Creating a workplace culture of trust with effective communications amid the pandemic

Workplace culture and trust are important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ILO’s SCORE programme showed that effective communication and transparency are key to overcome employment obstacles in this challenging time.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 23 November 2020
Bipartite meeting at one of the companies in Indonesia (c) ILO/A. Mirza
Developing a culture of trust and respect at the workplace has become more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the job insecurity and business uncertainty, a great workplace culture is needed more than ever.

The capability to establish win-win solutions for both workers and the managements is vital, especially amid the uncertainty of the pandemic."

Januar Rustandie, ILO's SCORE Indonesia Project Manager
To maintain a strong workplace culture, the ILO’s Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Programme invited members of six trade union confederations to participate in a webinar on assertive communications skills.

“The capability to establish win-win solutions for both workers and the managements is vital, especially amid the uncertainty of the pandemic,” said ILO's SCORE Indonesia Project Manager, Januar Rustandie.

Held in collaboration with Semut Management Indonesia (SMI), more than 200 trade unionists participated in the training from: the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), the All Indonesian Workers’ Union Confederation (KSPSI), the Confederation of National Workers Union (KSPN), the Indonesian Muslim Trade Union Confederation (K-SARBUMUSI), the All Indonesian Workers’ Union Confederation (KSPSI ATUC), and the Confederation of Indonesian Prosperity Labour Union (KSBSI)

It is important that communication barriers, which can derive from stress levels, social aspects and beliefs, are recognized so that we can convey our messages appropriately and clearly with the right expressions."

Muji Rahayu, one of the ILO’s SCORE trainer from KSBSI
Officially opened by Helmy Salim, a trade unionist from KSPSI, the webinar highlighted three soft skills that are highly sought after by employers, which include honesty, sense of vision and good communication skills. The participants were shown how to balance between aggressive and passive exchanges by combining both verbal and non-verbal aspects.

The participants learnt the ability to appropriately express feelings, defend personal rights and openly affirm thoughts and beliefs. Practical tips and suggestions were also given to assist them in the effort to achieve effective communication in the workplace.

“It is important that communication barriers, which can derive from stress levels, social aspects and beliefs, are recognized so that we can convey our messages appropriately and clearly with the right expressions,” told Muji Rahayu, one of the ILO’s SCORE trainer from KSBSI.

The information provided in the webinar served as a new experience that helped me better understand the significance of communication and it is a great knowledge that we can apply when we get into negotiations."

Andang Maryana, a unionist from KSPSI ATUC
Combining a concise and clear description of the situation, with a positive and calm expression, a specified request and consideration of expected outcomes was one of the verbal techniques given to the participants. Meanwhile, the non-verbal context focused on upright posture, voice volume and intonation, eye contact and regulated breathing as well as friendly smiles.

“The information provided in the webinar served as a new experience that helped me better understand the significance of communication and it is a great knowledge that we can apply when we get into negotiations,” said Andang Maryana, a unionist from KSPSI ATUC.

This tips and suggestions are beneficial for me to shift my mindset and to become assertive in communicating in the workplace."

Benny Rusli of the KSPN
Aside from techniques and knowledge to be applied during exchanges with others, the trainer also provided preparatory measures that could be taken by the participants beforehand, such as mastering the relevant subject, finding information on the person they will be coming in contact with, rehearsing the conversation, and choosing a neutral area.

“This tips and suggestions are beneficial for me to shift my mindset and to become assertive in communicating in the workplace,” said Benny Rusli of the KSPN.

Similarly Nina Batuatas from K-Sarbumusi said that the materials provided in the webinar had shed a light on assertive communication, which she deemed to be a commendable way to interact with workers. “We often find ourselves in these situations in the workplace,” she stated.