WHO Respectful Workplace Day 2017
On 7th December 2017, WHO Country Office Maldives observed Respectful Workplace Day as part of global observance across all levels of WHO with the objective of promoting a safe, enjoyable and productive workplace through communication, engagement and positive reinforcement between colleagues. With a team of twenty staff, Maldives is a small but strong team called as “MMT- Marvellous Maldives Team” experiencing warm fellowship inside and outside the workplace by operating as a close-knit family.
Working with the team and staff association, WR planned the activities for the day as the staff pre-divided themselves as Teams ‘Iceberg’, ‘DISC’, ‘It Starts with You’ and ‘Digital Dudes’. Each group was given the free hand to creatively express what a Respectful Workplace meant to them. As motivation for the teams, prizes for these presentations were proposed.
Team One, “ICEBERG” joined together with Team four “It starts with you”. The teams creatively performed a skit which showcases real-life examples from our office, an eye-opener for all the staff. The team created scenarios where team members said or did something to show disrespect towards one another, and held up boards pointing out coinciding positive responses to each of those negative actions. ICEBERG concept was incorporated into the skit via Prezi, metaphorically explaining that knowing about someone is a difficult task as their problems maybe as deep rooted as an iceberg. We cannot base our actions on what we see from them on the surface.
The second Group named DISC standing for “Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious” explained this psychological phenomenon explaining that it is not our differences that divide us. Rather, it is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences that causes disrespect. The team divided their members into subcategories ‘Dolphin’, ‘Shark’, ‘Sea Urchin’ and ‘Whale’, with each sea animal listing out their dominant traits. The audience were then asked to associate themselves to one of these sea animals, based on their own similar traits. This had the team recognize and identify their own personalities and celebrate the differences between them.
The last team named “Digital Dudes” started off with an application-based smartphone questionnaire developed by the team on the do’s and don’ts of a respectful workplace. The questionnaire showed the real-time and anonymous responses of the team on screen to create a hype and healthy competition. Next the team showcased a video skit they had pre-recorded rein-acting what you shouldn't do versus what you should do to maintain a respectful workplace. Some examples acted out were Gender Equality, Learning from one another, courtesy politeness and kindness, encouraging behaviour.
WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur as part of his presentation conducted a quick quiz to determine whether the office has underlying respect issues that need to be addressed. Based on the results, the need to maintain respect, integrity and open communication in the workplace were highlighted. He advised the team to continue upholding excellence by practising active listening and deference, and also togetherness, as a family unit. His presentation concluded with a video message of Regional Director for WHO South East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, who reiterated actions to uphold utmost respect at organizational level.
Each of these presentations were concluded with positive feedback and observances by all team members and the judges. The judges gave remarks based on the topics, creativity and depiction of the messages, and also used these as the criterion to judge the winners. After much discussion, the WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur complimented all teams for their active participation, contribution and creativity. The judges then announced Team Two ‘DISC’ as the 3rd Place Winner and Team Three ‘Digital Dudes’ as the 2nd Runner-up. Both received gift hampers awarded on behalf of the Staff Association. Team ‘ICEBERG: It starts with you’ took the top position on the pedestal and winning a Free Dinner Night at a selected Restaurant for the whole team.
The day concluded with a group photo and lunch together as a team, reflecting on the day’s activities and actions that can be taken by the team to continue maintaining a respectful work environment. In this regard, two team members were selected as “Respect Enablers” ; lieutenants that share positive messages, encouragement and good vibes to fellow team members throughout the year. The Respectful Workplace day was surely an advantageous opportunity for the Marvellous Maldives team to build on our similarities while sustaining solidarity across our differences, reinforcing the core values of the organization.