Breaking Bad News about Organizational Change
Kate Sikerbol, Queen’s IRC Facilitator, 2016
Getting the news out about an upcoming restructuring, merger or acquisition, layoff, or other major organizational change can be a challenge. No one wants to experience having their name ‘pop up’ in a new organization chart that is widely distributed online before receiving any direct personal communication from their boss. Imagine if you showed up at the office and discovered that the reason why you cannot access your email is not because of a glitch with the IT department but because you have been dismissed, and no one had the courage to tell you. Organizations and managers have a responsibility to share such news in direct and supportive ways that enable employees to understand what is changing and how they will be affected.
Why is it so hard to deliver bad news to others? Perhaps you like to be the ‘nice guy’ and find it difficult to say no, or disappoint others. You may fear that you will become the target of anger and retaliation. Being the bearer of bad news can be emotionally upsetting, challenge our self-image, and disrupt relationships. Sometimes we face situations where our own beliefs and feelings, values and principles are in conflict. Caught in the middle, we might feel a bit ambivalent, or defensive, about the decisions made by the executive team, and yet we are the ones asked to deliver the message to employees.
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5 Insights into Conducting Effective Fact-Finding Investigations
An Interview with Jerry Christensen
Cathy Sheldrick, Queen's IRC Marketing Assistant, 2016
Fact-finding is an essential skill set for anybody who is in an HR, labour relations or employee relations role. If you stay in this role, at some point you will end up doing investigations, and having this skill set is going to make you much more efficient as a practitioner.
Jerry Christensen, who recently retired from the City of Calgary, managed and coordinated the City’s respectful workplace program and dealt with all of their human rights issues. With previous experience working in the criminal justice system and with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Jerry has worked in several regulatory environments where someone had to be held accountable. In this interview, Jerry shares his thoughts about the value of fact-finding and investigation training for HR and LR practitioners, as well as the five most important things he’s learned about conducting effective fact-finding investigations.
“If you've not done any workplace investigations, never had any training to do so, and then find yourself being thrust into that role, it can be very intimidating. The word ‘investigation’ is going to be flashing in front of your face in letters that are 10 feet high and blazing red. You may find yourself feeling anxious and nervous about your role in this process.” Jerry points out that this is why it’s important to have training in fact-finding. “Usually, when people are intimidated about the process, they're going to stumble through it and they may not do it very well.”
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Creating a Mentoring Culture for Organizational Success:
A Guideline for Successful Mentoring Programs
Alice Kubicek, Managing Director, akpsGlobal, 2015
Mentoring is a management practice that can assist organizations in building a desired corporate culture, while enabling the careers of those who are already motivated to pursue one. It is an efficient and effective method of shortening the learning curve of new executives and providing more knowledgeable employees with broader perspectives. New executives with a mentor have a sounding board, as well as the benefit of their mentor’s experience as they navigate through situations that may be unfamiliar to them. Based upon a foundation of trust, the relationship of mentees with experienced executives can offer a safe place to try out ideas, skills, and roles with minimal risk, while focusing on their individual development needs.
In this article, I will discuss the impact a mentoring culture can make in an organization, how mentoring differs from coaching, the value of a structured approach to mentoring and the steps to set up a mentoring program.
Mentoring is defined as a professional and confidential relationship between two individuals that assists one of them in developing “business strategies” and acquiring new “technical” knowledge and skills. One mentee concluded, after a year-long mentoring relationship in a structured program I designed for a large public sector organization,(1) that: “It is an evolutionary process, where mentors become a resource for someone enabling an exchange of ideas and experiences. Avoid matching of those who have known each other a long time... the forging of the relationship is a valuable part of the process.”
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