Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Building Healthy Workplaces with the Genuine Contact Program - Part II

WHO (1999) identified the determinants of worker’s health in the workplace that mirror the determinants of health in the community: the environment and working conditions, the organization and culture, work groups, and work styles and practices. Working with the Genuine Contact Program in organizations can positively impact each determinant.

1. Environment and working conditions:
Lack of involvement in decision-making is one factor that contributes to a negative psychosocial environment. The Genuine Contact Program uses highly participative meeting methodologies that tap into the collective wisdom and potential of individuals and the organization as a whole. The processes engage the passion and creativity of people and encourage responsibility and action, resulting in innovative and creative solutions to issues related to work environment and working conditions. The Program works with change at the scale of the whole, promoting join-in at the beginning rather than buy-in after the fact. As a consequence, there is usually faster uptake and acceptance of new ways of being and doing.

2. Organization and Culture:
Improving workplace health depends almost entirely on leadership priorities and decisions. The first step is to determine the will of leaders and the organization to achieve health and balance. The Genuine Contact Program helps organizations to explore the benefits of and the will to achieve health and balance. It provides them with the tools and frameworks to “diagnose” the current state of health and to develop strategies to achieve and sustain organizational health. These tools raise consciousness of and work with the deep essence of the organization including purpose, values, assumptions, leadership, vision, community, management and relationships. The emphasis is on a deep fix rather than a quick fix. Using the tools, the organization can build a comprehensive organizational strategy for achieving and sustaining organizational health and the processes for achieving results.

3. Workgroups:
Relationships and interactions with co-workers are the major source of stress in workplaces. Healthy organizations are founded on right relationships with self, others, the collective and the divine. The Genuine Contact Program enables people to achieve “genuine contact” at all levels through reflection and meaningful dialogue. The program builds community and fosters team work, effective communication and collaboration while working together on key business issues. It helps to minimize conflicts that create a negative psychosocial environment and provides tools to resolve conflicts that do arise.

4. Work Style and Practices:
The Genuine Contact Program engages the whole person: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Working with the program assists individuals and the collective to work with their “deeper source” (Sharmer, 2005) - purpose, assumptions, values and beliefs that guides actions, individuals and work groups, which facilitates transformational change. Mentoring, coaching and workshops are provided to support individuals and the organization to achieve health and balance.

Achieving organizational health is a continuous process. The program does not superimpose a model or structure, but rather provides the underpinnings and frameworks for co-creating healthy workplace strategies that are customized to the organization. It provides a healthy and balanced foundation or “operating system” for the organization to work from.

The ingredients and benefits of a healthy organization are clear. There is now evidence that is compelling organizations to invest the time and resources to address workplace health. The Genuine Contact Program provides a HOW to get there - a holistic approach that aligns the process for achieving health with healthy workplace characteristics.

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