Stress is a very normal part of life. It can be helpful when we have deadlines to meet or need to accomplish a task quickly. However, there is the other side of stress that is harmful. When we experience harmful, long-term stress we will begin to see physical manifestations of the constant barrage of stress hormones on our bodies. Long-term stress causes depression, anxiety, pain, heart disease, and various other maladies. Stressors such as public speaking, being late, money worries, or conflicts with coworkers can affect individuals differently. It is good to note that something stressful to one person may not be stressful to someone else.
Managers usually notice when an employee is not happy. Productivity can decline when an employee is stressed whether at work, at home, or both. It is important to address any productivity issues early by helping employees identify and resolve concerns that affect job performance. Managers can help if they keep the lines of communication open between themselves and the employee. These few steps may prove to be invaluable in managing stress and improving productivity:
- Prioritize tasks – - Such action reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed.
- Reduce clutter – - Both physical and mental clutter can lead to a sense of hopelessness and exhaustion.
- Focus/concentrate – - Complete only one task at a time without the distraction of interruptions, i.e. email, television, mobile devices.
- Plan ahead – - List activities and mentally frame them as to how they will be completed. (Expect that even the best laid plans may not come to fruition, so have a back-up plan!)
- Relax – - Granting yourself time to relax, interact socially, and to foster close friend and family relationships will do wonders for reducing stress levels.
- Be positive – - Make a conscious effort to be positive at home and work. Positive people live longer!
Achieving work/life balance by reducing stress is essential to one’s livelihood. Take stress seriously and don’t wait until you become a burned out member of society to make yourself healthy and happy!
Check out the tips for managing stress and share them with your employees!
After our long winter, everyone is most likely ready for some nice, warm weather. Accompanying the warm weather may be “work-dread” days where employees would rather be spending time outside than in the office, precipitating a higher volume of sick call-ins. What are some reasons (besides nice weather) that may generate increased absences, which in turn cost your company money?
- Legitimate Illnesses. This is real life, so we know some employees will become ill. Many companies have instituted wellness programs to educate and encourage their workforce to make healthier choices, whether through formal or informal programs within their organization. A recent survey conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicated absences as a result of employees with chronic health conditions accounts for a yearly bill of $84 billion in lost productivity. That may provide enough motivation to take a look at offering some type of wellness initiative.
- Low Morale. Let’s face it. Some employees just don’t want to be at work…for a variety of reasons. You may gain some insight by opening dialogue with employees on a regular basis to find out what they like or don’t like about their job or the company. Provide options for employees to voice their concerns, perhaps through a suggestion box or small group meetings with supervisors and management. The important thing to remember is to listen and respond. If you solicit feedback, you don’t necessarily need to implement every idea but you should find some opinions that warrant further consideration.
- Work Environment. Perhaps the cause for the sick day call-in is to avoid dealing with another coworker, attendance at a school function for a child, or a problem supervisor. If either of these are the case, some changes in work environment may be the solution. Personnel issues, whether between coworkers or supervision, need to be addressed timely and appropriately. Oftentimes providing flexibility in work schedules can solve other issues regarding scheduling time off for family events.
Whatever the reasons are, absences are expensive for employers. Hopefully the above items will generate some ideas to reduce absenteeism and still provide opportunities for employees to enjoy the warm summer days.
With summer on the approach, remember to be cautious in bringing aboard any unpaid interns. The bottom line on interns is that they must be paid unless they are basically just watching, i.e. the organization cannot derive any immediate advantages from the activities of the intern. Most employers will pay interns because they typically cannot set up a scenario where they derive no benefit from an intern’s work. Click here for the link to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) fact sheet.
