Today marks a celebration of the Ombuds profession and recognition of the important role of the Ombudsperson. If you don’t know what an Ombudsperson does, you are not alone. Ombuds have an unusual name, but they provide an important service. Ombuds are impartial, confidential conflict management professionals who help individuals constructively handle problems, disputes, or conflicts informally. Not only do Ombuds coach employees on how to effectively manage conflict and mediate disputes, they help employees discover problem-solving solutions to workplace problems and navigate organizational structures.
In addition to providing conflict coaching and problem-solving services, many Ombuds Offices provide an analysis of organizational structures, policies, systems, and culture that may exacerbate workplace conflict or cause inequity. Here at Berkeley, the Staff Ombuds Office has been reporting on systemic issues since 1993. To learn more about the types of issues the Staff Ombuds Office handles as well as an analysis of systemic issues and recommendations for systemic change to advance equity and inclusion in the workplace, please see our recently released 2018-2020 Biennial Report.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, most Berkeley employees are working from home, which brings new challenges as we adapt to this virtual world. The Staff Ombuds Office provides a safe, confidential place where employees can voice their concerns and sort through how they want to proceed at their own pace. If you find yourself struggling, the Staff Ombuds Office is here to help. To make an appointment or learn more about the Staff Ombuds Office, please call 510-642-7823.