Making a plan

Listen to this article
Audio file

Key points:

  • it can be helpful to make a plan for how you are going to self-advocate or speak up about a problem at work
  • a plan can you help you understand what is happening in the situation
  • having a plan can also help you communicate the situation more effectively.

How can having a plan help me?

Some people might already know what their workplace problem is and how they are going to resolve it.

But for other people, they might not know what the problem is or what options are available to resolve it.

Or they might know what to do, but they find it helpful to have their plan written down.

Creating a plan can help you:

  • understand the problem
  • understand your needs
  • know what steps you need to take
  • keep track of your progress
  • feel less overwhelmed and distressed by the problem.

How can I plan to self-advocate in the workplace?

Identify the issue

It can be helpful to first think about what happened or what the problem is.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • what happened?
  • is there a workplace situation that I need help with?
  • am I needing support at work?
  • is there a situation in my workplace that I am uncomfortable with?
  • were there other people involved?
  • what are my workplace entitlements and rights?
  • have my rights been violated?

Identifying solutions and outcomes

The next step is to think about things that might help you to resolve the problem.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • what could solve this problem?
  • what help do I need?
  • do I need workplace accommodations or adjustments?
  • what is my preferred solution?
  • if I can’t have my preferred solution, are there other solutions?
  • am I willing to compromise?

Planning for how you will speak up

It can then be helpful to think about who you need to speak to at work and the way that you want to discuss the problem with them.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • who do I need to speak to about my problem?
  • do I need a support person to be with me?
  • how am I going to speak up?
  • when am I going to speak up about my problem?
  • does my work have a protocol for reporting my specific problem?

Reviewing your plan

Finally, it can be helpful to evaluate whether your problem was solved and to increase your self-awareness about your self-advocating skills.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • did I resolve my problem?
  • do I still need help?
  • what went well?
  • what didn’t go well?
  • what can be done differently next time?

 Use our template to help you self-advocate in the workplace.

Case Study

Amber was in her job for six months. She was loving her job and the work she was doing. Her non-work life was getting busy and she felt that she couldn’t commit to the hours she was working. Amber made a plan outlining the reasons why she needed a reduction in her contract hours and booked an appointment with her supervisor. She spoke clearly that she needed to reduce her hours at work so when she is at work she is fully committed and not feeling tired. She further explained that she will work two solid days instead of five half days meaning she can be more productive in her tasks. An agreement was met and her hours was reduced by five hours. The decision was written down in the form of a contract and a date for five months later to review this decision to see if a further reduction or an increase in hours is needed.