Creating a values-based workplace

WHGNE’s work is focused on cultural change that leads us towards gender equality. We believe this good work starts with us, so we have developed a set of values that guide how we work together as a team, and how we work with others in our community. We feel it is important that we model what these values look like in practice, and encourage you to think about whether they are applicable to your own setting. These practices focus on what each member of our team can do to support our feminist way of working.

What do we see as valuable behaviour for individuals in our staff team?

  • We each practice self-awareness and bring a willingness to uncover/investigate/address our own biases (and understand our use of power).
  • We each create an environment where people feel safe to bring their whole, authentic selves that enable each of us to continually participate, listen, negotiate and learn.
  • We each listen with generosity and approach the opinions and behaviours of our colleagues with curiosity and a genuine desire to understand (rather than with judgment)
  • Each of us is courageous and brings authenticity to our work and our interactions with colleagues.
  • Each of us brings playfulness and creativity to our work that allows us to relax into new ways of thinking and behaving
  • We each practice respectful and accountable collaboration by recognising individual and collective achievements and creating space for others to lead
  • Each of us acknowledges our individual privilege and our ability to influence and we remain accountable and practice gratitude

Each of us commits to the following valuable behaviours.

Click the arrow to learn about what these behaviours look like in our practice.

In practice, this looks like:
  • being aware of my own changing limitations, insecurities and points of vulnerability
  • being aware of the ‘vibe’ in a room
  • taking time to practice self-care when I need it
  • taking time to practice collective self-care and co-regulation
  • being present in regular reflective practice
  • understanding and setting boundaries for myself and my work
  • being aware of my power in a situation and making sure that I am practicing the values laid out in our values statement.

In practice, this looks like:
  • modeling respectful behaviours
  • providing support to my colleagues (acknowledging our organisation’s awareness of vicarious trauma and directing my colleague for either internal or external support as needed)
  • make space for my colleagues to express their diverse thoughts, feelings, and opinions
  • listening to the diverse views of my colleagues before taking my space
  • acknowledging the diversity in what creates a ‘safe space’ for individual members of my team
  • preparing for collective reflection through a grounding exercise
  • providing opportunities for the team to de-brief
  • collective and peer-care
  • understanding and acknowledging when repair is needed

In practice, this looks like:
  • stopping to consider the context in which my colleague is speaking – and responding thoughtfully rather than reacting
  • when something a colleague says makes me feel uncomfortable, I stop to consider why this is, and respond with openness and curiosity rather than blame or anger
  • checking in with my colleagues, particularly in times of increased stress
  • taking opportunities to develop my interpersonal and conversational skills, particularly for tricky conversations

In practice, this looks like:
  • being honest about any gaps in my knowledge
  • being open about my vulnerabilities or when I am just not feeling my best
  • preparing for collective work through a grounding exercise
  • a commitment to restorative relationships
  • recognising that being courageous can lead to uncomfortable conversations and places and committing to moving through these places with care

In practice, this looks like:
  • taking our work seriously, but making sure to remember when to laugh
  • where appropriate, providing/participating in inclusive, light-hearted conversations/stories
  • using technology in creative and interactive ways
  • seeking out new ways of doing things
  • not limiting myself to doing things the ‘way we always have’
  • experimenting with new methods to deliver information, that may be better suited to the learning needs of my peers and our partners

In practice, this looks like:
  • ensuring everyone has the opportunity to speak without interruption, and facilitation of this practice if necessary
  • maintaining open and respectful lines of communication with colleagues, regardless of organisational position
  • recognizing and acknowledging that good intentions sit at the heart of collegial interactions, and proactively seeking clarification if feeling uncomfortable or not heard (see listening with generosity)

In practice, this looks like:
  • practicing an ‘attitude of gratitude’ for my social position, including my ability to work flexibly and negotiate based on my needs
  • remaining respectful of the requirements of my work and to those who have invested their trust in me
  • keeping my focus on the long-term, systemic goals of our work, while recognising the inherent privilege in being able to engage in long-term work
  • Being mindful of the spaces that I move in, and how my presence can impact those spaces
How we will remain accountable to these values (as individuals and as a team):
  • We will display and showcase these values on our SharePoint and office walls
  • We will visit these values as a team in our reflective practice sessions
  • We will visit these values in our support meetings with line manager / annual career planning sessions
  • We will encourage personal and professional critical reflection across our team (this is not one individual’s job)
  • We will respectfully challenge (calling in as opposed to calling out) behaviours that don’t reflect our organisational values
  • We will showcase our organisational values and feminist approach to leadership through Board and staff recruitment
  • We will showcase our organisational values and feminist approach to leadership through our strategic planning