So You Wanna Be an HPWO:
Characteristics, Barriers, Beginnings

Characteristics of a High-Performance Workplace

From The U.S. Department of Labor

•Employee Participation

• Employment Security Strategies

• Education, Training/Retraining, Skill Upgrading

• Gainsharing

• Safe, Flexible, Family-Friendly Workplace

Typical Barriers to Establishing Workplace Partnerships

From the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, "Working Together for PublicService

• Mistrust, often arising from a history of difficult workplace relationships, recent campaigns, impasses, or other conflicts

• Lack of skills for carrying on participative relationships. Parties otherwise fall back on skills common to hierarchical management or traditional labor-management relationships

• Failure to recognize that the partnership program must be developed in concert with all affected parties. It rarely works if it is only the idea of one group

• Continued reliance on formal aspects of personnel/labor relations, such as refusal to try new approaches, or reluctance to discuss issues necessary to service improvement

• Fear of job loss makes employees and some managers reluctant to join in problem-solving

• Union leaders unwilling to support the effort if a participative program ignores their role and is seen as an attempt to bust the union

• Mid-level managers or union officials who may feel their traditional roles or status threatened by the team-oriented and participative arrangements

How to Begin: Steps to Creating an HPWO Environment

The following bullet points were adapted from the U.S. Department of Labor.
For the full text and explanation of each point
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, "Working Together for Public Service"

• Start Small

• It's a Circle. [ the participative effort, and the trust that builds, can transfer from one area or project to another]

• Where You Start Depends On Where You Begin. [Every place has its own history and possibilities]

• Leadership Commitment

• Break with Past [Business] Habits

• Training

• Neutral Assistance

• Conflict Resolution

• Employment Security

• Respecting the Role of the Union

• Flexibility on Both Sides

• Increased Cohesion Within Each Side

• Changed Roles for Labor and Management in Collective Bargaining Relationships

• Success Can Come From Even the Poorest of Histories


Story Synopsis • So You Wanna Be an HPWO • Interviews with Workers
• Challenges to HPWO • On Leadership • Learn More About HPWO

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