AJP standards require that employers treat all employees with respect and dignity.
Workplaces, like every community, function best when their members relate to each other in healthy, respectful ways. Community agreements are a tool for setting both boundaries and aspirations for behavior and ways of relating. Importantly, this does not mean imposing uniformity or one culture’s notions of proper behavior: community agreements should be written and maintained together, with sensitivity and attention to the diverse needs and expectations of the individual team members.
The simplest “community agreements” are like those found in the AJP’s Model Handbook for Farm Employees, which set basic expectations about diligence and attention to work tasks, good two-way communication, respect and courtesy, and nonviolence. As required by the AJP standards, these agreements also forbid harassment or intimidation of any kind.
We have also gathered some excellent examples and resources for writing community agreements from Rock Steady Farm, Soul Fire Farm, and others, that offer more specific agreements for how to engage with each other respectfully, create a caring and inclusive workplace, and deal with concerns and disagreements when they arise.
Skills for working together #
Alongside community agreements, it’s also important to build the skills necessary for your team to work together well and stay resilient amidst the inevitable friction that arises when people share space. We share some skill-building resources for conflict resolution that are helpful in this regard, too:
Feedback Skills for Anti-Racist Managers (Dragonfly Partners): practicing how to give feedback in a way that is helpful and sensitive to how it might be received.
Direct Communication in the Context of Conflict (Dragonfly Partners): advice for communicating clearly and effectively to resolve workplace friction.
From Conflict to Co-operation (Cooperatives UK): 5 short booklets cover the sources of conflict, communication skills, effective meetings and decision-making, etc., in the context of cooperative workplaces.
In It Together: Tools for Conflict Resolution (Interrupting Criminalization & Dragonfly Partners): outlines practices for developing a healthy group culture of accountability, includes lots of supplementary learning resources and advice.