We have worked over the last 3 years with Northampton Partnership Homes helping to embed their behaviour “Respecting Each other”, and what has made it so successful is the organisation’s understanding that the programme needs to keep evolving with a sustained focus on behaviour over a period of time.
With the pandemic changing all of our workplaces drastically, there was a need to adapt the workshops in collaboration with NPH, to be run virtually and to reflect the changing working environment. We have continued to review and support different ways of keeping the momentum going.
Initially all staff, including the Senior Leadership Team, took part in a programme of interactive workshops helping everyone understand the importance of behaving with respect and in an inclusive way, as an essential foundation in the workplace.
Having created a shared understanding of the importance of respectful and inclusive working across the organisation we have worked with John the L and D lead to:
- encourage all managers to hold discussions with their teams on behaviour and keep this on team meeting agendas
- set up a group of “Respect Champions” The 5 champions have been proactive in promoting a respectful culture as well as being there in an informal capacity for anyone to talk through concerns or how to address situations where people may have felt uncomfortable
- identify a “Champion of champions” … a senior manager who is a visible sponsor for the “Respecting Each Other” behaviour and a support to the Respect Champions
- run a dedicated session for the Board to ensure the right behaviours are being led from the very top
- pilot Speak Up sessions – highly practical sessions to give everyone the confidence to speak up on behalf of themselves or others, if they feel uncomfortable
- make links to other initiatives such as health and wellbeing and highlight how the quality of our relationships at work has a direct impact on our mental health
- establish regular Respecting Each Other workshops as part of induction for new employees
- incorporated the behaviours, including Respecting Each Other, into their performance appraisal process.
The last point is where we have seen visible differences. The new people coming into the organisation on these workshops talk, almost without exception, about how welcoming the culture is and critically how much this is role modelled from the top. They know how important inclusion is and are able to talk about what contributes to it and have a language to discuss it.
The issues being raised now are far more about “what happens if…” and understanding others points of view and how to support others, than “I had this example of where behaviour crossed the line…. what do I do about it”.
NPH have understood from the start that creating and maintaining an inclusive culture doesn’t happen overnight – it takes ongoing commitment and focus – and they are seeing the positive results of this.
- John Chambers L and D manager has commented that “The word “respect” is heard a lot more in conversations around the office. It is clear that as a word it has become embedded within day-to-day language and is often used in a light-hearted situation showing people are aware of the impact that their behaviour and the behaviour of others can have”
- Mike Kay, CEO, commented “This has been a really important initiative for us. It is not always easy for people to know where the boundary lines are drawn, and the programme Focal Point designed for us really worked for everyone because it was, down to earth, practical and helped raise awareness through active participation. How we behave with and towards one another is crucial for creating a happy, safe and productive working environment and this has been an important part of creating and sustaining that culture”
- Participant comment “I thought working in a smaller group worked really well, I felt it made me more confident to have a discussion with people from different departments. I also enjoyed the session over Zoom, it worked really well”.