Social Safety in the workplace: The foundation of belonging

ECWO’s mission is to create a sense of belonging for everyone within organisations - and social safety is the foundation of this.

Full inclusion in the workplace requires that all members of the organisation – regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or ability – experience a work environment that is safe, supportive and encouraging. Only then can an organisation enable maximum fulfillment of its members and ensure optimal impact.

Organisations can ensure a socially safe working climate by addressing it on three levels: the individual, and the organisation and its leadership. Backed by the latest academic research and delivered by expert facilitators, our Stand Up, Reach Out (SURO) programme aims to build a robust and inclusive culture of care within an organisation across all three of these levels.

Within this aim, and in close consultation with organisations that have engaged us, we deliver a SURO  programme that:

  • Empowers participants with the knowledge of how to define and recognise a socially safe working climate, how to recognise behaviour that does (or does not) support this - all with a focus on daily interactions
  • Provides participants with insight into the Bystander Effect and introduces the 5Ds
  • Productively addresses harmful behaviours and creates positive conversations and dynamic dialogues to build a socially safe environment.
  • Underscores the value of, and approach to, building a community of mutual respect and support, in which open discussions about harmful behaviours can take place.

The programme itself takes place in a safe, inclusive and confidential environment that enables a high degree of interactivity on the part of participants.

Over the past few years, we have worked with many different organisations – from companies to academic institutions and more – to help create socially safe workplaces as part of building inclusive organisations that thrive in a culture of care. As part of our belief that addressing organisational challenges involves everyone, our programmes are multi-pronged and tailored for all levels of an organisation, including the leadership team.

Good people doing nothing supports people who are engaging in unwanted behaviour. SURO helps by giving good people the tools to create a safe working climate.

Gaby Dijkstra, SURO facilitator

I would like to especially thank Professor Hanneke Takkenberg and Gaby Dijkstra for the workshop. As a member of VOICES - Making Young Researchers' Voices Heard for Gender Equality - I'm glad to see their effort to create a safe working culture at the EUR/ESE. If you have any interest in having a safe and inclusive working environment, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or other individual characteristics you should definitely look at the programme being run by Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO).

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cansu Tor Kadıoglu

Read the article of Dr Natalie Cleton.

Read the report into harassment in academia into harassment in academia by the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH).

To find out more about our Stand Up, Reach Out programme, please contact Rianne van Reeuwijk on Please note that our programme is available in both English and Dutch.

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Contact us about our Stand Up, Reach Out programme.