Driving cultural change to end unwanted behaviour in the workplace
How to behave at work is not a compliance issue but a culture issue. Making sure employees will join that once-a-year training course or follow that one-time program on bullying and harassment, is not enough to address the systemic deficiencies that allow this type of behaviour to go on. Unequal power dynamics and corporate structures, coupled with the inability to effectively help employees understand how they can stop the cycle make the conditions for a hostile work environment.
Culture of inclusion in the workplace
Getting in front of the problem in the trust sense requires raising accountability and an awareness of inclusion and respect in the workplace, a common and shared sense of moral. This full-scale culture change is not something that can be taught in one or two hours. It comes to "live" and evolves when experiences and expectations are actively and frequently shared. Nevertheless, we do need rules and definitions to ensure a minimum understanding of a company’s policies, reporting requirements and caveats surrounding retaliation, but it likely won’t effectuate real cultural change.
Diversity without inclusion does not work, you need to cultivate an inclusive environment with thoughtful and deliberate discussions. Inclusion is all about inviting people to come together to meaningfully contribute and create a sense of belonging. This will attract talent, reduce walkouts and increases profits and productivity levels, all while improving employee engagement. Everyone is responsible for contributing and influencing inclusion, all it takes is getting to know people as individuals and making them feel welcomed as they are. Organisations that have successfully established a diverse workforce can reap the proven benefits that it provides, including a wide array of perspective experiences.
How can you, as a corporate leader ensure that unwelcome and unwanted behaviour does not plaque your workplace. The answer lies in transparent communication and expectations that are set appropriately. Approaching the topic openly with intermittent reminders can do a lot to make this a front-burner issue. But it’s got to be your priority, you need to set the bar. Demonstrate role-model leadership principles, and teach your employees how to develop strong personal leadership practices of their own so this becomes the norm. Be willing to apologise first when there is a doubt about intentions or actions, praise in public and censure in private. It is up to each of us to respond when we see a situation of unwanted behaviour or exclusion occur. Ownership is key and this is not for the faint hearted. Also, as a bystander you should not laugh at an offensive joke, instead take your coworker aside and explain why what they said or did was offensive. Be polite and gentle instead of angry and confrontational. Until someone clarifies to them why what they did was inappropriate they may never know. Never assume that they already know better. By embedding company values into recognition, employers build a culture that’s grounded in purpose, which inherently builds trust and respect among employees to achieve common goals together.
Understanding safe culture
Understanding what influences the culture of your organisation can make a significant contribution to changing employee attitudes and behaviours in relation to workplace (mental) health and safety. Companies that want to have a positive safety culture, which everyone owns and encourages should develop and promote managers that lead by example with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes to successfully undertake the responsibilities of safety.
Creating a safer and healthier workplace requires more than having your policy in place and share it with employees. Of course, it is a good start, and also needed for the purpose of enforcement – with an important message from the top and critical admission of who you are, what you believe in and how you expect others to act when challenged by the various issues that surface the workplace. It is important for employers to re-establish trust among employees to boost that engagement, productivity and confidence to do their best work every day while simultaneously helping them, individually and as a team to reach their full potential.
You will be off to a great start in making it safer for employees and make a difference during current times of uncertainty. Now more than ever before!
Karin Bosman CEO Report App/ Business firstname.lastname@example.org
Marieke Oudelaar COO Report App/ Business email@example.com
Report App BV helps organisation to determine and secure personal and professional boundaries.