A Human Workplace Olympia on May 31: Psychological Safety

Join co-hosts Ellis Starrett and Anne Hansen to explore psychological safety, which is foundational to the success of any human workplace.

Based on the research and teachings of Harvard University’s Dr. Amy Edmondson, we will explore what psychological safety is, the impact on teams in the workplace, and behaviors that create and maintain psychological safety with others. This will be a thought provoking and highly interactive experience.

Register today to reserve your seat for this gathering. When you register, your email will be added to the mailing list for A Human Workplace.

We welcome all participants; please let us know if you need accommodations. Email Renee.Smith@gov.wa.gov with your speicific needs. Thank you and we look forward to you joining us.

To learn more on Psychological Safety check out these links:

  • A short video with Amy Edmondson explaining concepts of psychological safety.

  • A 30 minute podcast on the subject

  • Academic publication of Amy’s research on psychological safety if you really want to dig into the research! ;)

Meet your co-hosts:

Anne Hansen is the Leadership Development Manager at the Department of Enterprise Services, providing learning solutions for state agencies and local governments, including Leading Teams.

Ellis Starrett is a Learning and Development Facilitator at DES and provides Leading Teams facilitation throughout the state. Ellis is an experienced human resources professional with a background in consulting on a range of organizational and HR issues. They have experience leading project teams across Washington State and have supervised teams while with the state and in the private sector. They are committed to making a positive impact for the people of Washington State. Ellis is especially passionate about creating greater access to employment and services for marginalized communities.

A Human Workplace Seattle Launches May 17!

Good news!! We are thrilled to announce that A Human Workplace Seattle hold its first gathering on May 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Seattle Municipal Tower.

Bad news: The gathering is already sold out! :(

But the good news is this tells us that interest and need for this community and gathering in Seattle is high. And we need to find a larger venue! We are working on that.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to be placed on a waiting list for May 17 or on the Seattle mailing list for future gatherings, please send an email to humanworkplaceseattle@gmail.com

What to expect at A Human Workplace Seattle

A Human Workplace community gathers to explore, learn, and encourage each other to better practice and advocate for a more loving, human workplace. We are a growing community of like-minded people in Seattle-King County who want to learn, share, and be challenged to to be more human-centered in our work. The focus of A Human Workplace is to shift from fear-based to love-based leadership and teams where real value is delivered and improvement happens continually out of care for people.

Plans for the First Gathering

At the May 17 first gathering, participants will be introduced to A Human Workplace and explore the two primary human emotions - love and fear. Love at work is experienced as acceptance, respect and a sense of belonging. Fear at work is experienced as indifference, rejection, uncertainty and worry. How do we scare people at work? How do we create workplaces that embrace loving, human-centered leadership and teams? Renee Smith, founder of A Human Workplace, will share the origin story of this movement.

Regular host is and lead organizer is Jeannie Macnab and co-hosts are Christina Chang, Marcus Stubblefield and Judy Wells.

The Way We Gather

This community is an open, safe, and welcoming space for all. The goal is for everyone to feel included in this conversation because we all have so much to learn from each other to make us more loving humans. A Human Workplace gathering is characterized by relationships, reflection, dialogue, and active exploration. Don’t expect to be talked at but expect to talk with each other to discover and affirm what’s most important about being human together at work and beyond.

ICSEW Co-Sponsors New Quarterly Workshop Series with Amy Leneker

Are you feeling stressed at work, at home, or both?  If so, you’re not alone!  According to the Center for Disease Control, stress levels in American workers are at an all-time high. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.  

In this workshop, Stress Less – Minimize Stress to Maximize Potential - join Amy to explore stress in the workplace – what causes it, how to recognize it, and how to deal with it.  She will also explore happiness and shed light on what makes us happy and how we can lead more fulfilling, satisfying lives at work and beyond.

Leave with a personalized toolkit to minimize stress that you can begin implementing immediately.  Register your team and attend together!

Join the ICSEW and Amy Leneker in the first of a series of workshops on June 24, 2019, at the Lacey Community Center. Cost is $200 for government or non-profits with early registration at $150 until May 24!

