Three Essential Elements of Effective Workplace Health & Safety Programs

Depositphotos_3633032_S-480x480Organizational Culture and Leadership

  1. Develop a “Human Centered Culture.” Effective programs thrive in organizations with policies and programs that promote respect throughout the organization and encourage active worker participation, input, and involvement. A Human Centered Culture is built on trust, not fear.
  2. Demonstrate leadership. Commitment to worker health and safety, reflected in words and actions, is critical. The connection of workforce health and safety to the core products, services and values of the company should be acknowledged by leaders and communicated widely. In some notable examples, corporate Boards of Directors have recognized the value of workforce health and wellbeing by incorporating it into an organization’s business plan and making it a key operating principle for which organization leaders are held accountable.
  3. Engage mid-level management. Supervisors and managers at all levels should be involved in promoting health-supportive programs. They are the direct links between the workers and upper management and will determine if the program succeeds or fails. Mid level supervisors are the key to integrating, motivating and communicating with employees.

via CDC – Essential Elements of Effective Workplace Programs – NIOSH Total Worker Health.

Drug Use Costs Employers

smoke-jointDrug use, abuse, or addiction among employees and their family members can cause expensive problems for business and industry, ranging from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale, to an increase in health care, legal liabilities and workers’ compensation costs.

In addition, drug abuse can cause problems at work including:

  • After-effects of substance use (withdrawal) affecting job performance
  • Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration
  • Illegal activities at work including selling illegal drugs to other employees
  • Psychological or stress-related effects due to drug use by a family member, friend or co-worker that affects another person’s job performance

Estimated Costs:  Drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually.

FACT:  Workers who report having three or more jobs in the previous five years are about twice as likely to be current or past year users of illegal drugs as those who have had two or fewer jobs.  NCADD Fact Sheet:  Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace.

FACT:  70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed.

According to NCADD Affiliates that provide Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services, the following job performance and workplace behaviors may be signs that indicate possible workplace drug problems:

  • Job Performance
  • Inconsistent work quality
  • Poor concentration and lack of focus
  • Lowered productivity or erratic work patterns
  • Increased absenteeism or on the job “presenteeism”
  • Unexplained disappearances from the jobsite
  • Carelessness, mistakes or errors in judgment
  • Needless risk taking
  • Disregard for safety for self and others- on the job and off the job accidents
  • Extended lunch periods and early departures
  • Workplace Behavior
  • Frequent financial problems
  • Avoidance of friends and colleagues
  • Blaming others for own problems and shortcomings
  • Complaints about problems at home
  • Deterioration in personal appearance or personal hygiene
  • Complaints, excuses and time off for vaguely defined illnesses or family problems

Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused illegal drug by employees, followed by cocaine, with prescription drug use steadily increasing (see “Prescription Drugs”).

via Workplace.

Drug Use Expensive Problem for Business

1788218_2232590_1400592599Drug use, abuse, or addiction among employees and their family members can cause expensive problems for business and industry, ranging from lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale, to an increase in health care, legal liabilities and workers’ compensation costs.

In addition, drug abuse can cause problems at work including:

  • After-effects of substance use (withdrawal) affecting job performance.
  • Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration.
  • Illegal activities at work including selling illegal drugs to other employees.
  • Psychological or stress-related effects due to drug use by a family member, friend or co-worker that affects another person’s job performance.

Estimated Costs:  Drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually.

via Workplace.

Role of the Supervisor

functionalneeds-6Over the years, the role of the supervisor has changed. At one time, supervisors were feared order-givers who told employees what to do and policed their work. Successful supervisors today are more likely to be good leaders, coaches, and motivators. Good supervisors are respected by their team members, because most employers have come to understand that people are more productive if they are happy, motivated, and upbeat.

via Role of the Supervisor.

Shaping Behavior at Work.

thumbs upFor managers and supervisors shaping behavior can is a critical skill to get the most out of their workforce. Shaping is a simple concept but very difficult to master. You can’t get from step 1 to step 10 in one easy move. You sometimes have to write out steps 2 through 9 and then carry them out, one by one.

