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Stress In The Workplace

 

Studies have shown that for every dollar spent on controlling psychosocial hazards, you can save between three to six dollars on your bottom line!

We can learn many things about stress management and how stress management can benefit workplaces. For example, dairy farmers are drastically changing the way in which cows are raised. Dairy farmers have found that creating a relaxing, non-stressful environment for the cows turns into better profits.  Cows no longer are cooped up in small stalls, or separated from their young; instead they roam freely in pastures.  Come milking time, the cows go in a modern, high-tech barn that is designed for maximum comfort. The floors are made of stainless steel, that’s so that the robotic squeegee can scrape all waste matter away to prevent disease. The cows also have access to large “car-wash type” brushes that automatically spin when a cow is present, this is to help the cow get at those irritating itches. Milking the cow is accomplished by a laser guided machine that finds each nipple, all without any person touching the cow.  Once hooked up, the machine monitors the milk for any temperature changes or disease. To further reduce stress the cow is always with their young, even when it’s time for milking.

Dairy farmers say that a happy cow gives more milk, and that the milk is better quality. They are witnessing positive results from their investment in stress management.

How can we apply stress management to everyday workers? We need to first realize that stressed workers are less productive, more prone to accidents, have more sick days, and cost the company many thousands of dollars on the bottom line.

The solution to these problems can come through a good stress management program where employees feel good about coming to work and doing the best job they can. Creating this friendly, non-confrontational atmosphere can be attained through: commitment, desire, and proper leadership. The monetary cost of stress management can be minimal when you understand your psychosocial hazards that exist in your workplace, and you control them.

Over the past twenty years of health and safety management, there has been much study on the term Psychosocial hazard, and, if it really exists in our workplaces.  The Ministry of Labor, W.S.I.B., Health and Safety Professionals, C.S.A and Union Leaders all recognize that psychosocial hazards are real, and that they can be controlled just as much as physical hazards.

Holy Cow!

Employee Recognition – Guiding Principles

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Guiding Principles

A Simple ‘Thank You’
It only takes a moment (less than 60 seconds) to recognize the efforts of a co-worker. You could call it “fly-by appreciation”. Example: “Thanks for getting that study out to the staff so quickly. Now they will have time to read it before the meeting…”(15 sec.)
Pay Attention
Noticing when people are doing the right thing increases the probability they will repeat it. Example: “I saw how smoothly you let that student know what they could do to avoid a delay. Thanks for doing that level of customer service…”
Inspire Effort
People who feel appreciated give more to the job than what is merely required. They are ready to give the “discretionary effort” necessary to a healthy organization.
Reward the right things
You get what you pay attention to. If you positively comment on how an effort helps maintain our core values, or facilitates customer service, or helps new staff orient, or cross-trains staff, or builds teamwork, etc. staff will know what is important around here.
Personalized Approach
One size does not fit all. Staff are individuals and respond differently to the same strategy. Ask staff how they want to be recognized.
Equal Opportunity
There should be opportunity for all staff to receive recognition–whether for improving performance, for extra effort, for creativity, or for reliably doing their job each day.
Keep it Positive
To have the greatest impact, the recognition message needs to be completely positive (coach later!), specific, sincere, and given soon after the effort.
Enjoy!
“Fun, joy and sharing go hand-in glove with world class quality.”- Tom Peters. Celebrate individual and unit accomplishments- planned or spontaneously!
Recognize Leadership
Give recognition to staff that support a “recognition culture” with their actions and words by publicly noting their contribution, including it in their performance appraisal, inviting them to recognition celebrations, etc.
Recognize Teamwork
When the relationship among co-workers is good, recognition enhances work performance. When the relationship is troubled, it usually doesn’t matter how you reward or recognize people.

Source: Adapted from University of Iowa

Service Recognition Topics

http://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/roles/mgr/ee-recognition/guiding-principles.html


Harm prevention needs to look beyond the individual into the corporate and the systemic

Managers!! Get out of the office

One of the best things that managers can do is get out of the office and get some face time going with the workers on the front line.  Get out and interact with them. Not in an event way like “ride the big bike” for charity event once a year. I mean get out there as individuals and create friendships with the employees.  Too many times there is a distinct separation between management and hourly employees, which causes a distancing effect from your workforce that can undermine your corporate goals as a whole.

When a regular hourly employee knows your name and you give genuine recognition, then you have an employee who feels like you care about them and they will stop at nothing to do the best job they can to aid and assist in the success of the corporate goals.

Employee Wellness, Morale, and the Bottom Line

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Keeping your employees happy is a key component to getting the most out of your bottom line.  With a business being ran by a bunch of unhappy campers who don’t want to be there, you can bet that your production rates will decrease as well.  Not every job is glamorous.  As a matter of fact, most jobs are the complete opposite.  However, that does not warrant the assumption that every day has to be a living hell.  Understanding the connection between employee wellness, morale, and the bottom line will help any frustrated supervisor transform their workforce.

Tracking Employee Wellness

Your employees are simply human beings who are trying to make a living.  They do not need or wish to be treated as slaves – machines that can take a beating without uttering a complaint.  Even machines break down; and your employees will as well if you don’t take some time…

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Is it possible to achieve a high-five slapping, relaxed, stress free work environment?

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We’ve all worked in places where we had stress from high demands, low reward, unreasonable expectations, gossip and even political games that can get pretty nasty!

Some of us have had the privilege of working in an almost utopia of positive reinforcement by senior staff combined with a genuine caring for your over all well-being.  Everyone is made to feel welcome and part of a team. It’s relaxed, stress free and you may even get excited about going to work to do the best job you can!

I am a fan of the T.V. series Undercover Boss, mostly because it’s shed a light on the subject of psychosocial aspects in the workplace.  I like how the “boss” connects with the regular workers and listens to their concerns.  The “boss” always addresses the concerns and even finds a way to reward peoples loyalty and dedication with great gifts.

So  is it possible to achieve a happy, stress free workplace?  YES, only if the boss is behind it 100%.  Without that clear support from the top it wont have legs and eventually it will fade away.

 

If you build it, they will come!