Frequently Asked Questions
Civility Partners, Inc. is your trusted partner in creating healthy work cultures. Our core values drive us to support your organization’s success. Whether you’re a client, partner, or simply curious, our FAQ page is here to provide the answers you need.
Who We Are
Learning, Development, and Training
Who We Are
What types of organizations has Civility Partners worked with in the past?
Civility Partners has had the privilege of collaborating with a wide range of organizations, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, spanning various industries. Our extensive experience encompasses partnerships with over 200 clients, touching the lives of thousands of employees, as we strive to foster and nurture positive work cultures within these organizations.
Our founder and CEO, Catherine Mattice, is widely recognized for her profound expertise in the field. Her invaluable insights and knowledge have been featured on esteemed platforms including NPR, CNN, USA Today, Forbes, and many more as an expert.
What are Civility Partners’ services?
- LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS
We provide on-site and virtual training programs on a variety of topics to help you build a positive workplace. After we spend some time understanding your goals, we’ll develop a learning and development program that is tailored to help you achieve those goals with content tailored to meet your needs.
- CLIMATE ASSESSMENT
Our assessments are designed to identify factors that may be negatively impacting your employees and, consequently, your business. We delve into the emotions and perceptions of individuals, identify root causes of problems, evaluate organizational strengths and weaknesses, and determine what factors contribute to employee happiness and productivity. Once we have that information we can help you develop a plan to make and sustain positive change.
- CULTURE CHANGE CONSULTING
We use a proprietary process developed over more than a decade of working with a variety of clients. Our program will reduce and even eliminate workplace bullying and discrimination/harassment, and create a positive and inclusive workplace. We follow a proven process guaranteed to get results.
- COACHING FOR ABRASIVE LEADERS
This coaching method is designed specifically for people who are unaware of the impact of their communication and behavior. This very methodical process developed over the course of coaching 400+ abrasive leaders helps individuals quickly gain insight into the impact of their words and actions and develop non-destructive communication strategies.
- KEYNOTE SPEAKING
Topics around harassment prevention or minimizing workplace bullying don’t have to be difficult or boring topics. Our CEO Catherine Mattice’s keynote topics are focused on the good, bad and ugly – and always focused on how every member of your company plays a part in your workplace culture. These dynamic keynotes are designed specifically for people who want a more engaging way to empower their leaders and their staff.
Does Civility Partners have experience delivering training for global organizations?
Yes, we do. We’ve worked with companies across the globe, sometimes delivering training programs across several locations in multiple countries.
How long has Civility Partners been in operation?
Civility Partners was founded in 2009 and is dedicated to one mission – building a community of thriving individuals starting at the place they spend the majority of their time: the workplace.
Are you involved in any community or philanthropic efforts?
Our founder and CEO is committed to ethical practices and believes that everyone has a right to feel respected at work. Her call to action is for employers AND employees to create workplaces that require dignity and respect, rather than focusing on the absence of toxic behavior. As someone who has committed her life to this cause, Catherine is one of four founders of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition, a nonprofit focused on education and legislation about workplace bullying.
The NWBC’s conferences have included keynotes from Congresspeople in California, Tennessee and New Jersey. Their proposed bill, the Dignity at Work Act, has passed the House in Rhode Island. The entire Civility Partners team now contributes to the health and growth of the NWBC.
Our team is also active in the International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment, where academics from around the world share their research and knowledge on correcting and preventing these issues. Catherine was the conference keynote speaker in 2021 and Conference Committee Chair for 2022’s conference in San Diego. We have made use of our extensive contacts to bring more awareness to the cause and ensure attendees leave feeling called to continue working towards a more civil future.
Learning, Development, and Training
What sets Civility Partners apart from other training organizations?
We create training programs and systems that change behavior and culture. Our team is full of world renowned experts on workplace behavior and organizational culture who partner with you to develop a system of programs that fit your needs and help achieve your goals. We’ll meet with stakeholders all along the way to discuss what we’re learning about your organization through our interactions with your workforce, and partner with you to figure out next steps.
Does Civility Partners customize training programs, or are they off-the-shelf?
We customize our programs from start to finish, working with clients to meet their specific needs, from learning objectives, to scenarios, to timing. Our goal is to provide the most impactful training system possible and since every organization is different, we prefer not to treat training like a one size fits all solution.
How does Civility Partners customize training programs?
Our first step is discovery. We’ll work with your key stakeholders to understand their goals, struggles, and culture. From there, we pull from our own proprietary content and create new content, scenarios and exercises based on real life examples we obtained from you. If you’d like to review the content and make suggestions and changes before we deliver the program, we’re all for it. Throughout the training program we share our progress with you, take in feedback, and tweak the program until we have a final product that has a big impact on attendees and the organization as a whole.
What types of learning events and training does Civility Partners provide?
Being laser-focused on culture and behavior change means we’ll be pushing you to think outside of the box when it comes to training. Sure, we can do a one-time session, but a series of training programs and topics mixed with one-on-one coaching (we call them office hours), specific training for HR and leadership, additional tools for your culture champions and people leaders, and ongoing planning and revamping will have way, way better results for you and deliver maximum impact on your workforce.
