Celebrating Harmony

Harmony Day is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values. Held every year on 21 March. The Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

For more information, please check out the Harmony Day Website which has so many resources for you to host your very own event.

At AccessEAP we hold a Harmony Day Lunch where everyone brings a dish and shares the background behind it. It is such a wonderful opportunity to learn something new about your colleagues and of course try some amazing food!

Don't forgot to check out our Tips on Managing Diversity.

 

Creating a thriving workplace this Feel Good February – Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

 At AccessEAP we love curiosity, being curious is one of our values and can really help to create a thriving workplace. This morning I received a card (like the one below) with an anonymous, personal message from one of my colleagues. Themed GLAD it highlighted four positive things about me. I must admit it not only made me feel good - it made me feel happy, proud, humble and overwhelmed – it brought a tear to my eye. It was a deeply emotional experience. Around our state offices these cards were being opened and experienced by all our people. I have included some of the reactions below and pictured are some smiling members of our Client Services Team!

This Feel Good February initiative was the work of our Wellbeing Champions. Informed by feedback from our Employee Engagement Surveys and as part of our internal wellbeing strategy we have recruited a team of Wellbeing Champions. These champions represent each of our divisions so bring a wealth of clinical, marketing, service, financial and management experience to the table. There brief is to implement initiatives which are valued and enhance the wellbeing of our people.

Each month the Wellbeing Champions work with their teams, creating initiatives to remind us to focus on our own mental health and wellbeing. Not every initiative will hit the mark and that’s OK but when they do they have a powerful, positive impact on mental health and workplace wellbeing. We will share these gems with our customers via our Wellbeing In Focus Calendar.

Initiatives such as these increase engagement and satisfaction related to recognition for work accomplishments; relationships with coworkers and supervisors. Organisations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors. Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realise substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes.1.

1.Gallup Employee Engagement Poll. These findings are based on a random sample of 30,628 full- and part-time U.S. employees working for an employer from January to June 2018.

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Hiding behind technology?

From time to time we all encounter situations where we dislike a person’s behaviour and we feel we need to say something, but actually having the conversation is a different story. With the integration of technology into the workplace it is much easier to avoid a potentially uncomfortable conversation by sending a quick email and ‘dealing with it later’.

Whilst these conversations are necessary the immediate impulse for many of us is to avoid, avoid, avoid. Hiding behind technology may seem like a good idea at the time but communicating with the absence of tone and body language may make the situation worse.

Once you have decided to have a courageous conversation, consider your approach. Learn more from our CEO's monthly feature article, Timing is Everything.

 

Here are some tips for initiating a potentially difficult conversation whether it’s face to face or over the phone:

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Emotions in the Workplace

To create a thriving workplace leaders are encouraged to focus on mental health and wellbeing and to better understand the importance of harnessing emotions in the workplace.

Emotions in the workplace and organisational culture

Today workplaces need to engage and motivate their employees by understanding what employees need from their work. We know employees want to grow, want to be valued, involved, and to feel part of the organisation. Each generation may have differing needs and not factoring in employees’ values, needs and expectations leads to strong emotions at work which can lead to decreased productivity.

Emotions and customer experience

Acknowledging the emotions and impact of a challenging customer interaction and working towards a resolution is more effective than deciding who is right or wrong. This requires a skill set involving de-escalation and staying calm. We can support you to manage angry or disgruntled customers, respond in a way that builds relationships, learn how to make customers feel heard and meet their emotional needs.

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De-escalating or diffusing a situation

Have you or your staff been in a situation where you had to manage challenging behaviours when dealing with the public? An understanding of your own response as well as some skilful moves may help to improve the outcome.

 AccessEAP’s Tailored Trainings aim to provide information and tools to assist staff to keep psychologically safe whilst working with the public.

Participants will learn to assess the level of psychological risk present in any given situation by better understanding their individual stress signature and signs of distress so as to identify what sort of action to take during an incident. They will learn techniques to de-escalate or diffuse a situation to the best of their ability, and will identify when best to walk away from a situation and seek additional support. Participants will also have an opportunity to look at ways to build resilience and manage their wellbeing generally, particularly following a confronting incident.

