths in the lead up to Christmas. It is a Character Strengths Advent Calendar.

Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/communitiesofwellbeing.

Interested in developing your character strengths? – find out how we can help you develop a strengths-based approach to enhance performance and wellbeing – for yourself, your team or your business.

 

CONTACT US

PosWork

A Division of Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

info@poswork.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

LET'S HAVE A CHAT

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