April 10, 2007

Ten Top Tips for Promoting Dignity at Work - A Good Practice Guide for Higher Education Institutions

1. It is essential to have senior management support for any initiatives you put in place – as well as the executive team, you may find it useful to involve governors in raising the profile of dignity at work issues. If the head of your institution and your governing Body are actively involved, for example in attending training sessions, it is much easier to encourage all other members of staff to do so too.

2. Having a well-written policy is vital – but this is only the first step, not an end in itself. Even the most skilfully crafted policy is useless if no-one within the institution has the confidence to use it. The chances of any policy being successful are much greater if it is part of a wider institutional approach that includes consideration of issues such as stress management, the use of advisers and the investigation process.

3. Help your managers to understand the differences between firm management and bullying – focus attention on how staff are managed and the ways in which communication takes place, as well as on the formal processes and procedures.

4. Emphasise the role of every member of the institution in combating bullying and harassment – those who witness it have as important a role to play as those who experience it directly. Include dignity at work as one of your core organisational values.

5. Offer a variety of sources of information and ways of accessing support. Not everyone will be comfortable talking to a stranger on the telephone, but others will prefer to discuss sensitive issues with someone who is not involved.

6. Communicate your policy and support services as widely as possible, using as many different types of media as you can. Some people do not have easy access to e-mail and the internet, so don’t confine your efforts solely to electronic means of communication.

7. Monitor and evaluate any initiatives you put in place – you will not have any evidence that they are working unless you are able to effectively measure your progress. Think carefully about how you are going to monitor the usage of every service you have in place and ensure you track your statistics over time to identify trends.

8. Consider having a staff attitude survey on a regular (every two or three years) basis. In this way, you will have an indication of how staff feel about working at your institution and you will have valuable data about a range of significant issues by which to track your progress in a qualitative way.

9. Train all your staff in the operation of the policy, placing emphasis on the organisational culture you are aiming for – and make sure that you include refresher training in your plans.

10. The culture of your institution must reflect what you say in your policies in order to effectively tackle bullying and harassment issues. Ensure that you work in partnership with the trades unions to promote these values and to identify any issues that need to be addressed. Make sure that you treat everyone fairly, irrespective of their status and position within the institution.

From: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/resources/daw/

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