Employees today crave encouragement and positive feedback, but few feel they are receiving it. Research shows that half of all employees feel that their immediate supervisor does a poor job of providing them with recognition for their good work. For example, giving employees praise for doing a good job is a form of shaping behavior. Asking for feedback from employees and not taking the time to follow up on it will also shape behavior but in a negative way.

Shaping is not for the impatient, and a realization that patience is the key can take some people time. 



Cost of a Bad Hire

Bad EmployeeYour company loses more than time, money and effort by recruiting, hiring and training people who perhaps shouldn’t have been brought on in the first place. You must also deal with the havoc that the “wrong” employee can create: the business you may lose when that individual interacts with customers, the costs you incur when you have to repeat procedures that were handled ineptly and the pressures on other employees who must pick up the slack. But the costs of a bad hire doesn’t end there.

Consider the expense and hassle that arises when you have to cut your losses and dismiss this “wrong” hire. In the long run, it’s more difficult for the manager and team to accommodate a poor performer than it is to invest in recruiting quality candidates.

via Cost of a Bad Hire | Robert Half.

Growing Labor Shortages on the Horizon

help_wantedOccupational data from the United States indicates that future labor shortages will cluster around three major categories of concern:

  • Health-related occupations. The same aging of the U.S. population that will curtail working-age population growth to as low as 0.15 percent by 2030 is also driving up demand for medical workers. At the same time, high education and experience requirements limit entry into the job market. The result is a dearth in many healthcare professions, including occupational therapy assistants, physical therapists and therapist assistants, nurse practitioners and midwives, and dental hygienists. Among doctors, optometrists and podiatrists are the specialists most at risk of shortage, with the general physicians and surgeons category not far behind.
  • Skilled labor occupations. These jobs typically require more than a high-school education, but not a bachelor’s degree. Unlike healthcare, the primary driver of shortages here is not increased demand—employment growth is expected to be low in the coming decade—but instead a rapidly shrinking supply of young people entering these fields as increasing numbers retire. Skilled labor occupations most at risk include water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators, crane and tower operators, transportation inspectors, and construction and building inspectors.
  • STEM occupations. U.S. policymakers have long been concerned about shortages in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but many of these fields rank surprisingly average in a national context. Moderating the risk of shortages is the relatively high number of young entrants compared to baby-boomer retirees, as well as the large proportion of new immigrants in STEM jobs. Moreover, strong productivity growth means that output will continue to expand in areas like information technology, telecommunications, and high-tech manufacturing even as workforces in these jobs are expected to shrink. Nevertheless, certain STEM fields—including mathematical science, information security, and civil, environmental, biomedical, and agricultural engineering—do face significant shortages.

via Growing Labor Shortages on the Horizon in Mature Economies | The Conference Board.

Why Behavior Change is Hard

behaviorchangeAccording to one widely used theory (the transtheoretical model of behavior change), change occurs in five stages. Each stage is necessary before you can successfully move to the next, and stages can’t be hurried or skipped. The entire process can take a long time and may involve cycling back through earlier stages before moving on.

The five stages are:

  • Precontemplation. At this stage, you have no conscious intention of making a behavior change, but outside influences, such as public information campaigns or a family member’s concern, may spark your interest or awareness.
  • Contemplation. At this stage, you know that the behavior is a problem and at odds with personal goals (such as being healthy enough to travel), but you’re not committed to taking any action. You may weigh and re-reweigh whether it’s worth it to you to make a change.
  • Preparation. You make plans to change, such as joining a health club or buying nicotine patches. You anticipate obstacles and plan ways around them. For example, if you’re preparing to cut down on alcohol and you know that parties are a trigger for you, you make a list of alternative activities you can do with friends, like going to the movies.
  • Action. At this stage, you’ve changed — stopped smoking or lost weight, for example — and are facing the challenges of life without the old behavior. You use the strategies you came up with in the preparation stage.
  • Maintenance. Once you’ve practiced your new behavior for six months, you’re in the maintenance stage. Here you work to prevent relapses, including avoiding situations or triggers associated with the old habit or behavior.

via Why behavioral change is hard, and why you should keep trying – Harvard Health Publications.

