Red Deer gets a handle on harrassment and bullying allegations

Allegations made in 2008 survey; Latest employee survey shows improvement

The City of Red Deer has “moved the needle” on a respectful workplace after an employee survey revealed allegations of bullying and harassment.

Kristy Svoboda, the city’s Human Resources director, said while there has been improvement since the allegations in 2008 and 2009, there is always room for the city to better itself.

The city’s most recent engagement survey, conducted in 2015, showed 75 per cent of staff said they had a respectful workplace.

“We’re moving the needle. It’s not perfect, but I was happy to hear we’re moving in the right direction,” said Svoboda. “It’s not perfect; there are still areas we can improve in, but it is a very positive number.”

A 2008-engagement survey revealed some concerns around disrespectful behaviours.

“There were some allegations or some comments about bullying and harassment,” said Svoboda. “We knew as an organization we needed to do something to address some of those areas.”

By 2015, questions to staff about the issue of respect in the workplace had 75 per cent favourable response, with only 11 per cent having an unfavourable response. The remaining 14 per cent had a neutral response.

Svoboda said the city developed a respectful workplace policy and procedure, and worked with ProActive ReSolutions, a company that builds respectful workplaces. Svoboda said it was able to train everyone about what is respectful, and the skills and process to address bullying and harassment issues.

“We wanted to turn our organization (around) so people had an opportunity to either address the disrespectful behaviour, or tell someone and get some resolution.”

Conducted by TalentMap, an employee engagement and workplace measurement company, the survey highlighted three possible “drivers” to improve employee engagement: professional growth, innovation and diversity, respect and inclusion.

“That’s significant,” said Svoboda. “That says, overall, my workplace feels respectful. We’re moving the needle.

“What we’ve heard is that respect in the workplace is improving, management is beginning to realize the importance of respect in the workplace. It’s improving, but it’s not perfect.”

Other significant results on the issue of respect and diversity from the survey include: 78 per cent of respondents say they felt the city had a clear definition of what was a respectful workplace.

88 per cent felt accepted, comfortable and safe.

70 per cent said the city values diverse identities, ideas and ways of thinking and working.

The city did not disclose the results of the full survey.

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