Workplace Assessment


DEFINITION

Workplace Assessments are also often described as Workplace Audits or Organizational Reviews.  Workplace Assessments identify the root cause(s) of conflict indicative of a poor workplace climate, and provides recommendations for restorative interventions that address the underlying causes and that will help the group move forward with a future focus. Workplace Assessments can be conducted in workplaces with 3 – 500 staff, are suitable in both union and non-union settings, and at all levels of the organization. 

 

BENEFITS

In any workplace with multiple employees, there will be many competing interests and relationships that impact workplace health and productivity. A Workplace Assessment is the best analytical tool to diagnose drivers of conflict and identify the most appropriate remedial steps and their sequencing.  Some of the advantages of a proper Workplace Assessment include:

  • While the presenting issues may suggest personality or relationship conflicts, a Workplace Assessment may identify other factors that are impacting the ability of staff to exercise their duties in a positive and productive manner.  Insight is often provided on communication pathways, workflow, deadlines, expectations around roles and responsibilities, office structure and resources, gaps in job specific knowledge or training, etc.  Management may be able to action these changes internally minimizing catalysts for friction and providing leadership toward a more positive work environment.

  • The Assessment will also identify positive workplace practices.  This can be leveraged by management by expressing appreciation for the positive habits that currently exist and to set the stage for next steps in building a positive, productive and respectful workplace

  • A Workplace Assessment by an external consultant is objective and confidential. There is no bias from a few strong, outspoken individuals; and quieter staff members have the opportunity to provide insight and input without fear of being minimized, or of overt or subtle retaliation from other staff or management.

  • The Assessment provides an opportunity, in advance of any restoration activities, to engage staff in the restoration process.  An Assessment shows that management values staff’s input and by its nature invites staff ownership in creating a better workplace. 

  • Agree designs the questions asked as part of a Workplace Assessment to provide the opportunity for staff (and management) to begin moving from a mindset of “dwelling on the problem” to reflecting on possible solutions, and how they can contribute to those solutions

  • The Assessment allows management and the facilitator to prepare for subsequent intervention(s), identifying key issues to be addressed, leaders within the workplace to engage during group processes, and to devise strategies to re-direct or de-emphasize the impact of negative, outspoken leaders.

  • The Workplace Assessment report provides management with a comprehensive analysis of the workplace and recommendations for restoration.  The report also provides a record of the workplace prior to restoration interventions, and can be used to measure future progress.   

  • Unlike an Investigation, which provides a finding of right or wrong, Workplace Assessments provide a report with recommendations for restorative interventions that address the underlying drivers of conflict.  With recent health and safety legislation requiring employers to provide workplaces free of harassment, bullying and violence, Workplace Assessments can assist employers in their efforts to improve the workplace climate in situations where precursors to violence, such as harassment, discrimination and bullying exist.

 

THE WORKPLACE ASSESSMENT PROCESS

Agree understands that each case is unique and the remedy must be tailored to the specific factors involved.  An Agree Consultant will consult in advance with an organizational representative in order to develop an understanding of the organizational structure and workplace issues, clarify expectations and establish a framework that outlines the objectives, processes, timelines and reporting relationships.

 

Agree consultants can use a variety of assessment techniques appropriate to the situation and workplace.  These may include:

  • document review

  • a customized questionnaire or survey

  • preliminary meetings with selected management, Human Resources, Labour Relations, association and/or union representatives

  • individual interviews with employees

  • focus groups

 

Agree will design and implement an information gathering format that is most effective from both a results and cost perspective, while at the same time as ensuring participants have trust in the process. In situations where a broad perspective is needed, for example in large work units, or when significant change has recently been implemented or anticipated, surveys and focus groups are utilized. In smaller work units or where relationship issues are of primary concern, individual interviews between the Assessor and employees are preferred.

 

Following the diagnostic phase, a report is provided that includes an analysis of the workplace and various options and recommendations for intervention.  The Assessment may recommend systemic or communication improvements or restoration options that can be actioned internally, and may also suggest interventions by an external facilitator.  Intervention strategies that could be recommended may include mediation, group facilitation, relationship capacity building workshops, restorative circles, conflict coaching and/or conflict management and communication skills training. Since Agree facilitators provide all of these services as part of their practice, they understand the relative value and potential success of each intervention and the Assessor or another Agree consultant can assist with any of these interventions subsequent to the Workplace Assessment. 

 

Agree has conducted Workplace Assessments for workplaces of all sizes, from small units experiencing relationship difficulties (eg. 3 parties) to large clusters (500+) that have undergone significant change.

 

The Next Best Step:  We invite you to call our office to discuss the most appropriate conflict resolution process for your situation – 1-800-524-6967.