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Posts from the ‘Corporate Culture’ Category

Mental Health and the Workplace

The average professional spends 90,000 hours at work within their lifetime. With such a substantial portion of lives spent at work, employers need to be cognizant of how the workplace can trigger mental health issues, and in response, focus on creating an environment that fosters strong mental health amongst their workforce.

Mental health and our role in the workplace often co-exist. To many, their professional lives foster a social network and ensue a sense of purpose and accomplishment. However, being constantly connected through technology can make those 40-hour work weeks feel more like 24/7 — leaving little time to focus on self-health and self-help. Currently, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health problem or illness each year.

As an employer, the benefits of promoting mental health awareness is twofold. Employees reap the benefits and your business profits do as well. When we think of lost time at work many relate it to physical injury or illness, but the reality is that 30% of disability claims are related to mental health problems. In Canada, the total cost of mental health problems and illnesses is $50 billion per year. Employees affected by mental health issues experience higher absence rates and decreased productivity, leaving companies with an increased turnover rate — making it hard to meet deadlines and achieve corporate goals.

Creating a foundation to support good mental health does not have to strain your business’ resources. It’s as simple as implementing specific strategies.

Identify and educate

Mental health illnesses are not always easily identifiable and can often be misinterpreted by individuals and companies.  An employee who frequently misses work, has decreased work performance and shows changes in their behaviour can often be tell-tale signs of a mental health illness.  In these cases, educating leaders on how to engage in conversations around mental health can help employees feel that they’re in a safe environment, open up about their issues and seek the appropriate support.

Resources and support

As an employer there are many ways to support an individual who may be facing a mental health illness.  To start, make educational tools on mental health issues available.  This could range from education materials to online self-assessments that are geared at helping individuals detect the signs and promote early intervention.  As well, providing benefit plans and compensation structure support such as therapy coverage and mental health days can provide employees with the resources to seek the help they need.

Action plans

Develop and implement policies and procedures to allow employees to feel safe to come forward and to breakdown any stigmas associated with psychological issues.  If a colleague exhibits signs of stress and anxiety, have an action plan in place to assist. Communicate without judgement, consider emotional triggers while being supportive and clear. Also, providing training for colleagues can help to erase the stigma around mental illnesses in your workplace.

Despite our best efforts in fostering a supportive work environment, mental health issues are not always preventable. A wide range of factors from biological to psychological to environmental can contribute to the development of mental illnesses. With so much time spent at work, employers need to focus on the signs and have resources readily available in order to help.

With a little effort, your workplace can have a large impact in maintaining the positive mental health of your workforce.

If you or anyone you know is in need, it’s important to seek the appropriate help. For information on the resources available throughout Canada visit mental health resources.

Showing Appreciation for Your Staff During the Holiday Season

It might be a holly jolly season, but the holidays can also be a stressful period for your employees. Juggling work with a busy personal life can leave colleagues feeling less than merry. Spread some cheer this holiday with some festive staff appreciation tips courtesy of your staffing experts at Adecco!

 The holidays tend to throw a wrench into normal business routines and practices. Whether it’s the substantial increase in business, or the stress of balancing a busy work period with an even busier social calendar, the build up to the end of the year rarely feels like the most wonderful time of the year. Help your organization conquer this stressful period, while motivating your staff to continue working hard with a few festive staff appreciation hacks!

Give thanks

A simple thank you is the easiest form of staff appreciation. Show your team your true gratitude by acknowledging their hard work and dedication within your organization. Recognize the individual skills that make each colleague an asset to the company. After all, a little appreciation can go a long way in building staff confidence and loyalty to your company.

Be flexible with work hours

Part of the stress of the season is the balancing act between work and the increased personal obligations many of us have around this time. Alleviate this stress by offering employees flexibility with their work hours. Encourage your employees to take an afternoon off, a longer lunch break or the option to start later or finish earlier in the day. This gives your staff a little flexibility when they find themselves trying to balance their work/home life during this busy period.

Get festive with your staff

Consider the holidays as a time to build your relationship with your staff. Allotting as little as an hour a week to indulge in festive snacks, decorations or holiday music can lift the spirits of your colleagues. You can also introduce some friendly competition with a cook off or arrange a cookie exchange. Even taking a few minutes for a festive group picture can be a nice change of pace for your employees during the busy season.

Celebrate traditions

Each member of your team is different, coming from varied backgrounds and celebrating many different traditions. What better time than the holidays to celebrate these differences? Ask your staff to share their traditions and work to build them into your holiday celebrations. This will lead to a more inclusive holiday experience and work environment for all your colleagues.