Register here through EventBrite.

Register Now for the April Gathering of A Human Workplace

Creating Cultures of Resilience: How and Why to Build Inclusive, Collective Spaces

Register today for April's gathering of A Human Workplace Olympia co-hosted by Justin Chan, DSHS DDA, EDI Administrator, who will guide us through an extended session to explore how and why we create resilient spaces. Join us April 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in the Helen Sommers Building in Olympia.

Building on our work together in March, he will help us consider:

  • Why do we talk about inclusion, exclusion and microaggressions?

  • What systems and assumptions are in place to create microaggressions?

  • How do we shift power dynamics so that we create a loving environment that lifts all voices?

Last session we needed more time. And we acknowledge that the dominant system does not usually allow enough time for marginalized communities to have voice nor for others to adequately understand different experiences. This gathering is an effort at creating more time and space.

Register today for the April gathering of A Human Workplace Olympia!

Justin Chan is the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Administrator and Tribal Liaison. As a first generation Taiwanese American and a dedicated community leader, Justin sits on the Board of Directors for the Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment c4 (APACE) and worked for the Department of Early Learning as the Interim Equity and Professional Development Administrator focused on racial equity and ECEAP, our state funded preschool program for three and four year-old children with low income.

He has worked along side leaders and communities, leading numerous racial equity action planning and “normalizing the conversation” training with staff and leadership. He has helped provide staff with the tools and knowledge so they can feel capable of planning, implementing, and tracking equity programs while engaging with diverse communities every step of the way.

This Community

Please remember that this meeting is an open, safe, and welcoming space for all! We want everyone to feel included in this conversation because we all have so much to learn from each other to make us more loving humans. Let's take another step together in our journey to eliminate fear and help each other be the best coworkers we can be!

Register today to reserve your seat for this gathering. When you register, your email will be added to the mailing list for A Human Workplace.

We welcome all participants; please contact us to request accommodations. Email Renee.Smith@gov.wa.gov with your specific needs. Thank you and we look forward to you joining us.

What we learned about microaggressions, advocacy, and allyship

This was written in collaboration with Ayanna Colman and Jeannie Macnab.

On Friday, March 22nd at A Human Workplace Olympia, state employees and guests came together to discuss the topic of microaggressions and how they can easily show up in the workplace.

We began with a “Freaky Friday” exercise to explore how someone else might feel in common workplace situations that could be potentially challenging based on one’s marginalized identities or intersectionality. This exercise was based on real people and scenarios.  With 60,00 people in State government, any of these scenarios are possible throughout state agencies.  Imagining ourselves in someone else’s shoes taps into our natural empathy. It also provides an opportunity to consider how to be a supportive presence for someone who may need an ally.

We talked about how to identify moments of isolation, which can create fear, and then ideas for how to respond in these situations. Our presenter, Ayanna Colman of Results Washington, walked us through a deconstructed definition of microaggressions, their impacts on us as a community, and shared the perspective that maybe it’s time to become “accomplices” (people who take action) rather than simply “allies” (taking a position with little to no risk of personal impact).

It was noted that the impact of microaggressions include:

·         Reinforcement of “othering”

·         Establishment of privileges where the microaggressor feels safe because there are no consequences

·         Personally damage to the self-image of the recipient

·         Professionally demoralizing

·         Institutionally destructive - not addressing microaggressions creates fear and toxicity

There is ample research demonstrating that people of color and women, particularly women of color, experience discriminatory language and practices at work. And it was noted by Ayanna that men can also experience microaggressions known as misandry.

As a group, we openly discussed various workplace scenarios and debated whether they were microaggressions. We discussed whether and how we would take action to create a more loving space for employees who may feel targeted by others based on characteristics beyond their control. It was clear from both the scenarios and the discussion that there are multiple interpretations of any situation and that microaggressions are often subtle.  Different perspectives were expressed, which was at times uncomfortable, but the environment was respectful and safe as we learned together.

Some ideas for what we can do:

·         It is important to get curious and ask questions. 

·         If someone makes a comment that sounds like a microaggression, ask them what they mean. 

