Creating a Trauma Informed Organizational Culture

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Presenting Author(s): Dr. Alma Fourie

Date and time: 24 Mar 2018 from 13:30 to 13:50

Location: Hawthorn A  Floor Map

Learning Objectives: 

  1. To create an awareness of how common trauma is among the workforce
  2. To create an understanding of how trauma among the workforce impact staff engagement, as well as staff responses to organizational policies and procedures.
  3. To facilitate thinking in regards to applying trauma informed principles to various areas of human resource management such as pre-employment, on boarding and orientation, staff development and training, performance management, employee wellness, as well as off boarding.

 Literature Reference:

Anda, R.F., Felitti, V.J., Bremmer, J.D., Walker, J.D., Whitfield, C., Perry, B.D. et al. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood: A convergence of evidence from neurobiology and epidemiology. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 256, 174-186

 Fallot, R.D and Harris, M. (2009). Creating Cultures of Trauma-Informed Care (CCTIC): A Self-Assessment and Planning Protocol.

 Lifemark Health Group (2017). Lifemark Employer Conference: Creating a Safe and Healthy Workplace held in Calgary, Alberta April 2017

 The Missouri Trauma Roundtable, Department of Mental Health (2017). Policy Guidance for Trauma Informed Human Resource Practices.

 The National Center on Family Homelessness (2017). Trauma-Informed Organizational Toolkit for homeless services

 Poole, N, and Greaves, L (2012). Becoming Trauma Informed. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

 Standard Council of Canada (2013). Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Mental Health Commission of Canada.


For an organization to be fully trauma informed, it is important that the principles of trauma informed practices be applied to client programming, as well as to human resource management. Trauma informed services should be designed to avoid the re-traumatizing of clients, as well as staff.

 Dealing with the effects of trauma can be difficult for an employer, as often the employer might not be aware of a traumatic experience due to no self-disclosure. Being trauma informed requires an understanding and acknowledgment that employees could have a trauma history, and that this impacts their ability to perform well. In addition to being client-centered, organizations must also be helper-centered to ensure the health and well-being of staff.

 Designing and implementing a trauma informed organizational culture, as well as human resource management policies will not only improve the moral of staff and make them feel valued and more productive, but it will contribute to effective implementation of trauma informed service delivery to clients. It will also contribute to creating a psychologically safe work environment that will meet the needs of staff in regard to well-being, job satisfaction, self-esteem and job fulfilment. This will result in risk mitigation, cost effectiveness, improved ability for recruitment and retention of workers, and organizational excellence and sustainability.

 This interactive session is intended for supervisors, managers, as well as executive leaders who are interested in applying trauma informed principles not only to programming, but to a broader organizational culture.

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