Positive Workplace Contact and Resolution Officers

Please refer to Western Health’s People & Culture Intranet page for details of Positive Workplace Contact Officers

The context:

Positive Workplace Contact Officers play a role in ensuring employees of Western Health feel supported and can discuss their concerns and be informed of options for action.  Positive Workplace Contact Officers as the first point of connection, can be contacted directly, or may be asked to become involved where an issue has been raised via Western Health’s Positive Workplace Issues Centre (PWIC).

Positive Workplace Resolution Officers play an active role in supporting resolution of an issue, where the complainant is seeking a facilitated resolution, a mediated intervention where both parties can share and resolve issues that are not of a serious nature.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Positive Workplace Contact Officers:

The primary role of a Positive Workplace Contact Officer is to support employees, listen to their concerns, and provide employees with information about the available options to resolve their concerns.

This primary role includes:

  • advising employees of options and possible courses of action by clarifying internal and external options as stated in Western Health’s policies and procedures;
  • advising them of their option to seek counselling from the Employee Assistance Service;
  • Listening sympathetically to the complainant, taking care not to judge matters as too trivial. (The complainant may be initially reluctant to disclose all details and the gravity of the matter may initially be under-estimated);
  • ascertaining what outcome the complainant wants, and providing them with the information and the opportunity to explore the options available for them to resolve the complaint themselves;
  • offering support and empowerment to the complainant in their attempt to resolve the complaint themselves;
  • advising the employee of the three confidentiality options;
  • keeping statistical summary of discussions held monthly, with themes and nature of contact where employees wish to maintain full confidentiality;
  • providing summary of issue where the employee  seeks to remain anonymous and where the issue is recorded or where further intervention is required by a Positive Workplace Resolution Officer;
  • Additionally, the Positive Workplace Contact Officer must initially assess whether any of the following three (3) elements of a matter raised exists
    1. Is it a matter so serious it may lead to instant dismissal and therefore needs to be immediately referred to the Director – People, Culture and Safety?
    2. Is it a matter that involves serious violence or assault and therefore is referred immediately to the Director – People, Culture and Safety?
    3. Is it a matter that requires mandatory reporting and therefore should be referred immediately to Chief Medical Officer?

Positive Workplace Contact Officers have an educative role within Western Health which includes information dissemination and fostering the development of an attitude that unfair and inequitable treatment, harassment, victimisation or discrimination is unacceptable.

This may also involve where the opportunity arises to:

  • ensure that employees  and supervisors/managers are aware of the Formal Complaints Policy and Procedures and of legal requirements and utilising them in eliminating harassment and discrimination from the work place;
  • encourage staff and supervisors/managers to initiate informal communication regarding management of workplace diversity issues;
  • on request, provide support to managers/supervisors or others involved in the resolution process by providing relevant information;
  • provide a role model of appropriate appreciation of Equal Employment Opportunity principles in the work place; and
  • Provide feedback to the development of strategies for preventing and eliminating unfair and inequitable treatment, harassment, victimisation or discrimination from the Western Health workplaces.

The role of a Positive Workplace Contact Officer does not include:

  • Playing an active role in the resolution process beyond support and empowerment. Positive Workplace Contact Officers do not play an investigative role in any incident;
  • Offering support to more than one of the parties to a complaint.  However, the Positive Workplace Contact Officers can assist and encourage others to seek an alternative means of support, such as contacting another Positive Workplace Contact Officers;
  • Resolving the matter or making decisions for the complainant; or
  • Acting as an advocate in resolving the complaint.

Positive Workplace Resolution Officer:

The primary role of a Positive Workplace Resolution Officer is to be an intermediary or go between to provide resolution of a complaint, counselling to an offender and information to both parties to ensure there is not a recurrence.

