Investment in on-boarding and ongoing skills development is essential for creating a supportive workplace culture where employees feel empowered and valued.
Culture Connect began as the OCWI-funded research project “Talent Bridge,” which brought together mature and newer workers for a mutual learning exchange program. Expanding on this idea of mutual learning and partnership, part one of Culture Connect is a series of five 1 to 1 ½ hour facilitator-led workshops that develop a positive workplace culture and foundational skills through self-reflection, peer coaching, and trust-building activities. Part two consists of a six month peer coaching program that puts the lessons learned in the workshops into practice. An introductory workshop is provided for management staff to give them the tools to support their team throughout the Culture Connect program.
From Bridging Skills to Connecting Talent
Beginning in 2017, in partnership with CareerEdge, Durham Workforce Authority, and JVS Toronto, ONESTEP began researching ways to address the challenges small and medium-sized organizations face in on-boarding and developing their employees. Talent Bridge was launched to test a model that would support these organizations with a flexible and modular curriculum that promoted trust, accountability, and transparency in developing the culture and foundational skills necessary for professional development in the workplace. After its positive reception and completion in 2018, ONESTEP took the lessons from Talent Bridge and developed Culture Connect as a capacity building program to support members and partnering organizations in Ontario with a new approach to developing their staff. It is currently in its second round of piloting in partnership with the Learning Enrichment Foundation.
Culture Connect is an activity-based program that gives employees the opportunity to review their own practices, set goals, and develop the skills and habits needed for development in their roles. In this regard, Culture Connect combines elements of both professional and personal development. During this program, staff will be empowered to take initiative and begin productive dialogues that can lead to a more positive workplace culture through trust-building activities, self-reflection, communication, and conflict resolution strategies that focus on drawing support and solutions from peers.
Culture connect consists of an initial workshop for management, five workshops for their staff and a six month coaching program that allows staff to put their learning into practice.