Think of the last time you questioned how much you trust yourself – to make a tough decision on your own, to initiate a tough conversation, to admit you were wrong, to learn something new, or to simply be honest with yourself? Exploring your self-trust is what I call “inner work”, and it is foundational to your contribution to addressing one of the most critical forces of our time – creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) workplace.
Building Trust in the Workplace
Do you remember the day you became a manager? You were told, “Congratulations, you’re a manager, you start next week! Let us know what you need, and your assistant will have your keys and access card waiting for you.” Did that amount of support turn you into a respected and effective manager overnight? Probably not. …
How do you define trust? How do you describe what trust means to you? Ask ten people and you will likely hear ten different responses. Because trust is personal. Our past experiences with building, keeping or losing trust really shape how we define trust. For me, I define trust as having the belief that someone, or a company, will do what they say they will do and in with my best interest in mind. A tall order?
Building relationships in the workplace is hard – and it takes work. It’s even more difficult when you work in a unionized organization which has traditionally adversarial relationships. But these days, organizations like the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) are stepping away from the attitude that, as a union, you have to be in ‘fight mode’ all the time. They are working towards accomplishing more for their members by trying to have better relationships with management. This is where the Queen’s IRC Relationship Management in a Union Environment program comes in.
Ben was concerned. Emma, a manager new to his group, had just received her employee engagement scores. They were not good. Emma had been a rock star in her previous individual contributor role. She was seen as talent for the future in the organization. As her HR Business Partner, Ben had watched her struggle as a first-time manager. Now, it appeared that her employee team was willing to put those struggles on paper in the form of not so good engagement scores.
Ever catch yourself thinking, “Why did I just say that?” or “I didn’t handle that discussion as well as I could have.” We are all human and can make poor decisions in the heat of the moment. Afterwards, we are often left wondering how managing our emotions could have made a difference in the situation. But for leaders, reacting emotionally can have a negative impact that ripples through the organization. We can all become more effective by understanding emotional intelligence and learning how to strengthen our own emotional intelligence.
First impressions count. However in the workplace, organizations often fail to realize that this truism is a two way street. As much as we form first impressions about the people we interview, hire and welcome into our organizations, the employee is on a parallel journey. How did we interview them? How did we invite them to join our organization and how did we welcome them when they arrived?
Do you or your workplace need a spring tuneup? It can be easy to fall into habits that may seem innocuous, but may actually be hindering your progress. Spring is a great time to review and renew, and Queen’s IRC has just what you need to get a fresh start, with certificate programs, custom programs, and some new opportunities based on requests from our clients.
Organizational culture isn’t like a sports car. It cannot instantly change directions and make a hairpin turn. Instead, it’s more like a tanker ship that takes time and planning to put on the right course. If you think about how your organization or team arrived at the culture it currently has, it’s unlikely you can point to a single event, or even a few moments, that explain your current culture. Instead, it is the slow changes that happen, unnoticed at the time, which better explain how most organizational cultures develop.
I recently had the opportunity to work with a group of HR professionals in Trinidad, through Queen’s IRC’s partnership with the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business within the University of the West Indies. As part of our discussion about building trust in the workplace, we discussed behaviours that lowered trust and those that raised trust. It did not take long for the participants to generate lists of behaviours through table discussion.
Here are the most popular articles Queen's IRC released in 2014. 1. 5 Steps to Build Trust and Change the Culture in an Organization; 2. Building Trust in the Workplace Recognizing Employee Engagement in the Workplace; 3. Building Trust in the Workplace The Head-Down Theory: How Unfairness Affects Employee Engagement; 4. The Need for Lean HR: Reinvent or RIP HR; 5. Strategic Grievance Management in Today’s Unionized Environment
There has been a great deal of discussion these days about generational differences at work. Millennials are seeking different rewards than their older co-workers, and evolving technology is changing the way we all do our jobs. In such a diverse and constantly shifting environment, how do we build teams that foster collaboration, trust and a shared vision for success? Queen's IRC programs tackle that challenge head on, using evidence-based tools and hands-on activities to help you design processes and practices that result in a positive work environment that clearly contributes to the bottom line.
As the year draws to a close, I would like to reflect on some of the highlights for Queen's IRC. This fall we introduced two new programs based on feedback from our participants. Building Trust in the Workplace and Coaching Skills were both well received and we look forward to offering them again next year. In March 2015, we will launch a new advanced change management course called Designing Change, which will provide the tools and skills needed to map out and lead a transformational culture shift in an organization.
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.”
There's a lot of talk about employee engagement these days, but how do we recognize these engaged employees and show appreciation for the things they do to support the company? It's not always easy to distinguish what exactly engagement in the workplace is, and it can be demonstrated differently depending on a person's role and the function of their company. When I think of engagement, I consider it to be those behaviours and actions that warm the heart. I can picture specific employees I've worked with over the years and the behaviours I've witnessed that have touched me.
Change – for most individuals and organizations – can bring about a mix of feelings, including apprehension, anticipation, anxiety and excitement. At Queen's IRC, we have recently experienced change, and the best way to describe our feelings would be unbridled enthusiasm for a new era of opportunity, exploration and growth.