What comes to mind when you hear “safe spaces”? For me, it’s a feeling of comfort, security and knowing I can truly be myself. A sense of being home.
For many of us, especially lately, work is home and home is work. We spend so much time working that our coworkers become family and our offices an extension of our living space. We multitask at work with personal chores and pepper our dinner conversations with work stories.
But while your family knows everything about you, your relationship with your work family is more surface level. While they may know your pet’s name, they don’t see your emotional scars.
If you are human, you’ve had trauma, most likely stemming from your childhood, and its effects travel everywhere with you. Your workplace is filled with co-workers also carrying their own trauma. And while you may not realize it, these past traumas cast a shadow over all your interactions.
As a leader, there are numerous effective strategies you can implement to counteract trauma at work. By following the tips outlined below, and working with a leadership keynote speaker, you will be taking the first critical step towards creating a safe and kind workplace.
When trauma-informed workplace training and trauma-informed care is implemented in the workplace, it brings out the best in your employees.
What Does a Trauma-Informed Workplace Mean?
A trauma-informed workplace is a workplace that recognizes, acknowledges and appreciates that everybody has dealt with trauma at some point in their lives. When a company is empathetic and sensitive to the fact that trauma follows their employees to work, it creates a place where they feel safe.
Part of this is understanding the motivation behind each employee’s actions and the logic behind their feelings. Everyone is affected by how life treats them and this comes out every day at work.
Bringing in a resilience keynote speaker to provide trauma-informed workplace training and making efforts to conquer trauma in the workplace are all critical ways to foster a safe and supportive environment. By taking appropriate steps to reduce stress and promote wellness in the workplace, businesses show support, which leads to greater productivity and success.
When employees feel heard and seen, they will trust you, which increases honest communication and greater collaboration. As a result, by addressing and decreasing trauma at work, your business is more likely to attract and retain talented, hard-working and caring employees.
As it turns out, many traditional businesses treat employees like cogs in a machine, not valuable human beings with feelings. And unless they actually employ robots, it’s not the best approach.
When employees feel as if they are only good for producing results and contributing to the bottom line, they won’t be inspired. In fact, they may tamp down ideas for improvement because they feel as if their contributions aren’t welcomed. This leads to feelings of powerlessness and isolation, creating the sense of constantly being under pressure.
By incorporating trauma-informed workplace training, you show your employees you are serious about battling trauma at work.
When you recognize employees as people who need support, or at least understanding, awareness and sensitivity, and focus on their mental, emotional and physical health needs, you foster connection and cultivate well-being. This leaves employees feeling safe, valued and important, and creates a more productive and positive work environment.
As the leader, you are the guiding light.
Whether your business is already making progress, or just embarking on a journey to creating a trauma-informed workplace, let your actions back up your words as you lead your team towards a safer and kinder future.
Management and Leadership’s Role in Battling Trauma in the Workplace
The word “lead” is defined as “the initiative in an action; an example for others to follow.”
Fighting against trauma in the workplace begins at the top and trickles down. It is essential for leaders to be resilient and encourage a culture of safety, empathy and respect. While there is still a lot to be learned about trauma, we know it can have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental, emotional and physical health.
Resilient leaders can raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of trauma, and provide resources for employees who may be struggling. Trauma affects an individual’s ability to perform at work, so rather than hoping it will magically disappear, successful leaders empower employees to discover ways to manage it.
One of the best ways to support your employees is to help them build resilience. By building resilience you create an environment that is safe and equipped to support employees who have experienced trauma. Ensure your leadership team follows suit by showing your employees they are valued and that you can be responsive to each of their unique needs.
Start by hiring a leadership keynote speaker who will assist you with trauma-informed workplace training and guide you through establishing trauma-informed care in the workplace.
Creating a Trauma-Informed Workplace
Unfortunately, in our world today, trauma is everywhere, and people are facing challenges they never could have predicted. Your employees may still be fighting battles that will affect them far into the future.
Can you really do anything about this at work?
Yes, it turns out you can! While it may not be as much as you would hope, you can do more than you realize. Since many people spend half their waking hours working, giving them the gift of compassion will benefit all areas of their personal and professional life.
Let’s jump into a few vital ways you can support your employees.
Increase Awareness About the Trauma-Informed Workplace
If you’re unsure where to begin, go back to the basics. As with any program you roll out, start with clear policies that document your expectations. Collaborate with other leaders in your company to find every opportunity where a trauma-informed approach can be incorporated into your current practices.
Additionally, hire a leadership or mental health keynote speaker to provide trauma-informed workplace training. They will work with you as you walk your employees through what to expect, the resources available and real-life examples they can apply to their work, home and life.
These ideas may be new and scary to some employees, so it is important to display patience and understanding.
Encourage them to participate in assistance programs, which provide support and resources for employees dealing with trauma. Highlight the importance of getting help before the effects of the trauma consume them. Let them know you have their best interests at heart.
We’ve all seen employee safety videos about what to do in an earthquake or a fire, but what if the disaster we are trying to protect them from is emotional? By focusing your attention on providing a safe and supportive environment emotionally as well as physically, you will be well on your way to creating a trauma-informed workplace.
Keep in mind, the theories behind creating a trauma-informed workplace are more difficult to grasp than the stop, drop and roll or evacuation drills we are used to. Give employees time to appreciate the resources you are offering them and they will eventually see the benefits.
In addition to increased happiness and well-being, your employees will be even more committed to and engaged in your business.
Promote Trustworthiness and Transparency
When establishing safety for employees, trustworthiness and transparency are essential. By creating a space where employees feel comfortable discussing their experiences and expressing their needs, you show them they matter and that you empathize with what they’ve been through.
When employees feel safe and respected, they will openly communicate with their leaders and co-workers. Not only does this promote healing, it creates a collaborative environment that recognizes that while trauma will happen, you are ready to help confront it in a healthy and productive way.
If you feel comfortable, sharing a personal story about your own trauma can foster a deeper connection and elevate your employees’ trust in you.
Support with Resilience Development to Address Trauma at Work
There’s that resilience word again. And while we know that building resilience is the best way to deal with trauma, it cannot be done alone.
By promoting a resilient culture at work and bringing in a resilience keynote speaker, you help employees heal from past traumas and build the skills they need to bounce forward through future challenges. This may even have a ripple effect: focusing on grappling with trauma at work may encourage employees to deal with it in their personal lives as well.
Your efforts today will create an environment that enables employees to thrive, and your business to flourish far into the future.
Empower Leaders to Create a Safe Work Environment Through Trauma-Informed Workplace Training
Recognizing that becoming a trauma-informed workplace should be incorporated into your strategic plan is the critical first step towards improvement. By implementing the tips you’ve learned, initiating trauma-informed workplace training and working with a leadership keynote speaker, you will show your employees that they are more than pawns on your company’s chessboard. They are kings and queens to guard and protect.
And when you share your secrets to success with others, you will play a huge part in creating a trauma-informed world that is just as supportive and safe as your workplace.