Embrace 4 Habits to Be An Effective Boss

best_boss_ever_mugs-r3a053530b0724497b46c2adb5768f2f7_x7jg5_8byvr_512To become a highly effective boss, embrace the following four habits:

1. Focus on improvement. Although it’s tempting to only scrutinize the numbers when measuring a company’s progress, qualitative matters count. Look at how employees try to boost their efficiency or learn from past mistakes.

Creating successful employees involves managing them as people, not as numbers or assets. The level of sales a department brings in doesn’t necessarily reflect all the work employees do and their efforts.

2. Be available to employees. Don’t just tell employees what to do; be approachable when employees need help. Promote transparent communication and position management as a resource to employees.

Welcome employee feedback and encourage staffers to ask questions. Demonstrate that employees’ queries and comments are listened to.

3. Help employees accomplish their goals. Extraordinary bosses focus on the success achieved by every employee. Instead of trying to create a few rock star employees, effective bosses want each individual to achieve results.

Effective bosses also ensure that every employee sets up goals to support the company’s progress as a whole. Encourage employees at every level to use their talents to help the entire team achieve more success. This way, no one is left behind and each employee can reach his or her highest potential.

4. Be a coach and supporter. Don’t assume employees know how to do everything. Leadership in the workplace is about helping employees grow, improve and succeed.

Coaching employees can be effective because a boss gives real-time feedback and guidance. Research by Towers Watson shows highly engaged employees receive feedback from management regularly.

If employees are struggling in a certain area, step in and guide them. Sometimes employees can become easily overwhelmed by a new project, so don’t hesitate to lend support.

Management effectiveness can determine a company’s success. Great bosses make employees want to stay at their jobs, while bad ones prompt them to leave.

via Join the League of Extraordinary Bosses: 4 Habits to Cultivate.

What Makes a Good Supervisor?

savvyinjectiThe main qualities required are:

  • Great communication skills: As a supervisor one must communicate clearly and correctly to avoid misunderstandings and frustrations. When receiving information from a subordinate, she should be sure to receive it correctly – There is no harm in asking again if necessary.
  • Adapt to the changes: World is changing at a fast pace. The efficient supervisors ought to keep up with it. Do not just blindly follow the age old norms and rules. Think out of the box if required. Adjust to the needs of the organization.
  • Value the employees: The people are any supervisor’s real asset. They are ones running the business and the work. A good supervisor understands their worth and treats them accordingly.
  • A coacher/mentor: Share your experience. A good supervisor shares her wisdom, knowledge and experience with the employees. She helps them perform better. This also strengthens the bond and the trust between them.
  • Disciplined: If a supervisor is disciplined then only can she expect the people to be so. The boss is an example – Come on time, meet the time-lines, set a behavioral code if necessary.
  • Feedback/incentives: Promotions, feedback, raises and accolades should be showered on the deserving people.
  • Be an example: Be hands on – Do not just always delegate. At times the boss should take on projects too. She may try picking up something less attractive or uninteresting and complete it wonderfully. This sets an example to all the team about taking up challenges and about how any work is important.
  • Be approachable: The employees should not hesitate in approaching the supervisor with their concerns and problems. An efficient supervisor will make sure that there is enough trust and openness between her and the employees for the latter to come to her with their grievances.
  • Be considerate: People are not just employees. They have families, friends and a life beyond work. Unless there is something urgent, do not make them work beyond the usual hours. Let them have their weekends and vacations. Be practical when setting the time-lines. This all will in turn improve the efficiency and the productivity of the employees.
  • Positive attitude: Be polite. Wish employees good mornings and be generous in thanking them. Inquire after about their families off and on.
  • Criticize constructively: When mistakes happen a good supervisor tries and understands the reasons behind the mishap. She criticizes or assesses the employee in proportion to the mistake. And it is always better to not to scream or scold in front of the others. Give constructive feedback; show them the right way to do things.

A supervisor ought not to take the power for granted and continue working on the qualities required to become a great supervisor.

via What Makes a Good Supervisor? 10 Qualities of a Good Supervisor.