Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace …read more
A blog providing trustworthy Human Resources advice to business owners, managers and employees plus the occasional LOL true story from the workplace.
Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace …read more
Top Tips To Share With Your Night-shift Workers
If you work the night or evening shifts, you are not alone. According to research carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, three million Americans work graveyard shifts and another four million work evening shifts.
Regardless of the industry that you operate in, it’s quite likely that there will come a time when you need your team to work night-shifts, even if it’s just temporarily. Perhaps your IT staff will have to install important updates outside of usual working hours. Maybe staff on your shop floor will be asked to change their shift patterns to stack the shelves in the run up to the holiday period.
The potential health and lifestyle implications are well documented and you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re giving your workforce the support they need. Let’s take a look at some valuable tips that could make all the difference to your staff when the times comes that they have to work unsociable hours.
Think carefully about the journey home
Most of us know what it’s like to feel exhausted after a long day and drive home almost on autopilot. After a night shift though, tiredness can become a serious problem that can quite quickly escalate into a potentially dangerous situation.
It makes sense to consider how you could help with provisions for getting home at the end of a night-shift. It might make good business sense to provide financial support for the cost of taxis or to share information about local public transport arrangements.
Create good sleep routines
Sleeping during the day can feel unnatural, so it’s important to get into a good routine if you want to enjoy quality rest. Blackout curtains can make a big difference, as well as avoiding using mobile phones before sleeping and ensuring that you aren’t exposed to too much daylight before trying to nod off. In other words, it can really help if night workers get straight to bed after their shift.
Of course, every individual is different. There will be a strong element of trial and error when it comes to finding the best pattern and routine. To support your staff though, be sure that you’re sharing guidance and positive suggestions.
Never underestimate the value of quality sleep
Many of us would agree that there’s no better feeling than crashing out in a comfortable bed, but it’s way too easy to underestimate just how important sleep really is. There’s a whole host of medical problems and conditions that have been linked to poor sleep patterns, including heart attacks and diabetes.
Be sure to promote the importance of sleep to your workers. If they’re struggling, do the right thing and suggest that they make an appointment with their GP to discuss their options.
There have been calls to give extra rights to staff working night-shifts, to help protect them from the physical, mental, and emotional strain of working such unsociable hours. Whether this is something that will happen remains to be seen. Right now, you need to focus on doing all you can to support your staff and ensure that you’re taking reasonable steps to protect their well being.
If you’re confused about your responsibilities, or you need to know more about the law when it comes to night shift, get in touch. We can help you to understand exactly what you need to know.
Dealing With A Debbie Downer In The Workplace
If you’re the skeptical type, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a whole host of reasons to feel negative right now. The future of the country is up in the air, the summer so far has been a bit of a washout and the papers are full of tales of unrest and uncertainty.
In the workplace, negativity can spread like wildfire. So how exactly should you approach the situation if you have one employee who’s bringing down the rest of your workforce? Here, we share practical hints and considerations.
Sometimes, people simply need a sounding board for their frustrations and concerns. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that things will fix themselves is very rarely a sensible strategy. Instead of just paying lip service to the concept of having an open door policy, make sure that you live by it.
Get to know your staff. Work out what makes them tick. Unearth the real issues that are at play. This is what makes the difference between a manager and a leader.
Challenge negative thinking
There are external things going on that you and your business can have no control over. No one’s expecting you to solve all the problems in the world. However, if comments are being made about internal issues, you need to tackle them.
If they’re true, take the time to explain the reasoning behind why things are the way they are, and how employees can play a part in improving the situation. If false statements are being shared, speak up immediately and set the record straight. Sometimes, a bit of strong leadership is what’s needed to get things back on the right track.
Recognize the difference between a bit of negativity and serious mental health problems
Most of us are guilty of letting negative feelings take over now and again. Some might say that it’s all part of living in the modern world. However, as a leader, you have a responsibility to know the difference between this and mental health issues among your employees.
If you suspect that there are more serious problems at play, you have a responsibility to ensure that your staff are supported and given the professional assistance that they might need. In this situation, your first port of call should be to speak with an expert. Remember that discretion is key, and you absolutely must honor the confidentiality of your employees.
The feeling and mood in many workplaces go through peaks and valleys. It’s your job to make sure that your staff are motivated and productive. If you’re experiencing problems, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with us about your challenges. Get in touch today and we can book a call at a time that suits you.
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Five Mistakes That Business Owners Make With Employee Handbooks
According to a study by XpertHR, 92% of companies have created employee handbooks to share with their staff. But the finished document is about so much more than just listing your policies and sharing some mission statements that you’ve cobbled together over a cup of coffee with your managers.
Based on the statistics, you’ve probably made a token attempt at creating an employee handbook for your business – but are you missing the mark? Here, we uncover the mistakes that too many leaders are making and explain how you can turn things around.
Taking a cookie-cutter approach
Sure, there are certain things that all employee handbooks should include. But this certainly doesn’t mean that you should just download a free template from Google, fill in the blanks and hope for the best. Your business is unique. Its culture and practices make it individual and your handbook needs to reflect this. After all, first impressions count. So, you need to make sure that you’re giving your new recruits a quality document that reflects what you’re really all about.
Don’t be scared to showcase your business’s personality and create something that demonstrates what it’s like to work for your company. Your latest recruits should feel inspired, motivated and ready to face their new challenges.
Speaking in legal lingo
Your HR practices need to be created in accordance with relevant legislation. Staying on the right side of the law will save you a whole load of time and hassle. Before stuffing your handbook with jargon though, take a step back and think about how you can make the important information as easy as possible to digest. A better understanding of what’s expected will ultimately lead to higher rates of compliance.
