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Respectful Workplace Advisors (RWA) Program

RWA Training Group Photo Jan2012Respectful Workplace Advisors (RWAs) are a network of volunteer peers in Bank Group country offices and some units in Washington who serve as an informal and confidential source of assistance to staff facing difficult workplace issues. They are nominated by their colleagues in their country offices or work units in Washington and serve a four-year term. The RWA’sprimary role is to be a confidential, trusted and readily accessible resource that staff can turn to for help with workplace problems when they feel uncomfortable seeking help from routine channels, such as their supervisors or HR staff, or want information about where to seek assistance. Their goal is to help staff help themselves by listening and providing guidance. They do not become directly involved in resolving the issues brought to them by colleagues.

RWAs can help staff access the services of any of the Bank Group’s Conflict Resolution Services (CRS), if appropriate. The RWA network is overseen by the Ombuds Services office. (RWAs were formerly called Anti-harassment Advisors – AHAs.)

If your Unit/Country Office would like to have RWAs, please contact the RWA Team and review the Nomination Guidelines for Appointing RWAs.

Our Conflict Resolution Services

Terms of ReferenceStaff RulesRWA Team

The World Bank Group is committed to fostering a positive and motivating environment in which all staff can work together with openness and trust, in ways that demonstrate respect and value differences. All workplace issues regarding respectful and ethical behaviors and other sources of stress at work will be taken seriously. To support this commitment, the Bank Group has set up both informal and formal avenues through which individuals who are having difficulties within the workplace can seek advice and assistance. The informal channels include: Management; Human Resources; Respectful Workplace Advisors (RWAs); Ombuds Services; Mediation Services; Office of Ethics and Business Conduct; Personal and Work Stress Counseling; and Staff Association. There are also formal mechanisms of redress such as the Peer Review Services and the World Bank Administrative Tribunal.

RWAs are peer volunteers who serve as an informal and confidential source of assistance to staff facing difficult workplace issues. They are nominated by their colleagues in their country offices or work units in Washington and serve a four-year term. The RWA Program is managed by the Ombuds Services. The primary responsibilities of an RWA are:

  • Provide colleagues with a confidential contact point and source of information and support;
  • Serve as a sounding board;
  • Provide guidance to appropriate avenues in the Conflict Resolution System (CRS);
  • Meet with the Country Manager/Director/VP periodically to discuss trends and the general environment of the office without providing information about specific cases or the names of staff;
  • Give periodic presentations to all staff in the office/unit as well as brief new staff on their RWA role; and
  • Send quarterly confidential activity forms to the Ombuds Services on the types of issues brought to the attention of the RWA with no names or information that could identify a staff member in order to safeguard strict confidentiality.

RWAs do not directly intervene in mediation, investigation or resolution processes.

The goal of the RWA is to help colleagues help themselves by listening and providing problem-solving guidance in confidence.

RWAs should at all times:

  • Respect the dignity and rights of staff;
  • Maintain the highest standards of individual integrity;
  • Maintain absolute confidentiality concerning all discussions with a staff member, including among RWAs.
After appointment all RWAs receive training before they begin serving in the role. Staff performing managerial, Human Resource or Resource Management responsibilities, as well as Staff Association Officers or Counselors are not eligible to be RWAs to avoid conflicts of interest in their role.

Knowledge requirements for the RWAs include:

- A basic understanding of the dynamics of a culturally diverse environment and workplace problems including various forms of disrespectful and unethical behaviors.

- A comprehensive awareness of the Bank Group’s policies and procedures on appropriate behaviors and for dealing with conflict.

- Familiarity with the services and operations of each Conflict Resolution System and Internal Justice System offices.

- Ability to perform basic advisory functions such as listening and channelling emotions toward constructive action.

- Understanding their roles and responsibilities as RWAs, including how to handle and respond to workplace problems, and how to refer staff members to appropriate resources in the Bank Group.

