Values in Action - Practical Approach

Improving Workplace Culture

Case Studies

The Client:

A large organisational Unit of a public service department employment some 200 staff and providing a range of services to the community, with staff located throughout Queensland and working in a number of disciplines.

The Brief:

To raise awareness of the organisational values and how they apply to the workplace, including individual behaviours, actions and implications. This followed analysis of a major staff survey which pointed to staff concerns about workplace behaviours.

Our initial brief was to design and conduct a values workshop for managers (some 30 staff). This was expanded following a very positive response from the managers' workshop. We were invited to conduct similar workshops for all staff throughout the State.

Our Response:

HR Advantage worked closely with the responsible senior manager and a project officer to initially develop the managers' workshop. Key was the use of practical, scenario based workplace situations. These were hypothetical situations developed for the project with themes derived from the types of concerns highlighted through the staff survey to ensure relevance.

The managers' workshop enabled managers to explore with each other and the consultant sensitive and difficult situations related to workplace dynamics and behaviour in a values oriented problem solving frame. It assisted them as a group to reflect on responsibilities, practical actions, and the support available in creating a positive workplace culture and addressing concerns when they arise.

We then conducted staff workshops throughout the State. These facilitated discussion of individual and manager level responsibilities for workplace culture and behaviours. Staff identified how organisational values related to workplace conduct in specific behavioural terms.

Workshops were followed up by evaluation which was debriefed with managers. Managers then facilitated team level discussions at work sites to discuss and agree specific workplace expectations around culture and behaviour. These were positively reinforced in performance and development discussions.

The Results:

The managers' workshop was powerful in that managers as a cohort reflected on and considered workplace culture issues (within and beyond their teams) and agreed relevant actions to take.

Evaluation feedback on all the workshops was very positive. They served an educative and awareness raising purpose. The scenarios were seen to be highly relevant. The use of an external, independent consultant was considered critical, promoting confidence in the process, open discussions at the workshops, and active participation.

The follow up by managers in work sites was an essential element in reinforcing the values at the workplace level.

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