The Engagement Difference
Challenging, real conversations happen in an environment of support – and the workplace becomes a safer, more engaged community.
Engagement Practice is used:
- proactively, building a workplace culture for teams and individuals to work well together.
- responsively, resolving conflict situations and in the process building improved relationships.
An engaged workplace seeks to repair harm and to allow those involved in the conflict to find a constructive way forward.
When conflict occurs in the workplace, the engagement approach will:
- bring together those involved in the conflict to find a way forward
- allow all affected by the conflict to have a voice and be heard
- help participants come to a shared understanding of what happened, who’s been affected and what needs to happen to address the situation
- provide a healthy alternative to negative gossip or avoidance of responsibility
- clarify necessary actions in the workplace culture to avoid similar conflicts
- support accountability
- help build trust and respect
- help avoid the need for disciplinary action
- provide continuity of positive practices into the future
Engagement Practice: a background summary
Engagement practice is rooted in restorative practice. Throughout its history, practitioners of Restorative Practice have realized that the principles employed in conflict resolution (personal ownership of a problem, personal ownership of the resolution) are most effective when they become part of a workplace’s day-to-day work style.
The ‘follow on’ is as important as resolving the issue at hand. This is particularly true in the workplace, where operational process is vital to success.
Engagement approaches are being increasingly used. The Nova Scotia Department of Social Services is moving in this direction. The UK postal unions handle grievances through engagement approaches.
Moving on from conflict
Success in responding to conflict led practitioners to realize that Engagement Practice offers a highly effective framework, or set of principles, for all workplace situations from:
- staff hiring,
- staff meetings,
- performance appraisal,
- inter-department workflow.
While Restorative Practice has its origins as a response to conflict, it is now viewed as providing a sound framework for all workplace situations, from staff hiring, to policies on conducting staff meetings, to performance appraisal, to inter-department workflow.
The health of employee relationships in an organization is a major contributor to measurable gains in operational efficiency and business success.
The CSA Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (2013) highlights the importance of good day-to-day workplace relationships.
And the role of CWE
CWE is a leading provider of engagement services.
In 2013 the Canadian Standards Association published a new national standard entitled Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. CWE has been recognised by the CSA as a valuable supporter of services in this area.
At CWE we promote workplace engagement, methods and practices for improving how employees relate to one another, and how they connect to the work they do – the basis on which a healthier, more productive workplace can flourish.