Living Life Counselling provides a range of onsite Corporate Services in the workplace, if you are interested in discussing a workshop for your organisation, please contact our Director, Zoe Broomhead on 0402 475 333 for further information, or call the Centre on 9876 1323.
Critical Incidents in the Workplace
We provide onsite consultation and liaison after workplace accidents and trauma. This may be with only the immediate person or persons involved or may include significant number of people impacted by an event. Typically in such a situation to bring in trained facilitators to assess your needs and work with your team to provide the care needed. Our aim is to minimise stress and help staff to retain their functioning ability and return to productivity in the workplace as soon as possible.
Mediation and Counselling in the Workplace
Conflict, stress and poor communication in the workplace can lead to increased sick leave or stress leave, and potentially a high staff turnover rate. The resultant lost productivity and re-employment and retraining time can be costly for an organisation. Mediation, conflict resolution or counselling may help to maintain productivity, as well as providing you with the tools to create and maintain a positive and communicative work environment for management and staff alike.
We offer counselling and support following individual or large-scale redundancies. Providing positive support in the workplace at this time is important for management, remaining staff and those who have faced redundancy. The provision of appropriate support can reduce the impact on productivity and allow you to focus on your business priorities whilst ensuring your staff are supported during what is typically a particularly stressful time.
Bullying in the Workplace
“14% of people experience bullying in the workplace. As well as creating a risk to health and safety, bullying can impact an organisation through reduced productivity, staff turnover and legal costs.”(www.worksafe.vic.gov.au)
The impact of bullying in the workplace is an issue that is regularly highlighted in the media. Sadly, it is an issue we see all too often in the counselling room. After one recently reported tragedy Wayne Sidwell, founder and Executive Chairman of the Wellcom Group, wrote to all his staff inviting them to contact him personally if they felt they were experiencing any kind of workplace bullying. This is a man who cares for his staff.
Having worked extensively with clients who have experienced bullying in the workplace we have seen the soul destroying impact of this abuse and, sadly, have even attended the funerals of those who could not face life as a result of the bullying they experienced. This is a matter which must be addressed seriously in the workplace.
This is a serious subject but is certainly not a hopeless one. The good news is that you do not need to accept bullying in your workplace. With education, vigilance and, when necessary, intervention you can establish a healthy ‘no bullying’ environment in your workplace. You may already have an established ‘no bullying’ policy – in which case, congratulations! If, at any time, you have concerns for any staff member, please follow it up. Remember that a bullied staff member may not speak up of their own accord; they may need permission and support to do so. It is important to provide an appropriately supportive environment for your staff by offering regular invitations to speak up (such as demonstrated by Wellcom’s Executive Chairman), building relationships and intervening whenever you sense that something may not be right. This is not something you need to address on your own. Support is available for you in your workplace when you need it, both for the individual being bullied and for the management staff who will be required to address the behaviour. Please contact our directors for further information about how we can assist you.
Critical Incident in the Workplace Case Examples
Sudden Death Incident
Meeting with Management to access their needs and the gain history was paramount, as was touring the premises to understand the work environment before meeting with workers. A production plant with 24 hour productivity and 300 staff faced the sudden death of a factory worker, followed by a police investigation. Within 48 hours of the initial incident, Facilitators met with Management for a briefing before touring the factory. Our primary goal was to assess the level of trauma and to separate those who were significantly impacted from those who needed some basic education and information about how to access further assistance should they require it, and to get them back on the floor to productivity. Finally, due to the legal implications of this situation, Management was keen to convey a message of unity and to reduce gossip and speculation. The plant contained a high percentage of migrant workers, many of whom were afraid of the police (uniforms) and very afraid to speak. We needed to overcome the fear barrier and language barriers, both for the sake of the investigation and to facilitate the recovery of all involved. The following steps assisted us in providing the most appropriate assistance possible for the situation:
- The initial meeting was held in the staff dining room – a familiar and comfortable area for workers, with team leaders available to provide language interpretation.
- Management gave brief run down and update of the situation, the Facilitators were introduced and our role was explained.
- We conducted a 30 minute educational session on shock and grief – normal responses to the loss of a colleague. This process is known as defusing. There was also an opportunity for a question and answer session.
- Following this session a smaller debriefing session was held for those who had worked closely with the deceased, while other workers were allowed to return to work or go home if they preferred.
- Individual sessions were offered on the following day for those who were directly impacted. This was not enforced but in most cases the offer was taken up as relationship building had already begun through the earlier group work, and because the earlier educational sessions had provided workers with an understanding of the role of debriefing.
- Ongoing individual sessions were provided as need for those who required continuing support. We liaised with Human Resources over the following weeks, tapering off over several months as court matters developed. We remained in touch with those workers and management who were directly affected by the incident, whilst the remaining 300 workers continued to be productive and working from a very short time after the initial incident.
The process described above ensured that support and adequate care was provided for those who needed it. In some cases support was sought immediately after the incident; in other cases workers sought assistance later as they realized the impact of the trauma. Our initial education and continued presence made it easier for workers to comfortably request support.
In this situation, and others like it, our involvement allowed the factory to care for its team whilst still maintaining productivity, despite significant trauma for a number of distressed workers. This situation was in the media for some time and each time it re-emerged in the media it was extremely distressing for workers. Having established relationships allowed us to provide appropriate support and dispel fears. Our goal was to ensure maximum care whilst maintaining minimum disruption within the workplace.
Mediation in the Workplace
Because of relationships built throughout the investigation in the Critical Incident Case Study the organisation called upon our counsellors on a regular basis for mediation and counselling in the workplace. Relationships were established with us and it saved losing effective workers and re-employment costs.
Redundancies in the Workplace
An organisation planning to close one of its operations needed to announce the redundancy of significant numbers of staff. The CEO wished to inform all staff at the same time, so called in counsellors to be present as the news was delivered and redundancy packages were explained and delivered to workers. Once management left, time was allocated for debriefing and individual follow up support was organised for those who required it. Providing counsellors at the time of the redundancy announcement meant that workers were given appropriate support in a timely fashion, and the additional ongoing support was an important provision for workers, some of whom had been employed by the company for 20 years. This assisted in reducing tensions and maintaining overall workplace productivity.
Corporate Training Courses
All seminars can be tailored to your specific needs. For example, you may choose the Bullying seminar but also recognise that some of your staff members also have underlying anger management issues. If you discuss this with us beforehand we can ensure that the seminar also incorporates some anger management material.
Building Healthy Relationships in the Workplace
The Building Healthy Relationships seminars explore developing healthy dynamics within the work environment. We cover conflict resolution, team building, understanding ourselves and those around us. This can be run as a one day workshop or an expanded four session seminar, giving workers time to process and practice skills between sessions.
Anger Management in the Workplace
Anger management issues can be problematic in the workplace, leading to lost production. These issues can be addressed individually with workers or addressed as a team building exercise in a workplace seminar. Seminars can be tailored to your specific needs.
Bullying in the Workplace
Primarily educational, this seminar helps employees understand what constitutes bullying in the workplace, whilst at the time providing an opportunity for employers to establish a ‘no tolerance’ policy to bullying. The seminar can be a useful tool to get people talking about what is often a touchy and difficult subject. It promotes a clear view of what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours in the workplace, and provides a safe environment for those who may feel afraid to speak up about bullying.