Help your employees beat the January blues

Most people agree January is a pretty miserable month. This year, Monday 20th January is Blue Monday – scientifically (or not as the case may be!) the most depressing day of 2020. But in all seriousness, business should recognise the risks associated with not managing employees health and well-being effectively. We’re sharing our thoughts about three subjects that contribute to stress in the workplace and have a negative impact on the well-being of your staff.

MINIMISE STRESS THROUGH A HEALTHY WORKPLACE CULTURE

It’s no surprise that stress is the number one cause of long-term absence. According to HSE statistics, in 2018/19 there were 0.6 million new or long-standing reported cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK.  In 2018/19,  12.8 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Pressures and stresses can come from both work and home. At work there are often heavy workloads and long working hours, while at home there can be financial stresses, lifestyle pressures and general family concerns, all of which have an impact on the way people feel and act at work.

Employers should consider the mental, as well as physical, wellbeing of their employees, focusing on prevention rather than reacting to some of the possible outcomes such as high staff turnover, high absenteeism rates and the associated business costs with both of these.

The introduction of flexible working or flexi-time can help employees deal with stress by allowing them to balance their work and personal lives more effectively and reducing the need to take time off. Businesses should also ensure managers at all levels of an organisation are supportive and empathic. Awareness, encouragement and recognition are important, as feeling valued and appreciated provides a key extrinsic motivator which can have a positive impact on a person’s well-being.

Visit the HSE website for more information about dealing with workplace stress: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/

LIMIT OUT OF HOURS COMMUNICATIONS

Just about everyone is contactable all of the time these days. Often it’s hard to ignore those emails and messages when they come in, even if it can wait until Monday morning. As an employer or manager, it might be worth taking a moment to think about how sending emails out of hours might affect the recipient and put them under unnecessary pressure. If you don’t require an immediate response but just want to tick it off your ‘things to do’ list, consider setting up a time delay or create a draft to send early the next working day instead.

DISCOURAGE PRESENTEEISM

Presenteeism, where employees continue to come into work when they are unwell, can be a big issue for employers. A member of staff who is not fully fit enough to engage at work may be physically present but will not be making a proper contribution to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of the work they produce but affecting the overall working atmosphere, including for the people around them.

‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing Survey. The survey reports that 86% of over 1,000 respondents said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the preceeding 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010. Having unhealthy people at work could create a vicious cycle, with more employees falling ill after catching a cold or illness from sick colleagues.

Presenteeism is more likely to occur there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee wellbeing. Employers should take action to make sure that the culture of the business supports employees as recognising the importance of healthy, happy staff will lead to business performance improvement across the board.

Do something about the wellbeing of employees in your organisation…

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Wellbeing culture, including Employee Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.

Looking after employee mental health and wellbeing

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 13th to 19th May 2019, which should give UK organisations a reminder that they need to look at the problems that can arise by not managing employee mental health and wellbeing effectively.

A recent survey conducted by St John’s Ambulance found that nearly 45% of people have considered leaving their job due to mental health issues. Furthermore, two thirds of people who took part in the survey said they felt uncomfortable asking an employer for a mental health sick day and 1 in 4 felt their work is having a negative impact on their health and wellbeing.

Workplace stress is a massive problem for UK workers. According to the HSE, over 11 million days are lost at work a year because of stress at work. It is the legal duty of businesses to take action to protect employees against stress by doing a risk assessment to assess the risks in the six main causes of stress in the workplace, namely:

  1. Demands
  2. Control
  3. Support
  4. Relationships
  5. Role
  6. Change

Pressures and stresses can come from both work and home. At work there are often heavy workloads, long working hours and colleague relationship issues, while at home there can be financial stresses, lifestyle pressures and general family concerns, all of which have an impact on the way people feel and act at work.

Employers should consider the mental, as well as physical, wellbeing of their employees, focusing on prevention rather than reacting to some of the possible outcomes such as high absenteeism and staff turnover rates.

