Why Employers Should Care About The Health & Wellbeing Of Their Employees

imagesCA091RLFHow should employers feel about their employees’ health and wellbeing and how responsible are we for our own health?

According to a recent article in HRGrapevine, a new survey by Investors in People shows that over 50% of their respondents felt employers have no regard for their health and of those employees almost 50% say it has led to them feeling less motivated with a third indicating they may look for a new job as a result. The report made me realise that there are a couple of serious questions that need to be considered before we can say that employers don’t care about their employees.

Firstly, there is a debate as to whether employers, outside the general health and safety of employees whilst carrying out their job, are actually responsible for their employee’s health and well-being. How much and what employees eat or drink, how often they exercise and how they deal with stress could be considered nothing to do with their employer unless it impacts their ability to do their job. At this point it is no longer a case of caring about an employee’s well-being and simply becomes a case of an employer managing decreased productivity, absence and even disciplinary procedures.

This then begs the question – can employers afford to ignore the general health and wellbeing of their employees if doing so leads to employee disengagement with the associated issues of decreased productivity, increased turnover and high absence and sickness costs?

Addressing the issues that arise around employee wellbeing and the broader issues of engagement and productivity could be down to a few simple measures that encourage employees to help take control of their own health and wellbeing. These could include offering free fruit, serving healthier food in a cafeteria, or providing yoga or massage sessions to help employees deal with stress or deal with muscular-skeletal issues. Other solutions employers may consider could be a full Employee Assistance Programme whilst others may need to take a closer look at their organisational culture and how well managers manage employees.

In fact there are multiple factors that influence how happy and engaged people are at work and if you are interested and want to know what does affect employee engagement take a look at our survey report on ‘The Forgotten Workforce’.

Is Technophobia Preventing Your Business From Reaching Its Full Potential?

technophobiaDefinition of Technophobia from Wikipedia: ‘Technophobia is the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers. Although there are numerous interpretations of technophobia, they seem to become more complex as technology continues to evolve. The term is generally used in the sense of an irrational fear, but others contend fears are justified.’

Now, some of you will be sitting and nodding in agreement – ‘Yes, technology is a mystery to me and I don’t need it anyway! Whilst others are probably thinking ‘What on earth is the problem? Technology is fantastic! Where would we be without it? Bring it on!’  But, generally, people tend to sit somewhere between these two extremes… ‘I will use it at work because I have to or, I love it, can’t get enough of it, what is the next gadget I can get’

At work technology is commonplace – it could be an email solution, a solution for presenting financial information or documentation, or even a manufacturing process solution. At home you could be using your computer, phone or iPad for online shopping or banking. But if your organisation is resistant to technology – it could be wasting time, money and lagging behind more agile competitors.

Manual processes that, when automated, can improve productivity, ensure compliance and reduce labour costs could be something that your technophobic organisation may be avoiding, fearing it will be too complex and costly to implement; yet it could have the single most positive impact on your organisation’s bottom line and bring real competitive advantage. After all, when the right people are in the right place at the right time and productivity is being tracked and measured, the visibility and control it gives can only lead to better business decisions and improve profitability allowing you to free up capital to support other areas of your business strategy.

If you don’t wish to invest capital in a solution that will help you manage your people more effectively, you should consider a SaaS solution. Software as a Service enables organisations to invest in technology on a per employee per month basis – you use only what you need, you will achieve significant business benefits without upfront capital outlay and without waiting on your over-stretched IT resource to set up any required infrastructure as it is managed and hosted by the supplier. It will give you a technological advantage and agility that will allow you to compete with larger organisations by streamlining your workforce management operations. If, like many, you are concerned that your organisation is suffering from a little technophobia take a look at this useful guide: ‘Unlocking Your Workforce Potential’.

Zero Hours Contracts – Are We One Step Closer To A Truly Agile Workforce?

imagesCAHIW1UVI believe it can only be  good for UK business that zero hours contracts are being taken seriously and that the pressure on the Government to provide guidelines for employees and employers is growing. The CIPD report following a public consultation has concluded that change is required to ensure the flexibility that can be offered by zero hour contracts benefits both employers and employees.

Flexible working contracts have become increasingly important for many businesses; allowing them to become more agile and competitive and improving employee engagement by giving employees the total flexibility they may need to balance complex home and working lives. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I believe a major issue that needs to be addressed by many organisations is that of making zero hours and other flexible contract employees easier for managers to manage. The way to do this easily is by using workforce management technology that can automate some of the processes needed to track employee attendance and schedule employees according to both business requirements and employee preferences.

Below are the four main recommendations made by the CIPD:

  • The use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts preventing workers from working for another employer should be banned, with a narrow exemption for employers that can demonstrate a compelling business reason, for example, confidentiality or the protection of trade secrets.
  • CIPD recommends that staff on zero hours contracts should, after a minimum period of 12 months service with an employer, have the legal right to request a minimum number of hours per week.  Employers would have to respond positively to the request unless they had a business reason for turning it down.
  • The CIPD believes all workers should be legally entitled to a written copy of their terms and conditions not later than two months in employment (currently under the Employment Rights Act 1996 only employees are entitled to this). This would help provide greater clarity on behalf of both parties on the issue of employment status and the associated employment rights.
  • The CIPD would support the creation of a code of practice setting out for employers and zero hours workers some key principles and guidance on the responsible management of these types of working arrangements.