·         Try to find out more information and be prepared to step up and let them know if you or others are offended by what they said.

·         Be willing to step up and offer support and explain why you are doing so.  

·         Ask the person you are talking to if they are willing to learning more?

·         This resource can help you learn about diversity and how to be an ally (or an accomplice!) in the workplace: http://diverseeducation.com/

This workshop was just a beginning. There was widespread agreement on the need for more time to explore, share, listen, and learn. One feature of a dominant culture is “hurrying” and not giving ample time to explore and understand the experiences of marginalized communities. So we want to invest more time to listen and learn.

We will continue the discussion, exploration, and learning in April when Justin Chan, DSHS DDA EDI Administrator will co-host A Human Workplace Olympia on April 26, and further still in May, more details to come on that.

What We Learned About Gratitude: "Nya:wëh sgë:nö’" … “Thanks for being”

We gathered on February 22 for A Human Workplace Olympia to talk about “Gratitude All Year Long.” Gratitude is universal – words of thanks are present in every language and many cultures have rituals, symbols, practices, and celebrations to express their thanks, appreciation and gratitude.  In some cultures, an expression of gratitude is an acknowledgement of a person’s very existence and a wish for their well-being.  For example, in the Seneca Nation, “nya weh sgeno” translates to thank you for being or I am thankful you are well. 

On February 22nd, we explored expressions of gratitude and how gratitude allows us to be present in the world and acknowledge others’ presence in the world. Ultimately, to be grateful is to be mindful.  Being grateful requires paying attention and noticing what is happening in the present moment. 

We began this session by acknowledging that the meeting was taking place on the traditional land of the Nisqually people.  Then, we introduced ourselves to each other and shared one thing we are grateful for – family, health, and nature were common themes.  One person expressed her gratitude for the existence of coffee and many around the room could relate to this!  We also talked about how gratitude is expressed cross-culturally noting that there are many beautiful expressions of gratitude around the world. 

What is gratitude?

We talked about some of the research on gratitude.  Robert Emmons, PhD, the most pre-eminent researcher on gratitude says that there are two components of gratitude.  It is an affirmation of goodness in the world and in our lives.  The second part of gratitude is recognizing that this goodness comes from outside ourselves.  The research on gratitude is very clear that gratitude is good for us!  It can also be cultivated through practice.  This short video from the Templeton Foundation lays out the many benefits of gratitude, including reduced anxiety and depression, better sleep, and increasing both optimism and resilience. 

 The Greater Good Science Center and UC Berkley provides an overview of the what and why gratitude

Gratitude practices

There are numerous ways to practice gratitude.  We tried out two of them.  First, everyone wrote down ten things they are grateful for.  This is known as gratitude journaling.  Writing down three things you are grateful for 21 days has been demonstrated to increase optimism!  It is also a great way to reflect on your day and if you share what you’re grateful for with others, it’s a way of connecting with them.

We also wrote a gratitude letter.  This practice involves thinking about someone at work who has done something that we appreciated but had never thanked them for and writing them a thank you letter.    The act of writing the letter is beneficial in and of itself, but the real benefit comes from delivering the letter (in person!) to its intended recipient.  Check out Dr. Emmon’s article on 10 ways to become more grateful. 

To those who were with us on the 22nd, don’t forget follow up on delivering your gratitude letter!

Gratitude at work

There are also specific ways that gratitude can be practiced and cultivated at work.  Shawn Achor, PhD, CEO at GoodThink and happiness researcher, suggests starting meetings by saying:

•       one thing you are personally grateful for,

•       one thing you are grateful for about the team, and

•       something you are grateful for about one member of the team.

In a different approach, a company called Lucidchart created a gratitude org chart that contains a note of thanks for every single employee from their manager.  Karl Sun, the founder and CEO at Lucid describes this and other ways to cultivate gratitude at work in this article.

Many of the practices described in Sun’s article are free or low-cost, easy, and they make a difference!  When employees are thanked by their supervisor, they experience a stronger sense of self-worth and self-efficacy.  Gratitude at work also increases trust and the likelihood that people will help each other out.