Employers can help people deal with stress by allowing them to balance their work and personal lives more effectively. Businesses should also ensure managers at all levels of an organisation are supportive and empathic. Awareness, encouragement and recognition are important, as feeling valued and appreciated provides a key extrinsic motivator which can have a positive impact on a person’s mental wellbeing.

Visit the HSE website for more information and advice about employee mental health and wellbeing and dealing with workplace stress: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/what-to-do.htm

For more information about Mental Health awareness week, visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

Measure the wellbeing of your employees

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Wellbeing culture, including Employee Wellbeing Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.

Reward and recognition of employees without breaking your budget

Rewarding staff is a great way of motivating them and maintaining employee satisfaction. But how can you do so without spending money? We understand that as a business you can’t throw bonuses their way every time you want to say ‘well done’ or ‘thanks for the good work’. We’ve created this article to share some top tips for showing your employees appreciation for a job well done without putting pressure on already stretched budgets.

Keep hold of your talent

Employee satisfaction is absolutely vital in any workplace, but that doesn’t mean salary reviews and end of year bonuses have to be the ‘be all and end all’. To motivate and retain talented employees for the year ahead, employers need to develop more innovative recognition and reward strategies that don’t rely on money alone. Doing so will protect against misalignment between company goals and individual activities and keep everyone on track. You will maintain and improve employee happiness without damaging the company’s budget.

Honesty is the best policy

Speculation and gossip surrounding pay increases and bonuses can be dangerous. It’s impossible to eliminate this completely but you can make sure that you’re delivering a consistent and honest message about opportunities for financial reward in the coming months and years. Employee wellness is important, so it’s important they know how things like pay increases work because, if for example, an employee had false information, and was hoping for a bonus/increase in the nearby future it could lead to constant disappointment and the employee might start doubting their work and lose motivation and interest. That’s why it’s important you provide accurate information. This will give your employees a sense of control over their futures and help to create an open, honest workplace.

Offer opportunities

A good way to recognise high performance is to offer opportunities to broaden your employees’ experience. For example, ask them to lead an internal knowledge sharing session or offer a day’s job shadowing. This could lead to creating a new role for them in another area of the business. Engaging with the aspirations of your employees and creating personal development plans that help them realise their ambitions is crucial to retaining talent.

Regular feedback

Taking the time to evaluate your communication and feedback processes sends a strong message that you care about employees’ development and that good work will be recognised. Without structured feedback employees can feel like the quality of their work, good or bad, goes unnoticed. Staff surveys and focus groups are a good way of achieving this.

Say ‘thanks’!

It’s common knowledge that  a lack of recognition from management is one of the most demotivating factors for employees. Taking the time to highlight good work will boost employees’ job satisfaction and put any constructive criticism in context. Drawing attention to achievements across teams can be a powerful motivation to other team members.

Want more sales? Have happy employees

An unhappy workforce is something your customers will pick up on and will undoubtedly impact your sales. In addition, unhappy employees usually unproductive employees. It’s therefore crucial to dedicate resources to ensuring your employees are happy in their work.

Happy, productive employees

There’s plenty of evidence around relating to the link between employee engagement and productivity. A study from the University of Warwick suggested that happy employees were 12% more productive. The research was carried out by Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr Eugenio Proto and Dr Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. Professor Oswald said: “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.” Dr Sgroi added: “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”

Happiness and your bottom line

When it comes to the impact of employee happiness on sales, research by the Hay Group found that organisations scoring within the top 25% for employee engagement achieve 2.5 times the revenue growth of organisations in the bottom 25%. The Hay Group reported more evidence of the positive impact of employee engagement, finding that high engagement levels can reduce employee turnover by 4%, which reduces recruitment costs. It also found a direct link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, suggesting that employees who are happy at work will often go the extra mile when it comes to customer service (backing up the theory behind the title of this blog!).

Valuing your people

The key to employee happiness is balancing the value that you place on your employees with the value that they get out of working for your organisation. If your business plan includes a strategy for valuing people and ensuring the happiness of employees, the benefits could be huge. For example, more ideas, greater commitment, improved customer service and, ultimately, better productivity that will help to gain a competitive advantage.