The full consultation can be downloaded here: http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/consultation-responses/zero-hours-contracts.aspx

The full report, ‘Zero hours contracts: Myths and reality’ is available to download here: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/research/zero-hours-contracts-myth-reality.aspx

Half-wits in Head Office

Thoughts and comments on Retail Week Live from friend and colleague, Andrew Busby aka Retail Storm

Retail Reflections

 

Half-wits in Head Office

Reassuringly unpredictable; that was what Retail Week Live promised us…..and 48 hours which would change the way we think. Well, that’s a bold statement but history tells us that Retail Week usually delivers and day 1 of the 2014 conference was no different. We had the goliath of the High Street Tesco, pledging to do better, Government promising to review the business rates system….or did they? Conference star turn failing to show – but we all sympathised and understood – and Dragons Den meets Declan nicely rounded off the day!

If we weren’t clear on Tesco’s pedigree and plans for future domination before the conference, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke soon saw to that. Rather than the retail thought leadership and, whisper it, statesmanship we’d perhaps hoped for, the audience was witness to a keynote speech which was low in retail wisdom and high in Tesco…

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Women in the workforce – International Women’s Day

Each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

 This year Inspiring Change was theme for the internationalwomensday.com global hub, it encouraged advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.

Kronos and Xplane created this video in honour of International Women’s Day (March 8th). This video provides  viewers with a light-hearted look at several interesting facts and statistics about the changes and developments that have impacted women in the workforce. By fully engaging women in the workforce and making sure they are treated fairly, organisations can ensure they are have an inspired and productive workforce, and everyone benefits.

Seismic Shift – Waking Up to the Strategic Value of Workforce Management

Originally Posted by my colleague Joyce Maroney at the Workforce Institute:

mall-shopper-173x300Today’s guest post is by our board member,  Mark Wales.  Mark is an expert in workforce management for the retail industry.  Here he shares his perspective on how retailers and services providers are looking to their workforce as a strategic asset and not just an expense to be minimised.

Recently at an International Workforce Management Summit I witnessed the seismic shift in how workforce management is perceived and how it has grown in strategic importance to retailers and service providers. Ten years ago it was IT and HR who attended these events, now it was exclusively Operations. Why the dramatic change and what does it mean for the workforce?

The reason for the change is the rising strategic value of employees. While many retailers and service providers may see labour as the largest controllable cost, many have turned the corner and realized that their brand, their business model, and their profitability depend on how wisely they invest in their employees.

It is essential to pay your employees in a timely and accurate manner with appropriate controls and visibility. That, however, is not enough. It does not maximise the full potential of your employees, your customers, or your profitability. You will fail to recognise the value of many facets of employee experience, customer experience and productivity. To raise the strategic importance of workforce management you must draw a direct link between investing in the employee, impacting the customer experience and driving profitability.

Forward thinking retailers and service providers are building a new generation Operations discipline.  They envision a holistic multidisciplinary approach to workforce management that is centred on productivity and optimisation of both the employee and customer experience. You will see this impacting hiring, training, team management, service design, organisational responsibilities, and decision making. The changes may seem subtle and evolutionary at first, but they have the potential to radically impact company performance over time.

The Workforce Institute

Further reading:

Aberdeen Group: The State of the Workforce in Retail – Taking A Global View

Five Alternative Ways To Reduce Staff Turnover – And Save Money

VacancyMany of you will be aware of the headlines this week about the recent rise in staff turnover. It would seem that businesses are now paying the price for the long period of time that employees, fearful of losing their jobs, have put up with wage restraints, lack of bonuses and some pretty tough management decisions that have been made during the economic downturn.

According to research it costs on average around £30,000 to replace a member of your staff that leaves. This figure includes the cost of employing a new member of staff and lost productivity whilst bringing your new employee up to speed in their role. That’s a big expenditure and if turnover suddenly accelerates, your organisation can find itself  in a very tight corner operationally and financially. So your organisation needs to make sure it retain’s key talent and keeps employees motivated and productive. And remember that retaining great employees isn’t always about hiking pay.

Here are 5 alternative ways that can help keep staff engaged, motivated and productive:

  • Create connections through self-service

As more people perform day-to-day activities such as shopping, reading the news, paying bills, and socialising with friends online, they want the same flexibility and instant access to up-to-date information on the job. For example, why would an employee prefer to wait days for the busy HR department to process a handwritten leave request, when he or she can submit it online in seconds using self-service? As more employees leverage self-service technology in their personal lives, they are increasingly willing to adopt it in the workplace too.

  • Let employees participate in the scheduling process

Scheduling automation also helps organisations find last-minute replacements so they can meet demand. When an employee calls in sick, some scheduling systems can automatically recommend replacement workers, prioritising them by wage, seniority, skills, or other company-defined criteria. Some scheduling systems can even notify qualified replacements via email, text, or a manager call list to speed the process and further minimise impact on production and fellow employees.

  • Empower employees to take ownership of performance

Workforce management systems can help your organisation gain control over processes such as compensation cycles and performance reviews by automatically letting managers know when preliminary budgets and employee evaluations are due. Automated alerts help organisations keep their compensation planning and performance review processes on schedule, so employees receive feedback and rewards in a timely manner

  • Foster career development and professional growth

Workforce management systems can also help organisations track employee certifications and licenses — automatically notifying managers when those critical qualifications are about to expire — to minimise compliance risk and maximise workforce safety.

  • Increase employee engagement — and the bottom line

Workforce management technology can help organisations increase employee engagement. By providing employee self-service applications and automating processes such as time and attendance tracking, scheduling, human resources, and labour analytics, organisations can empower employees to take a more active role in HR and scheduling activities, take advantage of training and professional development opportunities, and get the continuous feedback on performance required to motivate and encourage innovation. For organisations looking to control costs and increase productivity, increasing employee engagement through the effective use of workforce management technology may be the answer.

Find out more and download the full white paper ‘Employee Engagement as a Competitive Differentiator’