Being a good employer today means protecting our workers from negative workplace cultures. This goes beyond not tolerating bullying and harassment but ensuring workers feel safe, supported and that their wellbeing matters every day. To build a respectful and safe work environment requires well written and understood policies and procedures, constructive working relationships and real effort from leaders, managers, and employees.
In 2019 the Public Service Commissioner (PSC) provided guidance and resources for the State services agencies to leverage off to improve their individual agencies. In May this year it was updated, and it is an excellent resource for all organisations to review and reference when looking at what they can do to improve their cultures.
The three key elements published by the PSC for the Positive and Safe Workplace model standards are:
Providing strong leadership: creating diverse, inclusive and open workplace cultures; role modelling positive behaviours; recruiting and promoting people who demonstrate those behaviours; and taking action to prevent and respond to inappropriate behaviour.
Fostering good working relationships: developing shared expectations and understanding around what is, and is not, appropriate behaviour at work; ensuring people are aware of their roles and responsibilities in identifying and responding to concerns; promoting good management and employment practices.
Having trusted policies and procedures: developing, implementing, using and maintaining appropriate policies and procedures. This requires monitoring their effectiveness and reviewing them to enable continuous learning.
Published alongside these resources is a case study on the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the organisation-wide operation they launched in June 2016 to eliminate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour within the NZDF. The NZDF internal operation led to the establishment of training led by subject matter experts which has had overwhelmingly positive responses from participants and to date over 12,000 NZDF staff have completed this. An excellent example of an organisation making changes to improve the workplace and continuing to build an environment of respect and safety.
Working Wise offers seminars and group diagnostic sessions on how to create positive workplaces and prevent unacceptable behaviours from flourishing. Get in touch with us if you want to know more about our pathway to excellence model that incorporates the model standards. It helps workplaces identify what’s not working and create plans to move them along the continuum towards a healthy and safe workplace culture.
To read more on the Positive and Safe Workplaces click here.