If working for your organisation creates a valuable experience for your employees, they are more likely to remain loyal and put in extra effort.  The result of that extra effort is an employee whose value to your organisation far outweighs their cost.

This may sound like the holy grail of employee relations, but it really doesn’t require complex or expensive investment in new ways of working. What it does rely on is wholehearted support from your senior leadership team, through their vision, leadership and communication.

Team up with INSPIRING

INSPIRING provides valuable, practical advice for organisations who want to improve employee engagement or look more generally at achieving performance improvements. Take a look at our employee surveys, leadership programmes or find out more about BS 76000 – the British Standard for Valuing People. Get in touch using the form on the left, email us or call us free on 0800 612 3098.

Motivated employees mean greater productivity

Research shows that a motivated employee is far more productive than one who is not, therefore making sure your team feel happy and supported is not only ‘the right thing to do’, but it is also right for your business.

Everyone knows the difference between working with someone who is motivated and someone who is not. The extra commitment, enthusiasm, focus and productivity of a motivated person are obvious to see.

Research shows that a motivated employee is far more productive than one who is not, therefore making sure your team feel happy and supported is not only ‘the right thing to do’, but it is also right for your business.

So what should you do when the positive vibes are lacking and how should you deal with an unproductive member of your team? The answer is: you set about changing their attitude!
We’ve come up with a few of the ways in which you can support your employees to help them become more motivated and productive members of your team.

Give training where needed

Everyone hates not knowing what to do. Your employees are more likely to be productive when they understand what exactly is expected from them and they are given the training to perform such a task. Training gives confidence and confidence leads to employees that are productive.

Let your people shine

You’ve invested in training, spent time getting to know your team and have spotted some real potential – so don’t let it go to waste! Giving individuals the opportunity to use their skills to the best of their ability will give them great satisfaction whilst the business will gain value by making the lost of them.

Encourage self-determination

Enable your people to make decisions for themselves at a level appropriate to their role and responsibilities. Allow individuals to initiate and regulate their own actions whilst ensuring line managers step up to their role of supporting their team members. It’s about creating a good level of trust within your business, i.e. does the manager trust the team member to do the job? Does the team member feel trusted?

Be supportive

Make sure your employees know that, however you feel about them, you are willing to offer your support and stand up for them. If employees believe that they are supported by their employer (and their line manager) in getting what they want out of work beyond just money, they will respond with positive behaviour.

Make sure they know their contribution counts

Make sure that your people understand the impact they have on business performance as a whole. At all levels they should be able to describe the contribution they make and the important part they play in the success of the organisation.

 

Team up with INSPIRING…

If you want to increase productivity in your organisation, team up with INSPIRING. We can help you develop an effective employee engagement strategy, which will reward you with greater levels of innovation; increased commitment from employees and, ultimately, better productivity that will impact directly on your business’s performance.
 

Is ‘presenteeism’ costing you more than absenteeism?

The issue of presenteeism is becoming a common problem within the workplace, where employees continue to come into work when they are unwell.

Although this may sound like a good thing to HR professionals, it is thought that presenteeism costs UK workplaces £15bn per year – compared to the £8bn absenteeism costs. This is because many employees now feel pressure to attend regardless of the state of their health, potentially impacting the health of those around them too.

The negative effects of presenteeism

The CIPD’s 2015 Absence management survey report, produced in partnership with Simplyhealth, highlights that 31% of employers have seen an increase in presenteeism in the last 12 months. It also shows that presenteeism is more likely to have increased where there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee well-being.

This presenteeism can be a big issue for employers, and as such they should take action to make sure that the culture of the business supports staff. A member of staff who is not fully fit enough to engage at work may be physically present but will not be making a proper contribution to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of the work they produce but affecting the overall working atmosphere, including for the people around them.

Having unhealthy people at work creates a vicious cycle. According to research undertaken last year by Canada Life Group Insurance, 89% of UK workers have come into work while sick and 71% of employees said they have become ill after another colleague came into work when unwell.