Does Civility Partners offer virtual training and in-person training?
Yes. We will deliver training in the manner that works best for your workforce and your budget.
Is virtual training as effective as in-person training?
In short, yes. All of our virtual training programs include group discussions, small team exercises, and more. We also use a variety of applications to keep the interaction level high and provide the opportunity to collect data about what your workforce is feeling. Anonymous tools and voting makes great opportunities for your workforce to share! Some clients have even found virtual training to be more effective and accessible in today’s landscape.
What does a climate assessment measure?
A climate assessment is designed to measure organizational culture at a specific moment in time. All of our climate assessments aim to measure five dimensions of company culture – Relationships, Internal Communication, Job Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and Inclusion. We can also add additional constructs depending on your industry and your needs. For example, construction companies might add physical safety while another company might add specific questions related to the prevalence of harassment and discrimination.
What is the difference between a climate assessment and an employee survey?
A climate assessment is an employee survey; it’s just a specific kind of employee survey. It measures the current temperature of the organization through multiple choice and open ended questions. In addition, a climate assessment can also consist of interviews with key stakeholders, a random selection of employees, or a specific department. The goal is to complete a comprehensive discovery of where the organization currently stands and what your workforce needs from you.
What is the difference between a climate assessment and an employee engagement survey?
Employee engagement surveys focus on just one measure, employee engagement. A climate assessment measures engagement AND other constructions, such as effectiveness of internal communication, perceptions of leadership, and feelings of inclusivity.
How long does the climate assessment process take from start to finish?
Generally the process is 3 months, including survey customization and execution, time for interviewing, data analysis, and creation of your comprehensive report. Timing really depends on the amount of customization, client engagement, and number of employees.
How does Civility Partners customize its assessments?
We work with your stakeholders to understand how they describe the current culture and what specific aspects of the work environment they’d like to know. For example, some organizations are interested in employee perceptions of work/life balance or employee well-being, while others may have had a recent incident of harassment and want to dive deep into that. After an in depth interview with key leaders and sometimes key employees, we create a survey draft that is then shared back with you for review.
In this way, the survey is co-created with you to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for from the data.
What do clients receive after the assessment is completed?
Once the survey and interviews are complete, our team compiles a comprehensive report of both the qualitative and quantitative data. All clients receive a report highlighting the questions with the most positive and negative responses, strengths and opportunities for improvement, and recommendations. We’ll also organize your qualitative data into themes so that those open-ended comments are digestible and actionable.
We’ll run data from clients with 50 or more employees through statistical analysis to identify significant variations in responses based on demographic information such as gender, department, or tenure.
How is Civility Partners’ reporting on survey data different from other survey vendors?
A big difference is how we go about providing your qualitative data to you. Where most vendors ask one open-ended question at the end of the survey, we ask one at the end of each construct measure. This ensures a greater understanding of why your workforce rated statements the way they did; it provides a narrative behind the statistics. We also move that data into themes, which makes it more digestible and, more importantly, actionable.
And, after compiling the data, an extensive list of recommendations to address the results are drafted and presented to leadership.
How are survey components designed to be actionable and addressable?
We ask participants to rate statements written in such a way that they are actionable. One popular survey vendor asks participants to rate, “The leadership team is ethical,” but there’s nothing to do with the results because it’s such a broad statement. We don’t ask questions that don’t have the ability to be addressed.
We already have a survey platform in place. Can you support us in using that survey platform?
Absolutely. We are happy to amplify your survey platform with our expertise and ability to develop recommendations using survey data. We have been designing and delivering surveys for 15 years – let us take on the burden of designing a survey, using your platform, that you can use in the future. If you don’t have a survey platform in place already, we’ve got you covered.
Additionally, most survey vendors aren’t able to provide recommendations. If they do, the recommendations are generic and based on an algorithm. Let us help you decipher the data you obtain from your vendor, and turn that data into actionable insights to make improvements in your culture.
Can you help us figure out what to do once our survey is complete?
Absolutely we can. Our survey data report will provide a list of recommendations, but many organizations find it hard to actually move forward on action. They have questions like: Which action should we do first? What has the most impact? How will we measure the impact? How do we communicate about the change? Paralysis takes over, things happen, and before you know it the results are in a desk drawer.
We will lead you through the process of brainstorming ideas for change and developing an action plan. Then, if you want our help executing that plan, count us in.
Why do abrasive leaders act the way they do?
Over the course of their career the abrasive behavior has not only never been addressed, in fact it’s been awarded as the leader has been promoted through the ranks. Often due to their high value to the organization (e.g., sales, organizational knowledge, professional network), leadership works around these individuals in fear that addressing the behavior may end poorly. Unfortunately failing to address the behavior sends the message that it’s okay, and promoting the individual for their results without consideration for how they achieve them further solidifies the abrasive behavior.
Can abrasive leaders change?
