I have wanted to set up support for employees in workplaces for a long time. I’ve had the idea and have been working on developing and testing it – and on my confidence to bring it forward – for quite a while. I’m hoping it’s an idea whose time has come.
First: Workshops for Employees
A while back, I designed a workshop series called Making Work Better aimed at helping employees in challenging workplace situations to:
• make their lives at work more pleasant and empowering
• learn communication skills for dealing with challenging interactions
• learn more about what makes a healthy workplace, and why – so they could be more empowered and effective when making suggestions about this at work
“It’s totally changed my life at work!”
I piloted the workshops with a group of people from various workplaces, and afterwards I asked them “How much difference did this make to your lives at work?” I thought they would say “Yeah, somewhat.”, but they said “Oh, it’s totally changed my life at work!”
“Oh.” I thought. “I guess I really have something here.”
So then, I faced what I call “the chasm of marketing and social media.” How to get people to come to the workshops?! How to use social media in a way that works? Where to start!? I did some research, but found the topic pretty overwhelming. It only started to make sense after I met with a marketing guy and, on his advice, started listening to seanwes.com podcasts.
So now, I’m finally starting to put my stuff out there. I am hoping there are enough people interested in taking the workshops (which I’m now developing into online learning modules) and for me to share the other resources I’d like to make available to people.
Affordable for Low-Paid Employees
Part of my whole idea is to make this kind of support affordable and accessible for people who don’t have executive salaries – especially those who are stuck in low paying jobs.
I used to work in administration, and later in the organizational consulting field, often as a support person for senior consultants. I saw directors and executives with ongoing access to expensive consultants, training and executive coaches which helped them run the organizations – but was also a tremendous support to their careers and advancement. Of course organizations can’t afford to pay for this for all employees – but it was still painful to see. I wanted that for the many, many others who, like me, worked in low paying jobs and felt trapped there. I started thinking about “coaching for the masses” and how to make it affordable to share this kind of support and information to many other people with those same feelings of frustration – at how challenging workplaces can sometimes be, and about how it can feel powerless to experience this from the bottom.
The model I came up with combines two ideas. 1. When you bring a big group of people together for a training event, you can afford to charge less and still make enough money for it to be sustainable. 2. When people are trained to support each other, the costs for each of them is much less than having to pay someone for that support. An example of this is Re-evaluation Co-Counseling. In this movement, people are trained to provide each other with counseling support. Once trained, they can go on a list and can access fellow co-counselors for support. Alcoholics Anonymous is another example. This model works so well that these two networks exist all around the world. I want to support the development of such a network – for employees.
Hope – and Going Forward
Seanwes says you need to get about 2000 subscribers to be able to start supporting yourself. I am hoping this happens, because I so want to put something out there that supports employees in their experiences at work – and helps all of us to be more aware of our worth in the workplace!