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Restorative justice in the workplace

May 03, 2011

from the entry on Mediation Services:

Yet, studies show that the best places to work in North America have not attained that ranking by policies. In fact, some of them have one page of policy – and that page focuses on values and not on dos and don’ts. It starts with hiring the people, first and foremost, with the right values and attitudes, and then ensuring they have the skills necessary to complete their task.

So, what does this have to do with restorative principles? Everything! If an organization wants to be a fabulous place to work, they have to figure out what their values are – and often the best places to work have values consistent with restorative principles – respect, honesty, willingness to hold others accountable and be held accountable, ability to take responsibility for one’s actions, the rare and necessary skill of thinking outside the box, curiosity, loyalty to a team, commitment to working with others …

The challenge about stating such values in a personnel handbook is that it holds people (including the board members and the top management) to a high standard – the same standard as we hold others to – and that we won’t always succeed. Perhaps that is one of the most important principles of restorative practices – we all make mistakes – and we are always willing to help others find healthy ways to address the harms AND to move to better places.

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