Healthy, happy staff are more productive

Organisations must look at ways to ensure that their business supports the physical and mental well being of their employees. Supportive management is one of the most important ways to do this, and also one of the most budget-friendly. Making employees feel encouraged and valued can be a huge motivator, and help ensure that staff feel they are understood and appreciated. This can have a great impact on a person’s overall wellbeing.

Working to create flexibility within the structure of the business, such as introducing flexi-time, can also help employees to create a better balance between their work and personal lives, reducing the need to take time off.

Achieving enhanced business performance through a healthier workforce therefore requires great commitment to the cause throughout all levels of the business, focusing on preventative measures rather than reactive solutions to minimise the high cost outlays associated with staff turnover and absenteeism.

The culture of a business should revolve around an environment where all staff are able to work to their potential, with the management team working together with employees to achieve the overall business goals. Implementing structures that allow for staff to generate ideas to improve the business as a whole is another great way to create a better, healthier sense of staff involvement through all levels of the company. This can be done through employee engagement surveys and regular employee reviews, to get people more involved.

To see business performance improvement across the board, companies need to recognise the importance of healthy, happy staff.

Team up with inspiring

INSPIRING provide a range of support for organisations looking to improve their Health and Well Being culture, including Employee Surveys, Leadership and Management Development and consultancy services to help implement BS 76000 – Valuing People standard.

Why people are leaving your organisation (and what you can do about it)

Understanding why people leave your business and having the strategies in place to deal with issues effectively is crucial if you want to retain your best employees.

If people are leaving your business, it will usually be for one or more of the following reasons:

Lack of manager support…

Unsupportive managers are a key reason for people leaving. It’s a common saying that people leave their manager, not their job.
The skills and behaviours required for leaders and managers are different. An Inspiring Leader has a clear and compelling vision for the organisation. They can engage their team and encourage increased productivity. An Inspiring Manager will be able to set objectives and communicate effectively to their team, helping your employees to pull together and achieve your business goals.
INSPIRING can help you diagnose problem areas and provide tailored development through our Inspiring Leadership programmes.

Not such a great place to work…

Culture, physical working environment and operating policies all factor highly in ensuring a healthy, engaged and productive workforce.
The culture within your organisation impacts the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. It also strengthens, or weakens, employee retention and affects how your business attracts new talent. Conducting a culture survey will pinpoint what’s needed to create and maintain a positive culture: i.e. valuing, recognising and supporting individuals contribution to the company, both from the perspective of the employer and employee.
You could also look into having a wellbeing survey , which measures the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of your employees, as well as identifying areas where you can improve wellbeing within the workplace.

Career progression…

You will have a better chance of holding on to your employees if you have plans in place for talent management, succession planning and learning and development.
Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation. Have a look at our recent article ‘How to identify future leaders in your organisation’ for more about this.
As well as offering learning and development solutions, INSPIRING can help with design and implementation of a tailored performance management system to ensure that your team is set relevant KPIs / objectives that not only reflect your business needs, but also correlate to their personal development.

Not feeling valued…

Employees will leave if they are disengaged and don’t feel appreciated. Reward and recognition isn’t always about money. Everyone would like to get paid more for what they do, but other important factors for job satisfaction include opportunities to:
• grow and learn new skills;
• to progress their career;
• to work on challenging and stimulating projects;
• to be acknowledged and praised for their efforts; and
• to feel that they are an important a part of the overall business.

Working with BSI’s new people management Standard (BS 76000) will ensure your people practices are clearly defined and consistent. As a result, your employees will be more engaged, paving the way for improvement in both individual and business performance.
INSPIRING can support you throughout every stage, from your first look at the Standard through to initial audit and beyond. Achieving certification against BS 76000 will help your staff to understand their impact on the overall business and demonstrate that you truly value your people.

The best way to find out why your people are leaving is to ask them!

Conducting Exit Surveys will help you understand why employees leave, enabling you to identify any problem areas. INSPIRING’s bespoke exit surveys, with reports tailored to your business, will help you to understand and reduce staff turnover.