Archive for June, 2009

U.S. and Australia Disagree On How To Handle Overweight Employees

June 19, 2009

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may seem wantonly unsympathetic or justifiably pragmatic, depending on how you feel about the government’s role in managing obesity. Last month, Rudd objected to the use of tax money to fund weight loss courses for pudgy government officials. Documents released that week revealed that almost $23,000 (U.S.) would go toward providing the classes to upper-tier workers from Centrelink, an employment agency, as explained in a Brietbart.com article.

“It would be odd and unusual in the extreme for that sort of expenditure to be justifiable,” Rudd said.

The same day, GovernmentExecutive.com released news that President Obama had met with leaders from Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, the Ohio Department of Health and others to discuss ways to promote employee health, citing wellness programs as a way to ramp up savings in the future.

In businesses around the country, the White House said in a statement, “productivity is increasing, absenteeism is dropping, and employers are passing some of their health care savings to their workers,” thanks to the programs. Obama has also directed the Office of Personnel Management to find a way to implement the same efforts in federal workplaces, and the White House’s new Health Workforce Act is receiving overwhelming bipartisan support.

The Australian Prime Minister may think Obama is barking, but the President actually does have reason to believe that the health program will have its rewards. Coors Brewing Co., for example, set up its wellness program in the 1980s; since then, the article reported, the Colorado-based company has seen a $5.50 return for every $1 spent on employee health. IBM has recently boasted of similar success.

Various governmental agencies, including the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, the Veterans Affairs Department (which runs a MOVEmployees campaign) and the state of Ohio (with its Take Charge! Live Well program), already participate in health programs of their own.

Richard Harvey, program manager for health promotion at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, is enthusiastic about the movement.

“Healthy employees are more engaged, they take better care of their patients,” Harvey said of the Veterans Health Administration, who is currently setting up a health appraisal for both employees and clients. “There’s a lot of support at the highest levels to be doing this, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but for economic and patient care reasons.”

Harvey explained that the sheer size of the federal workforce meant that savings in the Fed’s contributions to health insurance could equal big cost cuts in the future.

Still, he said, results won’t be immediate. “It takes a while to change things in the government.”

Some government agencies, like the Alabama State Employees Board, are even providing disincentives for employees who have or are considering gaining extra baggage; the board announced last year that it would be charging a $25 monthly fee for obese workers, which they could avoid by enrolling in a wellness program, GovernmentExecutive.com reported.

In contrast, Australia (which, as the Australia-based Baker Heart Institute suggested in 2008, faces a “fat bomb” overshadowing even that of the United States) is taking a more accommodating  approach. Australian emergency services in New South Whales have introduced special “mega-lift” ambulances for patients weighing more than 400 pounds, undertakers are stocking massive coffins and consumer authorities are considering changing the standards on products such as toilets and child car seats to accommodate heftier loads.

This contrast in policy may provoke a greater level of serious debate over the questions of what, if anything, is really problematic with being fat and what role, if any, the government has in avoiding the public health ramifications of widespread obesity.

(source:http://ohmygov.com/blogs/general_news/archive/2009/06/12/eaz-to-edit-u-s-and-australia-disagree-on-how-to-handle-overweight-employees.aspx)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

Advertisements

Bristol wins Outstanding Human Resource Initiative Award

June 11, 2009

The University of Bristol has won the Outstanding Human Resource Initiative Award at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2009 ceremony held on 9 June at the London Hilton, Park Lane. Bristol was one of six universities shortlisted for the award but pipped the rest to the post thanks to its outstanding work in the field.

The first Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, sponsored by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and the Joint Information Systems Committee, celebrated the sector’s management and financial acumen by recognising and rewarding those running universities. Categories included Outstanding Human Resources Team, Outstanding Fundraising Team and Outstanding Leadership and Management Team.

Ann Mroz, editor of Times Higher Education, said of the winning entry, which focused on developing a Positive Working Environment at Bristol: “This holistic approach to human resources management has produced brilliant results. The fact that other institutions have enlisted the services of the University of Bristol’s HR consultancy proves that this is an initiative that could have far-reaching effects.”

Professor Len Hall, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University, commented: “We are delighted to have won this award. Bristol’s PWE agenda has seen a dramatic improvement in how the University cares for its staff leading to decreased absenteeism and sick leave, better recruitment and retention of staff and increased institutional loyalty, as well as a marked increase in well-being through staff counselling, career advice and healthy living opportunities. ”

Over 800 people from all parts of higher education gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements at the ceremony. To view the full list of winners, pick up a copy of Times Higher Education, available in newsagents from 11 June.

(source:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2009/6406.html)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

Employee Benefits Summit: Rising stress will damage company productivity

June 7, 2009

Rising employee stress caused by the effects of the recession will damage company productivity.

Speaking at the Employee Benefits Summit 2009 in Monte Carlo, Will Cavendish, director of health and wellbeing at the Department of Health, warned that the impact of the recession including a fear of redundancy is leading to a rise in the number of destructive behaviours among some staff. These can include poor sleeping habits, over-emotional reactions, and a greater reliance on alcohol.

“This will be coming through to [employers] in droves in [their] own companies,” he said.

So it is crucial that employers continue to invest in health and wellbeing programmes. “Focusing on health and wellbeing is as important in a recession as at other times [because] organisations are less able to sustain unnecessary costs such as high sickness absence.”

