How do you Choose Credible Workplace Wellness Professionals? 7 Tips for Choosing Well

Posted on Thursday September 19, 2019 at 09:05AM

 As the movement towards safe and healthy work environments grows beyond the physical to include mental health and social well-being, it seems everyone and their dog is scrambling to put a program together to address the issues of workplace bullying, sexual harassment, respectful culture and psychological health and safety.

Increasingly, enlightened organizations are assessing workplace climate, obtaining training and implementing systems and prevention plans to address the issues. Often to do this effectively, outside consultants are brought in, which can have huge costs that sometimes provide less than stellar results. The last thing an organization wants to do is spend big dollars on glossy consulting firms and find there is no change, or worse, the policies they just spent ten thousand dollars on are not addressing all the subjects they are legislated to include.

Here are 7 things to consider when choosing a consultant:

1. Look the for their why. What drives them to do the work they do? You want to work with people who feel the same way you do about workplace health. Simon Sinek talks about the why of any business as the driving force, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” If the why of their proposal seems to be simply to get the job and your training and development dollars, they may be more concerned with ticking off the boxes than helping you to create a truly harmonious and healthy workplace culture.

2. Do they ‘have lived’ experience or stories about what they are teaching? It may not be their story, but stories of clients they’ve worked with or family members who have journeyed through an experience. Stories bring richness to any learning. If all they’ve got are facts and data the content will be flat, boring and uninspiring. The best trainers have both personal experience and scenarios from clients they’ve worked with.

3. Does their proposal demonstrate well-rounded approaches to their topics? Including expected AND prohibited conduct in respectful workplace training is an example of this, as is making a recommendation to include a clause in policies about how to handle vexatious complaints intended to harm or discredit an individual.

4. Are they willing to make recommendations outside their area of expertise? Although there may be areas of overlap, each practitioner has their specific area of expertise. While a single consultant may be able to handle the bulk of your health and safety needs, when it comes to workplace violence and harassment, psychological safety, incident investigations or domestic violence these are specialized areas requiring specific training. If the guy that teaches you confined spaces and first aid claims to be a workplace bullying expert that may be a red flag. There are specialists in various areas and credible contractors will be willing to admit when they are not the best fit to assist in an area. If they can make a referral to a trusted colleague with the skills you need, even better.

5. Testimonials and referrals are a businesses best advertising and consultants are no exception. If the professionals, you are considering aren’t using testimonials in their promotional materials ask for them. Or if you want to know who they’ve worked with in the past, ask for that information. Don’t be afraid to call previous clients they’ve contracted with to ask about the experience. Be sure to ask if they would be willing to work with them again.

6. The difference between training and presenting is the knowledge testing. Is testing to assure comprehension included in the training program? Are participants given certificates of completion? These are easy ways for employers to prove training that’s required by legislation or to back up corrective action when an incident occurs that goes against the teaching and company policy.

7. Are they offering added value? A complimentary policy review, or availability for follow up support are ways that a consultant can continue to offer value without charging additional dollars. The goal of a credible and right-minded consultant should always be to leave a client feeling that they got value beyond what was required. Sending a thank-you letter or card (through the mail, not e-mail) with the summary of outcomes from feedback forms is always a good practice.

At the end of the day, you need to trust your instincts when choosing who to work with. Choose someone who walks the talk. If someone is trash-talking the competition that is something to pay attention to.

We are in a social shift and it is going to take a tribe of heart-centered workplace wellness practitioners labouring collaboratively to create the changes required to see business and industry thrive and attract next generation talent.

Ruthann Weeks, founder of Harmony Training & Development is a human resource professional who believes that people should not have to sacrifice their physical and mental health to earn a living. Working as a Certified Information & Referral Specialist in the human service realm, she went on to obtain her certification as a Psychological Health and Safety Advisor.

Embracing Corporate Social Innovation, Harmony works with enlightened leaders to transform their workplaces and create psychologically healthy environments where employees thrive, and business prospers.

Call today for your complimentary consult:  780-460-1019

Author: Harmony Training & Development


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