Inspiring Super-Network Policy Advice – Safe Conversations with Toyota GB

Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting our very first Inspiring Super-Network Policy Advice session, along with Rachel Grace, People Business Partner at Toyota GB Plc. 

Rachel shared more about Toyota GB’s “Safe Conversations” policy, and the processes that attendees would need to have in place to ensure that people feel they are in a safe space at work and are able to call out behaviour that they feel has undermined their dignity or respect, or seek advice and support.

As sponsors of the Inspiring e-zine, Toyota GB would like to share the policy that you, our subscribers, can use as a framework to adapt, amend, personalise and implement within your own businesses.

Visit this link to find Toyota GB’s Safe Conversations at Work Policy.

Please see the following six top tips for writing your own policy:


1. Be aware that your organisational context and culture will no doubt be different to the company who has shared it, and yours must be adapted to reflect that and also the change in culture you are aiming for. What works for them may not work for you, and you may not need a solution for a problem you don’t have.


2. Take the tip from Toyota that the language used should be easy to understand by people with all levels of literacy, rather than formal legal speak. Also use verbal and visual ways to express the content of the policy as well as the written form.


3. When writing it, think carefully about how you will launch it, communicate it and embed it, ensuring senior executives walk the talk, and with careful consideration of the timing. It can’t just sit on the shelf or the shared drive.


4. Ensure you have clearly defined the consequence of rejection of, deviation from or non compliance with the policy. This works best by trying to avoid rejection in the first place through “positive nudges” i.e applauding and praising those who support and conform to the policy or those who ask for more help to understand it or implement it.


5. With specific regards to the Safe Conversation policy it is recommended that first your business has a Respect and Dignity/Code of Conduct Policy. This will allow you to define the business’ and the employee’s obligations with regards to what constitutes appropriate behaviour in your organisation, and what will be classed as a disciplinary situation that is too serious for resolution in this way, and sets the background to having any “safe conversation”.


6. Ensure that all parties are aware of the requirement to engage with safe conversations in a mature and non defensive manner. This includes situations where an individual may be the perpetrator of the microaggression or “zinger”, or been the recipient of it, or been an observer who decides to call it out. It is essential to make it clear that it is not expected to always be the recipient who requests the safe conversation, and that cultures change when the team works together to reject inappropriate behaviour and change the norms of the group.

We wish you luck in creating your own policy and please do share any progress with us. We’d love to hear from you!

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