ABRIL 2017

Hola a todos, ¡muchas gracias por sus visitas y comentarios por el nuevo aniversario!

Este mes es nos acompaña desde México, Ariana Gonzale, Human Resources Coordinator - Latam , Bureau On Target - Atracción de Talento, quien escribe sobre el trato que reciben los postulantes de parte de las organizaciones.

El otro invitado es un distinguido colega, Eduardo Cortés, Consultor en Management y Gestión de Recursos Humanos y Profesor de Recursos Humanos en la Universidad de Ciencias Sociales y Empresariales (UCES), que se refiere a las nuevas funciones que debe ejercer la función del director de RRHH.

Por mi parte he escrito sobre el trabajo moderno y reflexiones para la creación de nuevos empleos en la era digital y el habitual Flash Laboral. He incluído tambien un video sobre el rol de RRHH en la transformación digital.

Como siempre los invitamos a dejar sus comentarios y seguirnos también en nuestro Facebook Profesional www.facebook.com/ceballosserra

Guillermo

sábado, 23 de marzo de 2013

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: ORGANIZATIONAL OMBUDSMAN

Este artículo que publiqué el mes pasado despertó mucho interés entre amigos (no hispanos) que me solicitaron publicarlo en inglés, aquí va.


By Anamaris Cousins Price - Ombudsman Latin America Region, Dispute Resolution Program - Halliburton (Houston, TX, USA) -


When Guillermo asked me to write about the role of organizational ombudsman, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I have been practicing for about six years and still enjoy what I do. It isn’t always pleasant, but it certainly is interesting and worthwhile. I will begin by sharing some general information about the ombudsman profession and then offer some insights into the way I practice. 

Even though alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation and arbitration have been utilized for some time, only recently have they become a mainstream option to resolve conflicts in the workplace. These alternatives have the potential to offer a much faster and economical resolution to disagreements, because of the informal nature of the processes, interactions between participants are less adversarial and often help preserve and improve working relationships.

It is becoming more and more prevalent for organizations from all segments to require disputants to participate in one or more of the available ADR processes to address workplace conflicts. Once the parties are assured they can speak freely and openly about their concerns and that frankness will not adversely hinder working relationships or result in retaliation, they are more likely to reveal their true interests, making it possible to work together toward a mutually satisfactory resolution.

The profession of the ombudsman can be traced to Sweden dating back to the 1800s, when the king needed someone to protect the rights of his subjects and ensure civil servants minded the laws and met their obligations to their constituents. This model is now known as the classical ombudsman and is most commonly found in governmental agencies. As this is an official position, these individuals are appointed by the local authorities to ensure government officials are acting in the interests of the constituents. They will conduct formal investigations, issue findings and recommendations for corrective measures as necessary.

Another model known as the organizational ombudsman is commonly found in corporations, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. In this case, the ombudsman is employed by the organization and is tasked with assisting the constituencies resolve conflicts they may be facing with peers, superiors and, sometimes, clients of the organization. Organizational ombudsmen (OO) practice in accordance with the standards of practice and code of ethics established by The Ombudsman Association (now known as the International Ombudsman Association), which require that ombudsmen adhere to the tenets of confidentiality, neutrality, informality and independence.

I believe that confidentiality is the foundation for the work of an OO. The fact that an employee, at any level within the organization, can come to me with the assurance that their identity and concern will remain private, allows him or her to speak freely and frankly without fearing retaliation. In fact, this is often the first question visitors ask; their sense of relief is palpable once they realize they can discuss their concerns before deciding to go to an official channel within the company. In many cases, I can help the employee resolve the conflict with minimum, if any, disruption to their business relationships. If the matter requires direct intervention from another department, we will not proceed unless he or she is in agreement to do so. The only exception to maintaining confidentiality is if there is a threat of harm.

As a designated neutral I do not represent the organization or those who come to me for assistance. I listen to their concerns and will do what is necessary to help them identify and navigate the options available to them based on company guidelines. Sometimes I will access resources within the organization to facilitate a prompt resolution.

My role is also informal in that information shared with me does not put the company on notice. An individual may contact me and share his or her concerns freely, without worrying that the conversation will lead to further action or investigation. In essence, I can be a sounding board and help identify various ways to alleviate, eliminate or help them address their concerns. Although I do not conduct formal investigations, I will make inquiries to gain better understanding of a particular situation. In cases requiring formal investigations or a need for the company to be formally notified of wrongdoings, I will make sure the employee understands the best way to do so.

To ensure independence, my reporting structure is quite different from that of an average employee. Our group does not report to any one specific individual or department, but rather to a committee comprised by high level management from various areas—operations, security, IT, Legal, etc. In order to help resolve a case, I have access to resources at the highest levels and because I do not report to any of them individually, there is no conflict of interest. This structure also allows me to point out systemic flaws and areas needing improvement within the organization.

When I conduct orientations about the ombudsman program and services, I use two different slides to help attendees understand who commonly uses the program. The first slide has 8 pictures of individuals of various ethnicities, age groups, gender; some look pensive, angry, frustrated. I ask the audience to pick the number of who they imagine the most common program user is or looks like. This is always fun and interesting and, usually they pick the angriest looking person. I thank them and tell them I have a picture of the average visitor. The next slide is the picture of a bright orange telephone.

Although my real telephone isn’t bright orange, the truth is that most of the work I do is over the phone. I spend a lot of time listening to callers who need help with things such as understanding why they haven’t received a promotion, coaching them on how to work with a difficult colleague, finding out when they will receive their final paycheck or simply who to call to change their medical benefits. When the phone rings, I never know who it is or what they will need; the only thing I know for sure is that they need help.

Because OO spend so much time speaking to the members of an organization, you could say we have a finger on the organization’s pulse. We are able to hear from people who may not be heard of because they fear retaliation, or they are not sure who or how to report problems. Although we maintain confidentiality, we are able to provide valuable feedback to senior management regarding the health of the organization and ways to improve employee morale.

The first time I heard the word ombudsman was a little over eight years ago. Today I do everything in my power to further this profession, to help others learn about it and I sincerely hope that more organizations will embrace the role as a vital part of their corporate governance and conflict management practices.


This article does not necessarily express the opinion of the Company for which the author works.



2 comentarios:

Alvaro Augusto Repetto dijo...

Thank you for sharing this valuable information which is completely aligned with (and complements) the rest of the topics. Great work.

Hugo dijo...

Great!