Employee engagement is closely linked to employee motivation. Employees who are motivated are more likely to consistently perform their best work. They become positive assets for their company by daily demonstrating their satisfaction and engagement with their work. Gallup recently researched employee engagement. They defined “Engaged” employees as those that “are deeply involved in and enthusiastic about their work and actively contributing to their organization.” Conversely, employees who “are ‘not engaged’ may be satisfied but are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are less likely to put in discretionary effort. ‘Actively Disengaged’ [employees] are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace and jeopardize their teams’ performance.” Think about those definitions for just a minute. Do you have employees that are not engaged that could be? Do you have actively disengaged employees that may need to be off-boarded?
The poll showed that 36% of managers and executives were “Engaged” in their jobs, which was a 10% increase compared with their results in 2009. The least engaged were in the manufacturing and transportation industries. The statistics nationwide indicated that overall 30% of employees are “Engaged,” 18% are “Actively Disengaged,” and the remainder, representing the majority, are “Not Engaged.”
These statistics can be alarming to employers who are coasting along thinking all their employees are happy and satisfied. What can be done to motivate and achieve engagement in employees? While many organizations try to “buy” their employees through increased wages and benefits packages, such are short-lived. Salary and benefits are tangible and important to employees, but work best to attract and retain the top talent. True motivation and engagement tools come through intangible efforts, such as praise and recognition, challenging work over which they have control, respect, and growth opportunities. When employees see these regularly practiced in the workplace, they are much more likely to be engaged and compatible with the organization, helping to reap big dividends!
Over the past year and a half, we have been following the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposal which would have required virtually all employers to post a notice about employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Those blogs can be found at these websites.
The rule, which was issued in 2011, was never implemented because of court challenges. After going to the appeals court, a ruling was issued on May 7 that the Board exceeded its authority in its effort to require employers to post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA. Probusiness groups are cheering, as the notice posting rule was expected to lead to more unionization and continued NLRB enforcement activity, especially for nonunion groups.
Will the NLRB appeal to the Supreme Court? It is possible that could happen. For now, however, employers no longer need to worry about the NLRB posting rule. We will keep you updated on any future developments.
HR professionals say that the three biggest challenges facing HR executives over the next 10 years are retaining and rewarding the best employees (59%), developing the next generation of corporate leaders (52%), and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees to organizations (36%). This research also explores investment challenges, talent management tactics, evolvement of the workforce, and critical HR competencies and knowledge.
Do you share these concerns? HRN solutions and consulting services can help. Check us out and request additional information.
Source: SHRM. To review the complete report go to www.shrm.org.
I have been reading about Google’s new mobile device, Glass. Glass can attach to a pair of eyeglasses and the results are interesting, yet somewhat frightening! The hands-free capabilities of Glass may be activated by either voice commands or moving the head up. It will take pictures, text, browse websites, view maps, record activities the wearer experiences and can transmit them live! One has to admit that it is a very creative and potentially powerful tool. The next admission may give you pause – - your employees may one day embrace Glass!
The implications of Glass in the workplace can call into question the ability to keep proprietary information confidential. Suppose an employee wears this device all day on their prescription glasses. You never know whether the employee is discretely recording what you are saying in a company financial outlook meeting, a disciplinary meeting, or a project planning meeting. Their coworkers likely will not be as open and forthcoming with their thoughts if they think there is a remote possibility they are being recorded. It could bridle collaboration and creativity, as well as threaten one of your most critical assets, your competitive edge.
While Glass is still in the prototype phase, it is expected to be available to the public in 2014. As with all new technology, employers will need to weigh the pros and cons of allowing such a device in the workplace. A careful review of company policies regulating personal mobile devices will become a high priority to continue safeguarding confidential company information.
Need help with your employment policies? HR Suite can help!
It’s getting close to merit time and employees are scrambling to figure out how to get projects done, goals completed, and earn a stellar rating on their performance review. The reward? Hopefully a merit increase towards the top end of the scale.