The primary role includes:

  • Making it clear to the employee who has raised an issue, i.e. the Complainant, that resolution of their complaint centres on prevention of any further discrimination, harassment or bullying;
  • Providing information to both parties;
  • Listening to the Complainant and alleged discriminator/harasser impartially;
  • Counselling the alleged discriminator/harasser in regard to Western Health’s policy on discrimination, harassment and bullying;
  • Putting forward suggestions as to possible resolution of the matter;
  • Acting as a go-between;
  • Tries to achieve a resolution that is in the best interests of all parties and which prevents any further discrimination or harassment;
  • Makes sure that there are no reprisals or victimisation of the Complainant;
  • Monitors the outcome of resolution;
  • Accurately checks off the checklist;
  • Keeps accurate records on the forms provided.

The role of a Positive Workplace Resolution Officer does not include:

  • Assuming the truth of what either party says;
  • Making decisions for the complainant;
  • Acting as a representative of one or either of the employees;
  • Making decisions about any disciplinary action or any make a final decision as to a resolution.

Attributes of Positive Workplace Contact Officers and Positive Workplace Resolution Officers:

Positive Workplace Contact Officers will have the following skills/qualities:

Attributes:

  • Positive Workplace Contact Officers should be volunteers who display an aptitude and ability to perform the role and possess the capacity to deal with sensitive issues.
  • Confident: confidence to talk openly with other employees
  • Articulate: able to articulate information clearly
  • Objective: able to suspend judgement
  • Exemplary listening skills
  • Ethical and values driven: a willingness to role model respectful behaviours
  • High level of emotional intelligence
  • Tact, discretion and confidentiality
  • Commitment to Western Health

Knowledge:

  • WH Policy and Procedures
  • Understanding of what is characterised as bullying, discrimination, harassment and incivility or poor behaviours
  • Impact of poor interactions and behaviours on patient care and individual workers
  • Assertive communication model
  • Coaching approach

Positive Workplace Resolution Officers will have the following skills/qualities:

Attributes:

  • Aptitude and ability to perform the role and possess the capacity to deal with sensitive issues
  • Confident: confidence to talk openly with other employees
  • Articulate: able to articulate information clearly
  • Objective: able to suspend judgement
  • Exemplary listening skills
  • Ethical and values driven: a willingness to role model respectful behaviours
  • High level of emotional intelligence
  • Tact, discretion and confidentiality
  • Genuine concern for the wellbeing of others
  • Good judgement
  • An ability to be supportive and deal with emotionally difficult or sensitive situations.
  • Commitment to Western Health

Knowledge:

  • WH Policy and Procedures
  • Understanding of what is characterised as bullying, discrimination, harassment and incivility or poor behaviours
  • Impact of poor interactions and behaviours on patient care and individual workers
  • Assertive communication model
  • Coaching approach
  • Awareness and sensitivity to the issues surrounding harassment and discrimination;
  • Counselling process
  • Facilitation and group process skills

Support provided to our Positive Workplace Contact and Resolution Officers:

  • Opportunity to ensure time is made available within the normal working hours of their substantive position to allow them to perform their role effectively;
  • Training to all Positive Workplace Contact Officers (one full day) and Resolution Officers (two full days) to enable them  to maintain an effective Positive Workplace service and network;
  • Assurance that Managers, Supervisors and Divisional Heads are supportive of all roles and responsibilities of Positive Workplace Contact and Resolution Officers;
  • Appropriate  defusing/debriefing as and when required ,with access to the Employee Assistance Program if necessary and as frequently as needed;
  • Assurance that  provisions under the Anti Discrimination Act 1998, including the duty of care responsibilities under Section 104(1)(c), and any other relevant statutory requirements are met;
  • Representation at a hearing or court case where or if necessary.  (Positive  Workplace Contact and Resolution  Officers will not be held personally liable for any action or advice given in good faith in their role); and
  • The necessary Records Management System, known as the Positive Workplace Issues Centre (The Vault), which meets various Act requirements.

Application / Nomination process

  • Nominated by a peer
  • Supported by relevant Manager/Director/Head of Unit/Clinical Services Director

Other considerations

  • Is willing to undertake education and commit to 12 months of being on the program
  • Has no record of reported incident of inappropriate behaviour