One division of an organization was troubled. Signs of problems within the division included a higher than normal number of grievances and turnover of key staff. The staff of the division was unionized and management had the sense that they did not really understand the issues at play.
As a neutral third party, skilled at listening, we knew that we could flesh out the issues if we could engage the employees in a consultation process. We set up a safe, confidential, one-one-one consultation process with the employees of the division. When all employees had an opportunity to participate, we collated the data, themed the issues and prepared a report back to management and the employees, summarizing the information we heard without identifying any sources, and our recommendations for addressing the issues.
Some of the issues that the employees of this workplace were experiencing could be solved very quickly, and management did exactly that. Other issues were far more complex and involved some tough decisions. Management took those tough decisions. The employees responded to the transparency of management with the recommendations and its quick move to action. The grievance activity dropped off significantly, and more importantly the environment of the workplace became more positive. A lasting impact from this process was an enhanced level of trust and communication between the staff and management of this division.