Skip to Main Navigation

Respectful Workplace Advisors

Select a EDS Sub navigation page selecting option, leaving this page

Respectful 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 in strict confidence. 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 Internal Justice Services (IJS), if appropriate. The RWA network is overseen by the Ombuds Services office.


The RWA Program is one of a range of informal services available to staff within the Internal Justice System of the World Bank Group. This Program supports the World Bank Group’s commitment to fostering a positive and motivating workplace 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.

RWA Program Responsibilities

The additional responsibilities of the RWA Program are to build capacity within the WBG by:

1.     Raising awareness about respectful and ethical behaviors at the World Bank Group through

        a)     Regular Program communications

        b)     Updated presentations to staff and management

        c)    Regular reports on RWA Program activities

2.     Contributing to the informal resources available to staff by ensuring that:

        a)    All staff have information available  to enable easy and early access to RWAs

        b)     All eligible Country Offices have RWAs

3.     Facilitating the nomination and selection of appropriate staff to the RWA role by ensuring that:

        a)    WBG staff nominated to be a RWA do not have other commitments that might lead to a conflict of interest;

        b)    Nomination and selection processes are fair and understood by staff

4.      Training nominated colleagues to an effective standard to meet their RWA responsibilities so that all RWAs have:

        a)     A basic understanding of the dynamics of a culturally diverse environment and workplace problems, including various forms of disrespectful and unethical behaviors;

        b)    A comprehensive awareness of the Bank Group’s policies and procedures on appropriate behaviors; and for addressing conflict;

        c)    Familiarity with the services  of the different units within the Internal Justice System (IJS);

        d)    The ability to perform basic helping functions such as active listening; and

        e)    An understanding of their roles and responsibilities, including how to handle and respond to workplace problems, and how to refer staff members to appropriate resources in the Bank Group.

5.     Adhering to the RWA Standards of Practice*, by ensuring the Program is:  organized, efficient, visible, accessible, competent, high-quality, coordinated, effective and impactful.

6.    The process of providing assistance through the Program should also be:  voluntary, accessible, informal, effective, empowering and satisfactory.




The World Bank Group recognizes the right of every staff member to be treated fairly, with respect and dignity and to work in a respectful workplace free of harassment, discrimination and intimidation.  To support this policy, the Bank Group has set up several avenues through which individuals can seek advice and assistance or to register a complaint.  One of the informal avenues of assistance is the Respectful Workplace Advisors (RWA) Program.

RWAs are a network of peer volunteers in World Bank Group country offices and some work units in Washington. RWAs are nominated by staff members in their offices (following the RWA Nomination Guidelines), and serve a four-year term. The goal of the RWA is to help colleagues help themselves by listening and providing problem-solving guidance in confidence. The Program is managed by the Ombuds Services.


The role of the RWA is to:

1.    Provide an informal, confidential, trustworthy and readily accessible source of early assistance for staff with questions or concerns regarding a respectful workplace or who want information about where to seek assistance. Issues might include interpersonal conflicts, unfair treatment, harassment, disrespectful and unethical behaviors, employment or performance, misconduct and other workplace stresses; and

2.    Brief management on general respectful workplace trends while maintaining confidentiality.


In fulfilling their role, the responsibilities of RWAs are to:

·         Serve as a confidential sounding board for staff;

·         Listen and help colleagues assess their situations and think through their options;

·         Help colleagues help themselves by listening and providing problem-solving guidance in confidence;

·         Coach colleagues in conflict resolution skills, when appropriate, to enable them to help themselves in the future;

·         Guide colleagues to appropriate institutional sources of information and support, including the Internal Justice System;

·         Provide colleagues with information about relevant policies and procedures;

·         Model the WBG Code of Conduct and other organisational statements of standards and values;

·         Ensure colleagues understand how to confidentially contact them;

·         Respond to requests for assistance promptly;

·         Meet with the Country Manager/Director/VP periodically to discuss trends and the general office environment without providing information about specific cases or divulging the names of staff involved;

·         Give periodic presentations to all staff in the office/unit as well as briefings to new staff on their RWA role;

·         Send quarterly confidential Activity Forms to Ombuds Services on the types of issues brought to their attention, with no information that could identify a staff member in order to safeguard absolute confidentiality.

RWAs DO NOT intervene, investigate, mediate or participate in resolving issues. They do not represent staff or carry a staff member’ issue to a higher authority. They do not choose a course of action for staff members.

At all times RWAs must follow the RWA Standards of Practice*, by being:  confidential, respectful, ethical, informal, trustworthy, independent, impartial and competent.


  • The World Bank Group
    Stephanie Luckam Garner
    Program Officer , RWA Program
    1818 H Street N.W. Washington, DC 20433
    Tel : 202-458-1058