Yes! Years of coaching is proof that change is possible – just check out some of our case studies. We’ve found that oftentimes these individuals are completely unaware of how their behavior is truly affecting their ability to lead effectively and the negative impact they have on individuals and the organization. Our process follows a specific path that both increases self awareness and provides tools for communicating more collaboratively and respectfully.
Employers can contribute to the chances of success by telling the leader you’re investing in them because you believe in them, and checking in regularly all throughout coaching. Checking in holds the leader accountable and demonstrates you are invested in them.
What is Civility Partners’ approach to coaching abrasive leaders?
Our coaching clients are usually high performers, extremely valuable to the organization, and highly intelligent. These are the very reasons the organization has allowed the behavior to continue. Our goal is to help the client be more effective than they already are, by eliminating disruptive behavior. Here’s our process:
- Confidential interviews with eight to ten peers, and presentation of themes discovered to the client in order to overcome denial that current communication isn’t working
- Four to six months of 60-90 minute phone calls every week, eventually moving into every other week
- The second round of interviews (i.e., pulse check) after three to four months of coaching to show improvement and identify areas for further coaching
- Activities, exercises, articles, books, and other exercises that allow the client to discover and practice empathy and new communication skills.
- See more on our coaching page here.
How is Civility Partners’ approach to coaching abrasive leaders more effective than other approaches?
We have a special way of helping abrasive leaders recognize the impact of their behavior so they feel inspired to change it. We understand that abrasive leaders often feel like they’ve had to fight hard throughout their lives, which makes them really focused on being the most competent person in the room.
Central to the foundation of our coaching approach is helping abrasive leaders identify the primal instincts of fight or flight within themselves and those around them. By fostering this self-awareness, the coaching elucidates that the leader’s ultimate responsibility is to diminish fear in themselves and others in order to achieve superior outcomes. This recognition of the interplay between fight or flight responses and fear is a continuous undercurrent throughout coaching.
Download our Ebook on how we coach abrasive leaders to learn more.
What are the costs of abrasive behavior for an organization?
The cost of allowing negative behaviors to occur in the workplace is probably higher than you think. For example, the Harvard Business Review indicates that of those on the receiving end of incivility, 48% intentionally decreased work effort, 38% intentionally decreased their quality of work, 63% lost work time avoiding the offender, and 66% said their performance declined. In other words, “targets of incivility often punish their offenders and the organization…”
The cost of turnover – including recruiting, administrative costs, lost productivity for those who take on work and train the new employee, and productivity loss while a new employee grows to reach the same level of performance as those who’ve left – is estimated to be 6-9 months of the position’s salary. Employees making $60,000/year will cost an organization between $30,000 and $45,000 when they leave, for example (SHRM).
Also consider that the average cost to defend a harassment lawsuit is $250,000, the average jury award is $600,000, and the average annual hidden cost of harassment is between $300 and $1,000 per employee (Legal Risk Management).
What if someone quits because they are required to engage in coaching?
Many of our coaching clients have expressed a whole lot of gratitude for their employer and recognize that the company is investing in their success with an opportunity no one else is receiving.
And in the many years that we’ve engaged in coaching leaders, we’ve never had someone quit because they were asked to engage in coaching. In fact the people we coach have good intentions, care very much about the organization, and want to be the best they can be – they are simply unaware that their behavior is hindering their goals. Once they realize how they are being viewed by those around them, they are motivated to change and embrace the program as an opportunity to develop themselves.
I don’t want to put a consequence in place. Is this really necessary?
We know you don’t want to apply a consequence, but a consequence is imperative in the leader’s success. They’ve been abrasive for some time already without a consequence, so putting one in place now is the only way for them to know you are serious about change.
Understand the consequence doesn’t have to be termination of employment. Other examples include:
- A career-driven vice president was given the keen life advice that her career would end at VP.
- The company would not be able to consider her for a promotion if she couldn’t develop better leadership behaviors.
- A doctor was told she would be removed from a high-profile committee she was on at her hospital.
- A commission-only salesperson was doing so well her company was paying for her office lease and a few employees. Without change, that benefit was going to be revoked and she’d have to cover those expenses on her own.
- A construction manager was told his decked-out company truck with all the bells and whistles would be taken from him and given to someone else.
As an employer, what can I do if an abrasive leader in my organization undergoes coaching?
To demonstrate your investment in your leader’s success and monitor their progress, it’s important to check in with them frequently and informally. In addition to these informal check-ins, it’s also advisable to attend the scheduled accountability meetings, where you can have a more formal conversation with the coach present to facilitate productive discussion and further support the leader’s growth.
How can I support the leader after the coaching program is over?
Keep in mind that the coaching program is only a moment in time; it’s designed to help abrasive leaders develop new ways to communicate and lead, and better strategies to accomplish their goals. Keeping in mind that they’ve been engaging in their old behavior for some time, breaking habits and engaging in new strategies will take time.
Therefore it’s important for you to continue to check in with the leader as often as needed for as long as needed. And, the moment you notice some hint of their old ways, step in immediately to remind them this change is necessary and required. In essence, the responsibility of coaching has been transferred to you.
Holding the leader accountable for positive leadership always was and will remain your responsibility for as long as it’s needed.