trauma informed workplace
Six Principles of Trauma Informed Supervision
Leaders in trauma-informed organizations should understand the six principles of trauma-informed supervision. Safety; Trustworthiness and Transparency; Support and Connection; Collaboration and Mutuality; Empowerment, Voice, and Choice; Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues.
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- Ensure physical and psychological safety in the environment and relationships. Persons served (employees, not their leaders) determine whether safety is achieved.
- Focus on a sense of safety for staff. Defer to employees to define it.
- Ensure workplace safety standards are understood and followed.
- Make decisions transparently to ensure employees feel included in the process.
- Share transparently with staff about why and how decisions are made. Communicate regularly, openly, and honestly.
- Communication from leaders should be clear, regular, and transparent.
- Make time and space for staff members experiencing traumatic stress to support each other.
- Individuals can feel supported when connecting with others who lived a similar experience. Supervisors should support and encourage community connection for those who need it. Exercise caution if connections between some employees leave others without a common bond to draw them into a support system.
- Acknowledge that specific employee needs may change over time throughout their grieving process. Check in regularly to make sure you support them in the way they need in the present.
- Be alert to comments or behaviors that create a “my experience is more/less traumatic” dynamic and intervene to validate that all experiences are equally difficult.
- Be aware of power dynamics in gathering spaces.
- Rather than tell employees what to do, collaborate with them to determine and meet goals.
- Everyone has a role in supporting the trauma-informed needs of our community.
- Acknowledge employee experiences by ensuring they have a voice within the organization.
- Listen to feedback from employees. Offer positive support, encouragement, and tools. Facilitate rather than dictate.
- Create inclusive space and time for individuals to use their voice.
- Encourage individuals to identify and implement solutions.
- Ask employees to identify strengths or gifts that they can offer to the team or others.
- Recognize and address biases. Ensure policies and practices respond to the unique cultural, racial, and ethnic needs of the community you serve.
- Recognize how factors such as historical trauma, racial trauma, discrimination, and culture impact employees’ experiences of their work.
- Acknowledge the diverse experiences of different populations on our campus.
- Communicate intentionally to reinforce an environment of safety and inclusivity.
Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-informed Approach, SAMHSA, 2014
A Trauma-Informed Approach to Workforce, Vickie Choitz and Stacey Wagner, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, 2021
Trauma-Informed Supervision: Building Strong Relationships and Organizations, Anole Halper, Relias, 2020
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