Consider your audience and keep things as straightforward as possible. At the end of the day, your handbook should be there to help people – not overwhelm them.
Letting the document gather dust
The world of business changes and adapts every single day. New legislation is rolled out, light is cast on exciting and innovative ways to get the most out of a workforce, and advances in technology present new challenges. What works right now isn’t necessarily going to be fit for purpose in the near future.
Before signing off on your document as completed, set a date for review. Keeping on top of changes can be a manageable job only if you make sure that you don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Shockingly, 2.8% of employers don’t know when they last carried out any reviews or changes – don’t fall into this camp!
Neglecting to seek out a professional opinion
You wouldn’t finalize your end-of-year accounts without speaking to an accountant, so why should your employment documentation be any different? An HR professional will be able to advise you on anything that you might have missed, unearth any points that could potentially get you into hot water and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything’s in order.
Ready to seek out some advice that you know you can trust? Whether you’re starting from scratch with your handbook and you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve done the work yourself and just want a second opinion, we can help. Give us a call right away for a no-obligation chat about working together.
Forgetting to make sure that every employee has their copy
Creating a document to be proud of is only the first part of the story. It isn’t going to make any difference unless you ensure that all employees get their copy, and that they’re given time to digest the information. These days, this is easier than ever before. Many companies decide to distribute their handbooks via email or an intranet system.
And finally, be sure to lead by example. When’s the last time that you familiarized yourself with the content? Do you have a copy on your desk? Are you confident that you could answer questions about the points that are covered? If not, consider this your wake-up call!
So what changes will you be making?
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By now, most everyone is familiar with the MeToo movement.Do you think you may have been sexually harassed?Here’s the official definition that may help determine the answer:
*Sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts define "sexual harassment" as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that:
Sexual harassment can be:
Just as there are many companies that have and enforce good Sexual Harassment Policies, there are just as many companies who have poor policies or no policies at all, and enforce nothing.
Regardless of which company you work for, if something happens, you MUST tell someone.But who?Preferably your direct manager and/or Human Resources.But what if your direct manager is the person who harassed you or you don’t have an HR Department?Then go to the next level manager.
I’ve heard all the reasons why people don’t want to report questionable behavior which focus primarily around fear of losing your job or not wanting to “get someone in trouble”. Do not listen to that little devil on your shoulder.Listen to the other shoulder that is saying you have a right to work in a place that is respectful and where you feel safe and free of any type of harassment.No job is worth being harassed.There are other jobs out there.
At the very least, tell a co-worker who you know is supportive and ask them to go with you when you tell.
Why should you tell?Because you don’t want the individual to harass others.Because as I said above, you have a right to work in a place that is free of harassment (it’s the law!). Because it gives you credibility.Credibility is huge.Were there any witnesses to the event?HR will want these names and they will interview these people.If they corroborate your story, there you go, you have instant credibility.Even if there were not any witnesses, but you told someone, and they confirm that you told them – you still gain credibility.That somewhat lessens the problem of “he said, she said”.
If you wait a year, or longer, HR will ask you why you didn’t tell anyone…. Is there some reason you’re bringing this up now and didn’t then?In other words, are you trying to “get back” at the person for some reason?Or perhaps the relationship was consensual to begin with, but now the person broke up with you or is treating you poorly and you’re out for retaliation.As you can see, things get complicated quickly.But if you’re innocent and are telling the truth, you MUST tell.DO NOT lie, do not make things up – this just ruins it for the true innocent victims in the workplace and you will get caught in your lies.
Not sure if you’ve been harassed?Don’t have HR to tell?Contact us and we’ll help you walk through the options.
Did someone entrust a secret with you?Are you the person that the victim of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior had the courage to tell but then said – “please don’t tell anyone; I don’t want to get anyone into trouble”. Are you the friend, the co-worker, the manager?
Did you promise not to tell?And now you’re wondering if you should?Or maybe it is now 20 years later and you’re kicking yourself because you didn’t?
As an HR professional, one of the things we learn early on is to never promise not to tell.We have a responsibility to tell, an obligation to inform management that an allegation was made and investigation is being completed.Why?Protect the company from legal risk; ensure a safe work place for all employees; individual managers can be sued as individuals; be proactive; uncover the truth; ensure the person who made the allegation is heard and taken seriously.Why? Because we, of all people, need to do the right thing.
But you’re just a friend or a co-worker?Or maybe you’re a manager but you’re not the individual’s manager?Managers, just like HR, have the same obligation and responsibility to tell – even if you are not the direct manager.You are still an agent/representative of the company.You are a friend of co-worker?Many companies have an HR Policy that requires you to bring forth any inappropriate information you become aware of as well and to cooperate with any investigation.
The victim may be subconsciously asking for you to “help be their voice”. They want someone in authority to know, but they don’t have the courage to go it alone.So help be their voice.Go with them to HR and support them as they tell their story.You’re concerned about your own job?Really?Set aside your selfishness and have compassion on the person who may have gone through the most horrible experience of their life.If you lose your job over helping them speak, then I don’t know that the place you were working, is worth having you anyway.Of course, you’ll want to be completely confident that the person is telling the truth.
Is the #MeToo culture we live in today really changing things from the “don’t tell anyone” culture from earlier years?I hope so.But I’m also familiar enough with this topic to know that there are numerous people out there who have not yet shared their story, not yet told anyone.I hope they are getting the courage to come forward and tell.And those of you who don’t have a story, don’t make one up, don’t lie.
In summary - You promised not to tell.First of all, don’t promise.If you did, then go back to the individual and explain that you have a responsibility to tell.You will go with them if they want to tell the story.But you must tell, even if they don’t.
Give us a call today for an informal chat about your circumstances. If
we are unable to meet all of your HR needs, we will direct you to an HR professional who can.
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