You too can practice gratitude!  The beauty of gratitude is that it benefits everyone involved.  Those who express gratitude feel good and so do those who receive it.  Who are you going to thank?  Can you take two minutes right now to express gratitude to a coworker?

SIGN UP TODAY to receive notice of events, news, resources, blog posts, and more!

Register Now for March’s A Human Workplace Olympia

March 22 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. join us at the Helen Sommers Building 106-11th Ave SW, Suite G015, Olympia for an experiential workshop on, “Advocacy and Allyship: Bringing Out The Love In Moments Of Fear”

A key part of work life is our daily interactions with coworkers. We have typical conversations about the work itself, then we also have experiences with each other in the break room or during a lunch walk. These shared moments can bring joy and collegiality to our work. But what happens when a conversation or an experience ends up hurting or offending someone? How do we respond to incidents when we are insulted? What should we do when we observe someone else being hurt by remarks or actions?

For the March gathering of A Human Workplace Olympia, we explore what it feels like to experience words and actions that cause some level of fear, even if we are in a generally positive, even loving environment.

Ayanna Colman, Senior Peformance Adviser with Results Washington, will lead this gathering. Ayanna will present information regarding workplace micro-aggressions often experienced by marginalized communities (women, people of color, people of different faiths, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, etc). She will share the challenges and barriers that marginalized groups may face in the workplace.

Then she will lead us through various scenarios to discuss our reactions as well as to explore options for responding as an ally when someone is uncomfortable, hurt, or something doesn't feel quite right. We will wrap up our session thinking about resources and tools we can use to overcome those moments of fear to bring about a more loving work environment. Walk away better prepared to create a more human workplace for all!

For more information and registration check out the event here.

Welcome Jeannie Macnab!

Jeannie Macnab joins A Human Workplace and our efforts to Make Government More Human at Results Washington. Jeannie will serve for six months as a Workplace Transformation Intern to fulfill the requirements for a Masters in Transformational Leadership at Seattle University. She will focus on conducting more primary research interviews, leading the launch of A Human Workplace Seattle, gathering related resources to share on the website, and writing for the blog. Jeannie brings 25 years of experience and has worked extensively in local government in the health, human services, education and criminal justice systems. 

In her current role as the Trust, Safety & Inclusion Manager for the King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget, Jeannie is responsible for workplace culture, employee engagement, cross-team collaboration, and business planning. 

A native of New Zealand, Jeannie is a naturalized US citizen and has also lived in France and India.  She currently resides in Seattle. She is married and the parent of two energetic girls.  In her (limited!) free time, Jeanine has a long-standing yoga practice, coaches a girls’ soccer team, is an avid reader, loves to travel and is a “foodie” with a passion for cooking healthy and delicious food.

Welcome Jeannie!

Gratitude Topic for February Gathering

In American culture, it is common to talk about giving thanks and being grateful in the month of November.  It turns out, there are huge personal and professional benefits to practicing gratitude all year round!

In this session of A Human Workplace Olympia, join this supportive community to learn about the physical and psychological benefits of gratitude.  We’ll talk about how gratitude promotes happiness and wellbeing in people and workplaces.  You’ll assess your disposition toward gratitude and we’ll try out several gratitude practices.

Evidence based practices are drawn from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley, GoodThink, and The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jeannie Macnab, Workplace Transformation Intern with Results Washington and A Human Workplace, will cohost this gathering.

This workshop will be held Friday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Helen Sommers Building, Room G015. RSVP today to reserve your seat for this gathering. When you register, your email will be added to the mailing list for A Human Workplace. For more information check out www.MakeWorkMoreHuman.com

We welcome all participants; please contact us to request accommodations. Email Renee.Smith@gov.wa.gov with your speicific needs. Thank you and we look forward to you joining us. 

Thanks to Denise Matayoshi Miño

Sincere thanks go to Denise Matayoshi Miño for her dedication, tireless efforts, and insightful contributions to the development of A Human Workplace this fall. As a Workplace Transformation Intern, Denise helped with research, gathering design, strategic thinking, program planning, and meeting logistics. She wrote a powerful blog post and stretched to write some other pieces too. Denise offered crucial insights for diversity and inclusion strategies. By speaking from the heart with me about her experiences as a woman of color she helped me become a better leader. I’m excited for her next career steps and the impact she will make in her new role. Thank you Denise for your example and passion for making work more human!

