Many of us are familiar with the term Trauma. We hear it mentioned in relation to the exceptional work undertaken by doctors and nurses up and down the country who help to rebuild lives after a distressing event such as a car accident, stabbing or physical injury. We are also familiar with the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This term became well known as we begun to learn more about the stories of brave members of the armed forces who need help to recover following experiences on the front line.
The concept of Psychological Safety is surfacing increasingly in our work. People learn and perform best when they feel psychologically safe. In environments where one feels unsure or hesitant about suggesting or trying new ideas, we find that learning and creativity become suppressed. Psychological safety in individuals has been defined as an employee’s sense of being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences.
Over the course of each year, various HR themes become hot topics. One such theme is the gender pay gap. As we know, the headlines are that UK companies with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap data by April 2018 or the end of March for the public sector. It is well publicised that some sectors have a bigger gap than others. For example, recent University audits indicate a pay disparity of more than 20 per cent. The BBC has made its own publicity about its quandary.
A few years ago, I was invited to mediate in a case where two female Consultants from an Acute Trust had fallen out. Both Consultants had been drafted in to help at a local hospice. There was a dispute about the handover process from one Consultant Sarah, to the other, Eva. Somehow, Eva who had just started her shift hadn’t registered that 67-year old Mr. Smith was allergic to morphine despite his notes indicating this.
Sleep deprivation is affecting an increasing number of people who are embroiled in conflict. I recently asked 72 people who had been engaged in the process of workplace mediation in the NHS on a one-to-one or team basis about the impact of conflict on their sleep. An overwhelming number of 64 commented that their sleep had been affected in a moderate or significant way. One person from the North chose to use his periods of insomnia to send emails to colleagues at 3.00am voicing his discontent with how he felt he had been treated. The business case for workplace mediation in the NHS has suddenly been bolstered.
During the summer of 2016, I trained to become a Practitioner of the Lumina Psychometric tool. A CEO has recently used the tool as part of a recruitment process and has been suitably impressed at how it helped him to make a better-informed appointment. Based on the ‘Big 5’ and the best of ‘Jung’, the Lumina tool is unique because it avoids stereotyping whilst communicating personal preferences using memorable colours. It is excellent for gaining an insight into how one might work effectively with others. Think Myers Briggs plus!
Before I get to the text about the main subject of this missive, a relatively new term emerged to the public this week. The term is ‘callous unemotional traits’. This is the term that psychiatrists give to a set of symptoms that they see in some children – children who go on to be over-represented in prison populations and sometimes, in extreme cases, become what we call ‘psychopaths’.