All of this leads us to ponder the risky art of making predictions in any area of human endeavour! Notwithstanding the risks and uncertainties that face us, Cuma's Corner boldly offers some predictions for "The HR Year of 2013."
The festive season has arrived! Many benevolent employers carry on a pleasant tradition of giving employees holiday gifts. Employers often scratch their heads trying to determine the ideal gifts for their employees. We have the solution!
The City of Winnipeg recently implemented a policy requiring paramedics and firefighters to put away their personal cell phones while on the job. The policy was put in place to ensure that important legislation including the Highway Traffic Act and the Personal Health Information Act are adhered to by employees of the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service.
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret,” said author Ambrose Bierce. This quote is as relevant in the workplace today as it was in the early 1900s when he wrote it. Workplace behaviours like “blowing off steam”, “snapping”, throwing objects, slamming doors or similar acts are no longer acceptable ways of expressing anger or disagreement in the workplace. Judging by Bierce’s quote from the 1900s, we can safely say they never were. We all get angry and upset in the workplace, sometimes for good reason, but acting out in anger is not acceptable behaviour for any party. This includes supervisors, employees and their elected or appointed representatives.
Statistics Canada reports that almost 3.7 million working adults typically go through their workday feeling a high level of stress! These high levels of workplace stress present a serious challenge to both employers and the healthcare system. In fact, the cost of workplace stress adds up to over $20 billion annually. Stress leave is fast becoming a leading cause of absenteeism in workplaces today. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise as anyone who has been employed can probably think of at least one person who has been absent from their workplace on stress leave.
In the war for talent, most employers appreciate the importance of carefully recruiting, assessing and selecting ideal candidates for employment in their organizations. Leading organizations know that successful recruitment is only the first step. Once a new employee is hired, the equally important job of orienting the new employee to the workplace begins!
A lot has been written about bullying and harassment in the workplace. It is hard to overstate the devastating impact such negative behaviour has on bullied or harassed employees. Understandably, much of what has been written tends to focus upon the effects of such inappropriate behaviour on the targeted employee.
The news media frequently offers us fascinating real-life workplace case studies. They offer an endless source of information about how to do things the right way in the workplace and, unfortunately, how not to do things in the workplace.
A recent case in point occurred earlier this month when the National Research Council (NRC) announced and implemented significant workforce terminations. The terminations were part of an important overall organizational shift as NRC increases the focus of their efforts on commercially viable research activities. The shift was part of a year-long transition and the unfortunate impact of this shift was the termination of 65 NRC employees, approximately 47 of whom worked in Winnipeg.
Every once in a while a news story comes along that makes you ask, “What were they thinking?” In the news story that follows, one might even ask, “Were they thinking at all?”
North American newspapers and television news programs recently carried a story about a 21-year-old lifeguard in Miami who was fired for leaving his post to rescue a person in distress. The lifeguard responded to the call for help, as lifeguards are trained to do, and saved a life. This should have been a “hero saves the day” story but, instead, the lifeguard saw his employment terminated for leaving his workstation in violation of company rules!
Manitoba employees look forward to summer vacation with great anticipation! Our terrific summer offers an endless supply of exciting things to do and places to go. Employees usually plan for travel, family activities or other important events during their brief summer vacations.
Here in the geographic centre of North America, our short summers can get pretty hot and humid. Plus, here on the prairies, our long hot summer days tend to cool only slightly in the evenings. These long hot and humid days can create some very uncomfortable workplaces for many Manitobans. Beyond being simply uncomfortable, heat and humidity in the workplace can cause heat stress. This can be quite serious and, in extreme cases, a deadly problem.
It has been said that the only constant in our world is “change”. In the workplace there is at least one other constant: performance problems. What separates the best employers from others is how they diagnose and solve performance issues.
Frontline supervisors face many challenges and difficulties everyday in the workplace. Supervisors must routinely assign work and direct the activities of the workforce. One of the more problematic issues a supervisor may encounter in these activities is the difficult issue of insubordination.
I have been fortunate to work with some very gifted and highly effective leaders and it’s been an exceptional learning experience. Here are nine common traits I have observed while working with these great influences:
Supervising people is one of the toughest jobs in organizations today. The role is often a thankless one, requiring incredible communication, problem solving and interpersonal skills. Today’s supervisor balances the personal needs of a diverse group of employees while meeting the operational requirements of the organization. The supervisor must ensure the safety of all employees while continuously improving overall performance, maintaining effective communication and ensuring compliance with a myriad of company policies and regulatory requirements.
An interesting item recently appeared in the news involving a Grade 5 Altona classroom. A teacher posted a particular plaque in the classroom that a number of parents found offensive. Complaints, conflict and hard feelings predictably followed. Regardless of where one stands on the subject matter of the particular posting, the story raises some very interesting issues about what an employee can and cannot post or display in the workplace.
While many individuals struggle to maintain their 2012 New Year’s resolutions, companies and their employees enter the Year of the Dragon with newly granted flexibility. As of January 2012, Manitoba employees can request that employers consider and implement individual “flex time” work schedules.
Festive work parties should be fun events! They should be joyous get-togethers where everyone can put aside day-to-day workplace challenges to socialize with their coworkers. Work parties should be friendly and relaxed.
Adapt, Communicate & Walk the Talk
It has been nine months since Manitoba’s workplace safety and health regulations were changed to include requirements to prevent psychological harassment or bullying. While many Manitoba employers have responsibly developed and implemented new or amended policies, a large number have yet to comply with requirements. This puts both the employer and employees in the workplace at risk.
“Legislation, regulations, policies, procedures, committees, managers, supervisors, human resource specialists, unions and government agencies don’t manage workplaces. People do”. This is a lesson a leading Manitoba organization and the union representing the workforce recently learned the hard way.
Many organizations provide their employees with varying levels of health, medical and retirement benefits. Typically these include benefits such as: life, accidental death, prescription drug, dental, physiotherapy, chiropractic, basic health care, short term and long term disability and retirement benefits. Some also include employee assistance programs (EAP).
Happy New Year!
If I asked you to describe the changes in today’s business world, most would quickly point out that it is much more global than it has ever been.
There was a time when many organizations and managers believed that if an employee was not 100% healthy and fit, they should not be in the workplace.
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