Denise Headshot.jpg

Thank you Denise!

Your love and hard work behind the scenes touched so many people. <3

Next Gathering of A Human Workplace Olympia Set for January 25

A new year has begun and 2019 is certain to hold both times of challenge and stress as well as times of ease and peace for each of us. Those ups and downs are a normal part of the human experience, but we can adopt practices to cultivate resilience when faced with hard times.

In this session of A Human Workplace Olympia, join this supportive community to learn about the impacts of stress and the benefits of responding to stress using resilience practices. Become familiar with multiple practices, test one out, share insights with others, and make a personal resilience plan for 2019.

Evidence based practices are drawn from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley.

Details: This workshop will be held Friday, January 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Helen Sommers Building, Room G015.

To attend register here. Space is limited!

Next Meeting of A Human Workplace Olympia is December 14

The next gathering of A Human Workplace Olympia will be December 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Helen Sommers Building in Olympia.

The topic will be: Bring Your Whole Self to Work.

In a truly Human Workplace, every one of us is valued for our diverse identities, experiences, and interests. Those things are not separate from our work because we are not seaparte from our work. These infuse our work with unique insights and contributions. 

But it can be really hard for us to see these links for our own work and for others, especially when we are told by society to separate the personal from the professional. Consider...

What do you bring into your work from growing up in the South or from your Hispanic heritage or from having a disabled brother?

What insights come from your skills at canning or spelunking or training horses?

What books are you reading, what films are you watching, what music are you listening to that inspire how you work?

In this experiential workshop, join us to explore identities, experiences, and interests as sources of brilliance and contributions. Through individual, paired, and small group activities, reflect on and identify how these inform your way of working, and then value the contributions that come from this diversity for yourself and for others.

See more clearly the value we get by bringing our full selves to work and of welcoming others to do the same.

RSVP by registering here to reserve your place in the workshop. 

Join us at a Workshop in Tacoma, Seattle, or San Diego!

If you are in Tacoma, Seattle or San Diego in the next two weeks, join us for one of these events each focused on bringing more humanity to the workplace.

October 29 - November 1 - AME (Association for Manufacturing Excellence,) San Diego 2018 International Conference, with numerous inspiring and educational sessions. Our session Thursday November 1 is: "Make Work More Human: The People Side of Quality Improvement." The secret to any Lean management system is less fear and more… love! Hope to see you there.

November 6 and 7, 2018 - Hope to see you at the 7th annual Washington State Government Lean Transformation Conference sponsored by the Governor and put on by Results Washington. The theme is "Improving the Washingtonian’s experience…
one human at a time". The two day conference features dozens of interactive sessions attended by more than 2,000 public servants learning principles and methods to improve value delivered for all Washingtonians. So many terrific sessions to attend! We will be offering two, "A Human Workplace: What’s at the Center of Your Work?” and “A Human Workplace: Does Love Belong at Work?" Hope to see you there!

November 7, 2018 -The first meeting in Seattle of the HumansFirst.Club will take place on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond from 4-7 p.m. This interactive experience will include a panel of leaders sharing about putting humans first at work. Then engage in dialogue with participants about how to ignite and accelerate a shift in organizational cultures to value humans first. 

A Human Workplace: Olympia Meets October 26

“Through work, human beings earn for themselves and their families, make a difficult world habitable, and with imagination, create some meaning from what they do and how they do it.” – David Whyte, poet and author

Our public service can be difficult and heartbreaking, and it can be thrilling and heartwarming.

For millennia, poets have helped human beings take solace in struggles and joy in triumphs. We too can benefit from poetry. Whether we find ourselves confounded by or victorious in our work in this moment, a poet’s imagination can help us find meaning in our public service just as it is.

On Friday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, A Human Workplace: Olympia will gather at the Helen Sommers Building, 106 11th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98504, Room #G015 B&C.