Ombuds Services
The World Bank Group
August 2011

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Thomas Zgambo, Ombudsman
Thomas joined the World Bank in February, 2007 after six years as the Corporate Ombudsman at Coca-Cola Enterprises. Before joining Coca-Cola Enterprises, Thomas spent three years as an Ombudsman and Training Specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was also a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, teaching Negotiation and Conflict Management. Prior to MIT Thomas was an Ombudsman at Polaroid Corporation. Thomas is a past President of The Ombudsman Association, now the International Ombudsman Association. Thomas served as a mediator at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), and has mediated Disability, public accommodation, sexual harassment, and racial discrimination cases. He also served as a member of the Human Rights Commission for the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Governor's Advisory Council on African-American Affairs for the State of Massachusetts, USA. Thomas has a Ph. D. in Analytical Chemistry and Materials Science from the University of North Texas and an MBA in Management of Technology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Constance A. Bernard, Ombudsman
Constance Bernard has spent over 30 years in World Bank operations, and has worked in a number of regions. Most recently, she was Sector Director for Sustainable Development in South Asia, where she spent the last seven years of her career. Other assignments have included Director of Quality Assurance in ECA, Adviser to the Quality Assurance Group, and a variety of assignments in the Latin American region, including resident representative in Bolivia and division chief for rural operations in the southern cone. Her professional interests include: community-driven approaches to development, the role of voice and participation in driving accountability in Government programs, and inclusion of the poor in economic growth. Ms. Bernard holds degrees from Harvard and George Washington University, and is a member of the International Ombudsman Association.

David W. Talbot, Ombudsman
David Talbot joined the World Bank Group in September 2011 from the Coca-Cola Company, where he served as Ombudsman since 2003 for over 65,000 employees. David has over 14 years of experience in conflict resolution as a mediator, trainer, program manager, and Ombudsman. Prior to his work at Coca-Cola, David was Program Manager for Community Mediation Services, in Vancouver, Washington, and for the California Academy of Mediation Professionals, in Los Angeles, California. David has been involved in the development of the Ombudsman profession through his service on the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), Board of Directors, and through his membership on the IOA Professional Development Committee, Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee, Professional Ethics, Standards of Practice and Best Practices Committee, and as Coordinator for the IOA 101 Course. David has had a long association with Pepperdine University as Adjunct Professor teaching dispute resolution in the School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. He holds degrees in Law and in Dispute Resolution, and is a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner.?

Odile Rhéaume, RWA Program Administrator
Odile Rheaume has worked in the Ombuds Services office since 1994. She is assigned the Administration of the Respectful Workplace Advisor (RWA) Program since January 2005. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organization Development at American University. She joined the World Bank Group in 1988 as a bilingual secretary in the IFC Legal Department, and in 1991 moved to the Personnel Department of the IFC as an Administrative Assistant. Her previous professional experience includes various administrative positions for a private legal firm as well as office manager for an international brokerage firm. From 1979 to 1985, she worked as a transportation coordinator for the paper and pulp industry in Canada.

Tanisha L. McGill, Senior Program Assistant
Tanisha McGill began her tenure at the World Bank in Treasury Finance in 1998. Prior to joining the Ombuds Services office in July 2009, Tanisha moved to the Africa Region where she held various positions, her most recent assignment being Office Administrator in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management 2 (AFTP2) group. In her assignment as Office Administrator, she produced and delivered various training initiatives particularly designed for Country Office Administrative and Client Support staff. In addition, she served as a mentor to several ACS staff as well as high school students through the Urban Alliance program. Tanisha holds a BS in Business Administration.

Meggy C. Savady, Program Assistant
Meggy joined the Ombuds Services as a Program Assistant in January 2009. She joined the World Bank Group in 2000 as a member of the administrative team in the HR Staff Services Department. In 2004 she transferred to the IFC HR Learning Team where she coordinated a number of in-house courses for IFC staff and then worked in the IFC HR VP’s Office in 2006 as a Team Assistant. She returned to the Learning Team in 2007 to support and coordinate various Corporate Programs such as the Onboarding Program, the External Training Program and several Corporate-wide events. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she worked for many years in the travel industry.

Togtokhbayar Ganzorig

Togtokhbayar Ganzorig, Extended-Term Temporary
Togtokh, a Mongolian national, joined OMB in August 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Philosophy from American University. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Togtokh worked at the U.S. Green Building Council on LEED certifications for sustainable building design and construction. She has also worked for Amnesty International U.S.A. and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.





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