“We at YWCA Calgary know when individuals gain and practice these foundational skills to help them cope and manage stress, they have the building blocks for better behavior and healthy relationships. They are better prepared to deescalate stressful situations in their personal lives and at work.” Tamera Van Brunt.
Q&A with Tamera Van Brunt, Program Director at Mindfulicity.
Mindfulicity plans to be the chosen psychological safety training for organizations that are looking to upskill their employees while preparing their culture for future workforce challenges.
Mindfulicity is a unique corporate online training program centered on the foundational day-to-day skills everyone can use when they find themselves confronted by stress at work.
Conversation with Tamera Van Brunt – Program Director, Mindfulicity.
Q: YW Calgary is dedicated to breaking cycles of domestic abuse, homelessness, and poverty for women and their families, how did they end up creating a corporate training program for creating psychological safety in the workplace?
A: In talking to our corporate partners, we heard they were struggling to manage conflict and stress in their workplaces – despite large investments in harassment and equity, diversity and inclusion training. They were telling us there was an overall lack of clarity on good employee behavior, and that they continue to be plagued by low productivity and absenteeism.
So we asked ourselves at YW Calgary, “What are we uniquely good at that could help employers with this issue?” And the answer was right under our noses. What many don’t know is that YW Calgary is known — nationally and internationally — for its expertise in counselling clients in high conflict to regulate their emotions to create a safe space for all. Our clinicians tackle this issue in an evidence-based, unique way with a focus on mindfulness and they continue to get amazing results. The outcomes prove true behaviour change. Ironically, it is these same skills that help people manage ALL kinds of stress and conflict.
When we realized that the skills YW Calgary teaches to its clients are strategies we all can use, we knew this training would help organizations deal with conflict and stress. Having strategies to help us regulate our emotions is key to addressing challenging conversations in the workplace
Q: Knowing organizations continued to struggle with managing stress and conflict in the workplace, what did you do to meet the need you saw in the corporate world?
A: We understood that our deep clinical expertise and effective counselling content proven to drive leading outcomes in counselling and clinical settings could address several of the 13 factors that contribute to a psychologically safe workplace.
We designed Mindfulicity to be easy to take and understand by all people, at every level of an organization – after all – if only leaders get the training, we can’t solve the whole problem. Mindfulicity is a series of ten online 15-min modules that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any device. That way, everyone can take a module and immediately put these skills into action to drive better relationships, communication, and decision-making.
Q: How does mindfulness play a role in creating psychologically safe workplaces?
A: I think it’s important to first clarify these two terms.
When we talk about mindful workplaces, what we mean is being fully present in the moment, not borrowing worries from your last meeting, or dreading the ones ahead. Psychologically safe workplaces are spaces where team members can feel safe to trust each other, speak up and take risks.
When we combine these two, what we have is a team or individuals who are able to regulate their emotions, communicate them effectively, and, as a result, better able to manage stress and conflict. In an environment such as this, employees feel they can trust their team, feel they are included and feel safe to ask questions. They are comfortable to challenge one another respectfully to achieve a better outcome without fear of being punished. Everyone can help support a psychologically safe workplace. Mindfulness is a practice we can incorporate in the workplace daily – it’s one of the main contributors to healthy workplaces.
Q: As a social enterprise, what is the community impact Mindfulicity aims to achieve?
A: This is what is most exciting to us – the social impact of Mindfulicity training in our community! We at YW Calgary know when individuals gain and practice these foundational skills to help them cope and manage stress, they have the building blocks for better behavior and healthy relationships. They are better prepared to deescalate stressful situations in their personal lives and at work.
It’s truly taking our expertise upstream from intervention to prevention. If more people can regulate their behavior, they are better prepared to address a stressful situation with empathy and kindness. Then maybe we see less people becoming aggressive and violent at work and at home. I think you’ll agree that’s the kind of employee training we can all get behind! Nothing motivates our team more than creating spaces for open conversations about psychological safety, workplace wellbeing, and shifting corporate culture.
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