Dignity at work is the title of our flagship training programme at Vista. But what does dignity at work really mean?
In order to feel valued and included at work, we first need to feel respect from and for the people that we work with.
Both our human values and the legal framework expect that everyone shows each other respect and affords each other dignity at work.
A diverse workforce will hide its difference unless the very fact that it is different is respected, and that’s why it is inclusion that drives a high-performance culture. It is also why you can’t achieve inclusion unless you first achieve respect and dignity at work.
How do you train dignity?
More often than not training courses are focussed on enhancing tangible skill sets or competencies.
Dignity at work focusses on behaviours. What makes it particularly challenging is that we need to train a behaviour change when the behaviours in question might be unacceptable, long -held, and the people in question are unwilling to question their own thought processes.
Worse – they don’t see why they need to change.
The key is to create non-intrusive, provocative, hard hitting, debate stimulating content to encourage open discussion and to question thought processes.
We must de-humanise the most human of issues and inject a little humour. In doing this, we spark those lively debates that felt a little too close-to-the-bone beforehand, and thus we see the start of the behaviour change.
How to De-Humanise Human Behaviours
Well it’s obvious isn’t it? Dinosaurs!
We’ve developed a unique communication tool using cartoon dinosaurs. These ‘dignity dinosaurs’ represent the ‘characters’ that we see commonly in the workplace, and the behaviours that they exert – which we want to make extinct.
In a recent training programme with Park Cake Bakeries, we made the dignity dinosaurs widely accessible to employees by using case study cards, placing each typical dinosaur in a variety of ‘scenarios’.
Each card provides a situation where a dinosaur is ‘let loose’ with questionable comments about a colleague, and a selection of responses colleagues could use to make the dignity dinosaur extinct. Flip the card over, and your answer is on the back.
Over our journey with our clients and these dinosaurs, we’ve learnt that in order to deal with something risky, we have to be risky. And so, it has been fascinating to see some of the UK’s largest employers and HR Directors embracing some very near-to-the-knuckle humour in the training scenarios we’ve pitched and delivered.
Dignity is a topic that needs to be dealt with head on.
How risky are you prepared to be?