We will reflect on and explore work through the medium of poetry. As always, our approach will be thought-provoking, accepting, interactive, challenging, and human-friendly. Take away insights and encouragement to inspire your work and sustain your public service.

No prior experience with poetry is necessary to participate and find value from this experience! :)

Please RSVP to reserve your space.

For questions about event access or to request accommodations please contact Renee Smith at 360-764-3166 or renee.smith@gov.wa.gov. Two weeks advance notice when possible will allow us to provide seamless access.

A Human Workplace Moves to Results Washington

On Monday, October 1, A Human Workplace moved from the Department of Enterprise Services to join Results Washington. Renée Smith, founder of A Human Workplace, is thrilled for the opportunity to devote herself full time to this effort to make public service more human across Washington State government. In her new role as Director of Workplace Transformation at Results Washington she will continue her human-centered research and thought-leadership, expand the resources and development opportunities for state leaders, teams, and lean advisers, and extend the Human Workplace community to touch more Washingtonians and workplaces everywhere. For more information please email Renée at renee.smith@gov.wa.gov.

A Human Workplace: Olympia announces September 28th Gathering

Join us in Olympia to explore, discuss, learn and share what it means to make work more human with increased love and decreased fear. We meet monthly in person in Olympia. 

Next gathering is September 28, 2018, from 10 a.m. - 12 noon at 1500 Jefferson St SE in Olympia, WA, for an interactive workshop Exploring Empathy and Inclusion

A Human Workplace should be an inclusive workplace that deeply values people and works to make sure that all people know their full participation is welcomed and needed.

At this gathering we will continue to explore practical applications of empathy by taking a deep dive into the topic of Inclusion. What is inclusion? Why is it essential? How do we create an inclusive workplace?

Join together with other public servants (and perhaps a few guests from the private sector!) where we will:

  • Meet and connect meaningfully with colleagues
  • Learn about inclusion
  • Practice new skills to help create inclusion
  • Decide how to apply these insights on the job
  • Gain encouragement to make work more human

To attend, please sign up here to reserve your seat. Hope to see you there!

A Human Workplace: Olympia to meet August 10th on Human-Centered Design

Join us on August 10, 2018, from 10 a.m. - 12 noon at 1500 Jefferson St SE in Olympia, WA, for a hands-on, interactive workshop on improving experiences through design thinking.

Register today for  Human-Centered Design: Improving Experiences.

Building on the May gathering when we learned about and practiced empathy, now take that empathetic awareness and apply it to a design challenge. You’ll work through each phase of the design thinking process from empathy to testing a prototype. This process is fun, fast, and engaging. And these skills and practices can be readily applied to designing both customer and team member experiences.

We welcome back Jessica Dang from Results Washington to facilitate and guide us through this human-centered design workshop.

Feel free to share this invitation with others, and do register to RSVP so we can prepare materials.

A Human Workplace Meets Next July 13th in Olympia

A Human Workplace: Experiencing the Science of Awe

It's summer and a perfect time to gather outside on the East Plaza Lawn of Washington State's Capitol Campus in Olympia (rain or shine!) for July's Human Workplace to explore the science of awe and its benefits

Join us Friday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on the Washington State Capitol Campus in Olympia on the East Plaza Lawn (over the Plaza Garage.)

We humans experience awe when we encounter nature, art, vistas, large structures, and more. And fortunately, the state capitol has all these! Studies show that experiencing awe can promote altruism, well-being, calm, collaboration, and kindness. When we have a sense of something greater than ourselves, we are more cooperative, positive and helpful towards others.

At this meeting we will experience inspiration in our surroundings and ponder how that can foster thoughtful, generous, and compassionate actions toward others as well as support personal well-being. Experience awe in a walk-about on the beautiful campus with a colleague, reflect on this experience with other participants, and consider how these insights can be practically applied to situations of conflict, pressure, exclusion, and disconnection at work to create a more effective and human workplace. 

Space is unlimited this time! So feel free to bring your colleagues but please pre-register here so we create enough materials.

 For more information on A Human Workplace, check out: https://www.makeworkmorehuman.com

It'll be an AWEsome experience. ;)