Resources to Promote the Ombuds Role

Help IOA Advocate for the Ombuds Profession

There are endless opportunities to increase awareness of organizational ombuds’ importance and value. Below are key resources to help ombuds and our allies promote, explain, and advocate for the ombuds role.

Video: Who Are Ombuds
IOA  began a long-term effort to tell the story of the ombuds profession in a new and exciting way with the release of this video about the modern ombuds. Members can also access the Modern Ombuds Communications Toolkit which includes additional resources and messages to help explain what we do, how we do it, and why it’s important.

Celebrate Ombuds Day!
Every second Thursday of October people from around the world take time to celebrate Ombuds. IOA wants to invite you to take part in these celebrations. 

Ombuds Day serves as an additional opportunity to educate and raise awareness among the public about the history and practices of the ombuds profession including the various ombuds models, the roles they play, the services they offer, and the value provided.

Ombuds General Introduction Slidedeck
Produced by the IOA Communications Committee, 2018
Summary: A set of PowerPoint slides designed to introduce a general audience to the ombuds role. These slides are meant to be incorporated into others’ presentations and are made available for your use.

Ombuds Office Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions
To supplement the poster presentation given at the NASEM Action Collaborative Summit in November 2019 and to help support and promote the critical role ombuds play in the higher education ecosystem, IOA has created this toolkit that can be used as a resource to aid the consideration and establishment of such offices and to help existing ombuds become more effective.

Guide for Setting up a Conference Ombuds Program
IOA developed this guide of sample documents as a public service in light of the increasing demand for the provision of ombuds services at conferences of professional associations and other organizations.

The Benefits of an Ombuds Office
A one-page list of commonly-cited benefits of having an ombuds office in an organization.

How Do Ombuds Fit?
A one-page explainer of how ombuds fit into an organization’s structure.

To Avoid Harassment Crisis, Try an Ombudsman
Chief Executive, 2018
By Talley Parker
Summary: Pfizer ombudsman Timothy Shore is interviewed for a podcast about the ways in which ombuds can help address the prevalence of workplace harassment. This article summarizes his remarks.

One clear way wise companies can avoid Uber’s big mistake
Published on, 2017
By Amanda Dean and Seanan Fong 

Prepared to be Valuable: Positioning Ombuds Programs
Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, 2014
By Andrea Schenck & John W. Zinsser
Abstract excerpt: Organizational Ombuds and host organizations wish to account for the value Ombuds programs’ presence and activities generate. This long-standing interest promulgated qualitative (usefulness) and quantitative (return on investment) efforts. Despite this debate, few have enacted the leading practice to fully measure and properly communicate their programs’ contributions and value. The authors’ core thesis asserts an expanded paradigm will allow programs, host organizations, and the public to better understand how the contributions programs make can be acknowledged and recognized as value additions. Optimally, these new patterns will stimulate higher usage rates, promote existent programs’ sustainability, and increase the introduction of new programs.

Why and How The Ombuds Office Demonstrates Value To The Organization
Journal of the International Ombuds Association, 2014
By Bob O’Connor
Abstract excerpt: This paper is offered to those who are interested in demonstrating the value of an Ombuds office to leaders in an organization. It, therefore, builds upon the presumptions that leaders may know little about what an Ombuds office is, whether it “works,” and what are its benefits. ...It is concerned with the Ombuds office’s attempts at self-justification to those who may be doubtful about its necessity, purpose, methods, or efficacy. The desired outcome will lead to improved communications between Ombuds and those with whom they communicate about the office and its value to the organization.

A Fresh Look at the Organizational Ombudsman
SWE, Magazine of the Society of Women Engineers, 2012
By Meredith Holmes
Summary: Introduced in Sweden in the early 19th century to improve fairness and efficiency in government, the ombudsman has new relevance for large organizations that must recruit and retain an increasingly multicultural, mobile, and global workforce.

Board Champions for the Ombudsman
National Association of Corporate Directors
(NACD) - Directors Monthly, 2008

By Jonathan E. McBride & James S. Hostetler
Summary: Recent studies have shown that though corporate ethics compliance programs are on the rise, reporting violations are on the decline. One way to remedy this is by establishing an ombudsman office and providing employees with an informal channel for reporting unethical activities that may be putting your company at risk.

Objective Edge: Office ombuds help smooth conflicts – without litigation
Entrepreneur Magazine, 2006
By Mark Henricks

An Organizational Ombuds Office In a System for Dealing with Conflict and Learning from Conflict, or “Conflict Management System”
Harvard Negotiation Law Review, 2008
By Mary Rowe, PhD

Ethics, HR and the Importance of Ombuds Programs
Published by Human Resource Institute, 2005
Summary: The legislative and corporate governance environment has changed in recent years. It is more critical than ever for companies to have a complete system for identifying and resolving ethics problems. Such a system works best if it combines formal channels such as hotlines and compliance policies with the informal channel of an ombuds office, which remains independent of the company’s management structure.

The IOA is committed to providing relevant information on the organizational ombuds profession and related topics. Explore available resources in the Resources menu tab. Some resources are available to members only, as a benefit of membership. Learn more about joining IOA.

If you are aware of additional relevant resources that are available in the public domain or by permission, please contact the IOA at [email protected] about adding those resources to this collection and/or the IOA Clearinghouse.