Please contact your Relationship Manager for more information or to book in this training.

Timing is Everything

The theme of our wellbeing calendar this month centres on having courageous conversations. There are many contexts in a workplace that require us to find courage and have discussions that feel uncomfortable. An example which comes to mind is a manager providing feedback on an employee’s work performance or behaviour. Whilst these conversations are necessary the immediate impulse for many of us is to avoid, avoid, avoid.

How appealing is it to think that if we just ignore it, and carry on as if nothing is wrong, the issue will eventually resolve itself? The reality we see at AccessEAP is quite different. People begin to feel resentful when issues are left unacknowledged or unresolved. Tensions often build up and people ‘blurt out’ their frustrations at inappropriate moments and in an unconstructive manner.

It is tempting to want to avoid hurting or upsetting the person we are speaking with, by blaming someone or something else. While this may seem like a gentle approach which may take some of the heat out of the discussion, often the other person can detect the lack of honesty in our response. It takes courage to have a genuine and transparent discussion around sensitive issues or concerns as they may respond with anger, tears, or distress.

One of our role’s here at AccessEAP is to guide and coach people how to have brave workplace discussions which require honest and clear feedback. What I have learned from our clinical professionals is that timing and planning of conversations is crucial to their success. Grabbing a moment with someone as you pass them in a corridor, for example, or at the end of stressful working day is almost inevitably going to set you up to fail. Arranging a time, preparing for the conversation, choosing the right words, reflecting on the outcome I want to achieve and managing my emotions so they will not limit me are all necessary for a successful conversation.

I am reminded of the phrase to ‘test the waters’ when entering into one of those potentially tricky discussions. What this means, is to get a sense of the emotional state of the person I’m speaking with and to check in with myself. Emotions are powerful and can derail conversations. It is vital that a conversation is had sooner rather than waiting too long although it’s never a good idea to talk to someone if you feel angry. We cannot always avoid angry feelings; the other person may become defensive and upset, so equipping oneself with techniques to de-escalate or manage angry responses is worth considering.

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Let's talk to each other

With the new year upon us why not take the opportunity to get to know your peers. Welcome a new employee or get to know a person in a different department.

If you're stuck for ideas, why not try the below activity.

  • Leave "Conversation starters" in lunch/break rooms to help encourage discussion between colleagues. "My first ever job was…" "My favourite holiday destination is…"

This could be a new question each week or a once off activity to get people talking around a certain topic or time of year! Awareness days provide a great opportunity to start these kinds of conversations.

Coming up in March:

Don't forget to get creative with technology to connect those who can't be present physically.

Tips to Keep Your Business New Year’s Resolutions on Track

Published in HASHTAG, a NewsCompany.com.au publication on 19th Dec, 2018

The answer lies in effective goal setting says Marcela Slepica, Clinical Director of AccessEAP. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of setting a new goal, without thinking about the big picture. While having a common goal is great for team morale and motivating employees, the goals you set need to be realistic and in line with your organisation’s vision and values.

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Tips to Keep Your Business New Year’s Resolutions on Track

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the goals you’d like to set for the next 12 months. For businesses this could range from financial growth to improved staff retention, or new service and product offerings. However, with only 8% [1] of people achieving their New Year’s resolutions, how can management and HR professionals hope to inspire entire teams to find year-long success?

The answer lies in effective goal setting says our Clinical Director, Marcela Slepica “It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of setting a new goal, without thinking about the big picture. While having a common goal is great for team morale and motivating employees, the goals you set need to be realistic and in line with your organisation’s vision and values.”

Here Marcela gives more details on some of the tips we use to help organisations reach their goals.

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Organisational goals are like personal goals in that they provide structure to help us move in the direction we want to take. Within organisations, it can be easy to come up with ‘big picture’ ideas or strategic direction, however setting goals can be more challenging. The S.M.A.R.T. model is a great way of keeping your goals on track and giving them the best possible chance of success.

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AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
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indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.