But what if getting a raise had nothing to do with performance, but rather having a tattoo? Not just any tattoo, though. A tattoo in the shape of your employer’s logo. If you are an agent for Rapid Realty, you could receive a raise of 15% for touting the company’s logo on your body. The restrictions are few:
- Tattoo can be any size
- Tattoo can be anywhere – on the thigh, bicep, ankle, wrist, behind the ear and elsewhere
- Tattoo can be customized; some have only the RR logo while others actually spell out “Rapid Realty”
Out of the 1,100 agents that work for Rapid Realty, 40 have visited the local tattoo parlor to get the 15% raise. As these employees are commissioned agents, the 15% kicks in every time they complete a deal.
I may be old fashioned, but loyalty to a company doesn’t mean sporting a tattoo. Rewarding an employee for a tattoo doesn’t seem to match the “pay for performance” philosophy that has been so engrained for many years. Granted, the tattoo may be “free” advertising and lower the turnover rate. But does it do anything to spike performance or commitment to an organization?
For the time being, I am going to stick with my philosophy of rewarding employees for doing a good job, meeting goals and objectives, and demonstrating professionalism in the workplace. Those may not appear as physical tattoos, but definitely can be seen and identified.
Many of the articles I have read recently were on the topic of “relevance.” That word just seemed to keep showing up. I could ignore it no longer! One article that specifically caught my eye was on the website tlnt.com, written by Ron Thomas, entitled, “Staying Relevant: Either We Continually Adapt, or We End Up Obsolete.” He made some very interesting observations. He stated, “Skill sets of jobs today are changing at warp speed. How do you hire for the future? Today’s workers need to be able to work in almost any medium, be comfortable using different technologies, and stay abreast of current and future trends.”
Those three sentences convey a lot of thoughtful information. First of all, industry changes are dictating the skill sets of jobs. Because the industry changes are happening quickly, the skill sets required of jobs performed just a few years ago are no longer relevant. That means that workers today may no longer have the skill set needed to perform their jobs in the near future.
What can be done to counter this change in your employees’ knowledge and skills? One is to review job descriptions each time an employee leaves and at least annually. This will determine if you have the relevant (that word again!) tasks, duties, responsibilities and functions that make up the job. Review the education, experience, and skills the job requires ensuring they are consistent with the actual needs. Make sure that you look at the job in a prospective manner, to hire for the current business needs and always keeping the future in view. Remember, if you continue to hire employees using your 1999 job description, you will get a 1999 skill set!
Another key to keeping the skills of your workforce applicable to your business is to continue developing your employees. Spend a little time and money now to reap greater benefits and actually see the ROI later by giving them the tools to keep up with the rapidly changing trends. When you show your employees that their knowledge and skills are important to you, enough to invest in them, you are building on your organization’s future. Don’t get left behind, lead the pack and plan for tomorrow, today!
I’m always interested in hearing what the outlook is for college graduates. In the recent years due to the downturn in the economy, the outlook hasn’t been too bright but the last couple of years have indicated a stronger job market. That’s good news for recent graduates, employers, and those parents who have been investing money in their child’s education with the hopes of securing a steady job (and being removed from mom and dad’s payroll).
The annual Harris Interactive© nationwide survey, conducted from February 11 to March 6, 2013, indicated that more than half (53%) of US employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2013. This represents a significant increase from 2010 where only 44% of employers reported the same.
You may be wondering how this varies by industry, so here are the stats:
- 65% – Information technology employers
- 63% – Financial service employers
- 56% – Health care employers
What kind of earnings can a new college graduate anticipate these days? It seems to be fairly evenly distributed between $30k to > $50k:
- 25% – Less than $30,000
- 29% – $30,000 to < $40,000
- 20% – $40,000 to < $50,000
- 25% – $50,000 and higher
The top areas for college graduates are focused primarily in two areas: front-line customer and client facing roles (such as customer service and sales), and jobs that require specific technical knowledge such as IT, finance, or health care.
The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder, interviewed over 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals. Although the jobs are increasing, it still is a competitive market so new grads should remember to network, do homework on the company they are interviewing with, and also include “non-work” experience in their resume such as internships, volunteer work, and involvement in outside activities. Welcome to the work world, 2013 graduates!