Cavendish pointed out that employers which invest in staff development save money by increasing motivation and retention.

“I think it is important at board level that there is a pounds and pence calculation of the cost of ill health to the business,” said Cavendish.

He added the Business Healthcheck Tool that has been developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Business in the Community will be re-launched later this year, having been improved from its first version.

(source: http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/item/9012/23/5/3)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

Asda Credits Share Scheme For Low Staff Turnover

June 6, 2009

Asda’s people director has boasted the company’s low turnover rate is thanks in part to its share scheme, which last week paid out £43m to 16,500 employees.

Shareholders who have saved a maximum of £250 per month for the past three years will pocket around £13,800, which was over £4,500 more than their original £9,000 investment, or a 150% return.

It is the largest payout at the retailer since it was taken over by Wal-Mart in 1999.

Sarah Dickins, retail people director, said the share scheme had played a large part in reducing turnover to less than 20%, which is 10% below the industry average.

“We have industry-leading retention because of the way we run our business and reward our staff,” she told Personnel Today.

“In the current economic climate, for those who can’t afford a holiday or to replace the car, this definitely is a retention tool, and an effective one at that.”

Last month, Tesco announced a £98m payout for 207,000 staff, although it would be kept in a trust until 2014.

“Five years is a long time to wait for a payout,” Dickins said. “Our staff have said they want the payout immediately, and when 95% choose to cash their shares immediately, we believe there would be no benefit in delaying it.”

(source:http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2009/06/05/50976/asda-credits-share-scheme-for-low-staff-turnover.html)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

How to Increase Employee Retention

June 4, 2009

Training employees for a new job position is costly and time consuming for a company, no matter the size or industry of the employer. The key to making the investment on new employees worthwhile is retaining the skilled employee once they are competent. Here are some ways to increase company profit by retaining employees, avoiding the expenses it takes to train a new hire.

Instructions
  1. Step 1

    Many new hire employees leave the job position before the point that the company is making money off of them. In other words, the expense of training outweighs the time that they spend working the position as a competent, contributing employee. This means that the issue of employee retention usually arises in the first few months. Creating good communication venues with new hires in the first 6 months about expectations, concerns and professional development can counteract that statistic, helping increase employee retention rates.

  2. Step 2

    Ensure employee integration to increase new hire retention. Encourage staff bonding and a friendly work atmosphere. Working to create a feeling of being a “team” can help strengthen staff retention.

  3. Step 3

    Be clear in your expectations of a new employee from the beginning. Transparency will allow the new employee to make an informed decision about whether or not the job is appropriate for them; decreasing the chances that they quit after one month due to failed job expectations.

  4. Step 4

    Communicate with your new hires; follow up with their progress in the workplace and provide them with constructive feedback about their job performance.

  5. Step 5

    Utilize your more established employees to ensure retention of newer employees. Connecting the new hires to key coworkers will provide a chance for positive camaraderie to develop and give the new employee additional resources to turn to for guidance and questions.

(source:http://www.ehow.com/how_5058048_increase-employee-retention.html)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

Amazon HR Chief Focused On Staff Retention

June 3, 2009

Amazon’s HR chief is focusing more than ever on retaining staff so that when the economic upturn comes employees are less likely to leave to join rival businesses.

Wendy Mansell, HR director for UK & Ireland, said it was crucial the firm focused on retention strategies now to help employees remain engaged and loyal to the business in the long-term.

Mansell said she had introduced a clear development agenda for employees and a reward and recognition scheme since joining the firm in mid-2007, and was making sure managers continued to engage staff in both.

Amazon was also planning on introducing a graduate recruitment scheme in the retail business division by the end of the year to attract and grow internal talent, she added.

She told Personnel Today: “We have not changed the HR strategy but we are focused even more on retaining talent. We need to ensure when the market improves people still want to stay with us.

“We need to help people understand what their career paths are at the firm, by holding career workshops and guiding them through [their] development in the appraisal process”.

In a speech at an HR forum organised by recruitment consultancy ResourceBank, Mansell said staff being poached by rivals was a constant threat. “Our staff are headhunted constantly. We need to constantly invest in how people can stay in the organisation”.

(source:http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2009/05/29/50872/amazon-hr-chief-focused-on-staff-retention.html)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

63% of firms ‘offer flexible working’

June 2, 2009

More than six in ten companies across the UK, including those with staff doing marketing jobs, offer flexible working to their employees, new research has revealed.

The study commissioned by Orange found that boosting company morale was the top reason for offering such opportunities, followed by improved productivity and better staff retention.

In addition, the survey found that Sheffield-based organisations were the most likely to allow their workers to put in flexible hours and those in Brighton and Liverpool were the least likely to do so.

Paul Tollet, vice-president of business for Orange UK, said: “It’s great that over half the UK working population is able to take advantage of flexible working.”

He added: “Flexible working doesn’t have to involve significant financial investment from business – just a clear policy to ensure it is offered fairly and a willingness to provide employees with the tools they need to get the job done.”

Recent changes to legislation mean that workers with children under the age of 16 can now request their employers for flexible working arrangements.

(source: http://www.witanjardine.co.uk/news/2204-63%25-of-firms-%27offer-flexible-working%27)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com