Let’s say you are facing a challenge at work. Maybe it’s an interpersonal conflict. Maybe it’s an alignment issue between departments on a project. Maybe it’s confusion about a company benefit. You might be wondering if a member of the ombuds team can help you overcome this challenge, and if so, how they will help.

An ombuds can provide you with support and advice. They act as a conduit to help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals. While they do not advocate on your behalf or conduct investigations, they can work with internal sources such as Human Resources to implement effective solutions.

Because ombuds are informal and independent, they have various tools at their disposal to assist you, and they will always remain impartial and maintain your confidentiality throughout the process.

Here are some of the ways that an ombuds can help you:

  • Provide information and advice: Every engagement with an ombuds begins with a conversation. The ombuds will learn about your challenges and your goals, and based on this, provide you with helpful information and advice.
  • Help you brainstorm: Ombuds are expert communicators and dispute resolution professionals. If you face a challenge at work, they can facilitate an effective process to help you brainstorm solutions, identify next steps, and define success.
  • Equip you to face challenges: Sometimes, an employee contacts the ombuds because they are facing a difficult conversation or situation at work. For example, you may need to communicate disappointing news or difficult feedback to someone, and you want to ensure you do so effectively. The ombuds can provide skills, advice, and feedback to help you prepare for success.
  • Navigate internal resources: Imagine you have a complicated question about your benefits and have struggled to find an answer. You aren’t sure where to turn next. By contacting the ombuds, you can share your challenges and goals, and they can navigate internal resources to find the right answer for you.
  • Facilitate conversations: Conflict happens, even in a healthy workplace. An ombuds can set up a process to facilitate a productive, effective dialogue. They can help each person clarify their goals and work towards understanding and alignment.
  • Assist with proactive goal setting: An ombuds is also a great tool for proactively setting goals and preparing for upcoming opportunities. Ombuds can assist with career planning, development prospects, and meeting facilitation to help you prepare for excellence.
  • Debrief experiences: Sometimes, we want to talk about a recent experience with an objective person who can help us identify feedback and learning. An ombuds is a great sounding board to debrief experiences so you can effectively learn from past challenges in order to grow your skills.
  • Provide training and consulting: Ombuds often work one-on-one with employees, but they can also provide team-based or departmental training and consulting. Managers can work with the ombuds to identify their goals and scope out a project. Expertise includes communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, DEIB, negotiation, and other related topics.
  • Implement anonymous surveys: As a confidential resource, the ombuds can implement anonymous surveys to groups of employees to help leaders learn more about opinions, drivers of challenges, and opportunities for change.

Still not sure if an ombuds can help you with your challenge? Visit www.mwi.org/ombuds to learn more. A member of the ombuds team will respond promptly to your request and let you know if we are the right resource to help you. If we aren’t, we’ll point you in the right direction.