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Front-line facilitated workshops

A high-stress work environment, undergoing management changes and facing the risk of worker burnout, is
becoming stronger and safer, thanks to a grant from the Niagara Community Foundation.
The 28 front-line workers and managers at the Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region were able to spend
two days with professional facilitators, looking at the workplace goals that unite them and identifying ways
in which they can support each other. The professional development opportunity was made possible by a
$2,280 grant, which covered the cost of the facilitators and an art therapy session.
The need for the professional development was identified when employees participated in a workplace
survey called Guarding Minds @ Work. The online diagnostic tool assessed 13 psychosocial factors that
make for healthy workplaces – including things such as workload management, growth and development, or
recognition and reward. At the Alzheimer Society, the survey revealed a gap between management scores
and worker scores, so the organization’s workplace health and safety committee came up with a plan.
The two days of facilitated workshops – one in the spring and one in the fall – allowed employees to draft
their own four-point “staff values” document, along with strategies for implementing them. Their values
include empathy, inclusion, trust and respect and acceptance. Employees say the experience helped
them create a culture of trust and teamwork, and the recognition that despite their different opinions and
perspectives, they all want the same thing: to serve their clients, the caregivers and families. Said one:
“It inspired me to consider what I can do to be a more positive part of our team environment.”

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