5 Steps to Build Trust and Change the Culture in an Organization
Paul Juniper, Director, Queen's IRC, 2014
How do you change the culture in a workplace where workers don't trust the leaders, where employees are not engaged, and where people just don't care about doing their jobs? A few months ago, I was speaking to a group of senior leaders and the topic of changing culture and increasing employee engagement came up. The conversation started innocuously, with a comment like, "There's too many potholes in the road and you can't get people, whose job it is to fill potholes, to care."
"Why do you think that the workers don't care?" I asked. "How does management behave?" We had talked earlier about the importance of mission, vision, values and behaviours - and the one we didn't get to was behaviours. Every organization has a mission and a vision, and most of us have values like honesty and integrity. But often in the workplace, what you actually see demonstrated is dishonesty and lack of integrity. Is it any wonder why the employees are not engaged?
As our conversation continued, there was disbelief that it was possible to change a culture, particularly from one very senior person who works in the public sector. She was fascinated. She said, "Can you really change a culture?"
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Strategic Grievance Management in Today's Unionized Environment
Lori Aselstine, Director, Employee Relations and Strategic Human Resources Government of Ontario (retired), 2014
The word "strategic" gets thrown around pretty loosely these days - it's one of those business buzz words meant to instill confidence that we've thought this through and it's all under control: trust us, we've got a strategic plan!
But there's more to it than just calling something "strategic." The term "strategic" implies there is a thoughtful, organized strategy guiding your efforts; that a particular issue has been viewed in the broader context and your decision to proceed is based on the impacts that decision will have across the organization. More so than any other time in history, employers in today's unionized workplaces need to view their union-management relationships, and their dispute resolution efforts, through a holistic, strategic lens. We can no longer afford to deal with issues and complaints in isolation. As bargaining agents become more sophisticated in using dispute mechanisms to further their corporate agendas, so too must employers.
There are three key elements to being strategic about conflict management.
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The Head-Down Theory: How Unfairness Affects Employee Engagement
Blaine Donais, President and Founder, Workplace Fairness Institute, 2014
Modern HR practice suggests that the difference between successful and struggling companies can be found in employee engagement. Those companies who engage employees to actively participate in the success of an organization report greater productivity, morale, innovation and health. Most companies offer rewards as a way of promoting employee engagement. Yet very few have analyzed the reasons why employees are not engaged. Our research at the Workplace Fairness Institute has led to a conclusion about the real reasons for lack of employee engagement – it's all about fairness.
What is Workplace Fairness?
Drawing from the works of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, we define workplace fairness as "equity of concern and respect for each workplace participant regardless of his/her position in the organization." We define "equity of concern and respect" in the following manner:
- "Equity" does not mean "exactly the same"; rather that on balance individuals and groups will be accorded the same level of respect regardless of their position.
- "Concern" means that one person's views on a particular conflict should be given as much consideration as another's.
- "Respect" means that all individuals should be accorded the same level of dignity in the way decisions are made regardless of their position in the organization.
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