A holiday party THEY want

It’s easy to make an executive decision on a staff party, but are you taking into consideration what your team would enjoy? Whether it’s great food, games or a relaxing day away from the office, take the time to talk with your employees about what they would enjoy for a holiday party. Not only will the holiday party be better received, employees will greatly appreciate the consideration.

 

Follow Adecco’s tips for staff appreciation during the holiday season and not only will you build a stronger relationship with your staff, you will also be setting your organization up for a successful new year.

How to Get Started with Succession Planning

As employers prepare for the many baby boomers heading towards retirement, succession planning is essential to avoid large knowledge gaps and business disruptions. To get you started, we’re sharing three strategies to start retirement-proofing your organization.

As baby boomers create their retirement plans, employers are faced with overcoming the challenges of the knowledge and skills gaps that will be felt within their organizations once this occurs. To address these challenges and facilitate organizational knowledge transfer and continuity, it’s vital to identify and develop your organization’s future leaders. Help ensure that your company stays ahead of the (retirement) game with the following strategies.

1. Be proactive

Early detection is key. In order to plan and identify skills gaps, you need to initiate conversations with employees approaching retirement age. Build the conversation into an annual review and set reminders to follow up with colleagues who weren’t certain about their retirement plans.

2. Identify your successor

The size of your organization should be a consideration when determining succession strategies. Larger businesses can opt to promote from within their existing talent pools, but small to medium sized businesses may have a smaller pool to pull from, and can be left with larger gaps as a result of employee retirements.

Promote from within

More than simply selecting and promoting a candidate based on seniority, it’s important to learn about a candidate’s ambitions, goals and future plans. This will ensure that you are selecting a professional who is motivated to stay and develop within the organization. Employing personality and career assessment tools within your talent management process can help uncover those essential soft skills and personality traits that are challenging to identify but important to finding standout employees.

Look outside your organization

Based on the size or experience of your existing talent pool, promoting from within may not be a viable option. Your staff may not be ready for a corporate role, or you may not have been provided with enough notice to develop your future potential leaders. In selecting an external candidate, look for applicants that come from a similar industry and corporate culture. Not only will it make the transition easy for the new employee, but it will also minimize the disruption to existing colleagues.

3. Develop potential leaders

Once you’ve identified the candidate, it’s time to begin grooming them for their future roles. For employees who are new to your organization, make sure to allow a healthy training period with the retiring colleague to ensure a smooth transition for the organization as a whole.

Take inventory of skills

Begin by creating detailed job descriptions and skills lists for all existing employees approaching retirement. Consider the colleague’s full range of hard and soft skills or personality traits that have helped the colleague become so successful in their role. Try to gauge the skills your organization will require down the road based on the company’s development trends. This will help you gain a realistic understanding of the training required to get your successor up to speed.

Invest in career development tools

Developing your candidates is an investment and so, as an organization, you should be prepared to invest in career development tools such as training and online courses to help your candidate reach their full potential. Compare their current skills status to the inventory of skills created for the retiring individual to help build a training plan.

Create a mentorship program

Although skills can be gained through extra education or additional training, job knowledge can be trickier to transfer. Creating a mentorship program provides a direct opportunity for knowledge sharing amongst the retiree and their successor. Not only is mentorship critical for knowledge transfer, it enables the promoted mentee to receive feedback on career and interpersonal skills, ultimately increasing their self-confidence and placing them on track for success in their new role.

Without succession planning and a knowledge transfer strategy in place, your business faces the risk of losing critical organizational knowledge, potentially causing disruption to your day-to-day business operations and your company’s overall success. For more tips on succession planning, or for help in finding your team’s next successor, contact your local Adecco branch today!

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

Coping Strategies for Your Department’s Busiest Times

How your business manages workplace stress can have a big impact on your productivity, employee engagement and even retention. During your busy season, when the demands on your department can peak, having a set of stress relief strategies ready to go will help you tackle your busy season with confidence. In this article, Doug Hamlyn, VP, Finance, of Adecco Canada and Roevin, describes some of the best ways to help your employees manage workplace stress.  

When I hear the word “stress,” I think of steel beams and concrete columns and the tests they undergo to make them crack. Though this definition comes from my early career as a civil engineer, in a very similar way, I view work stress as the mental or emotional strain that we are subjected to from difficult or demanding work situations.

I have spent most of my career working in finance departments where stress in its many forms typically happens during quarter-end, year-end or budget season. The usual suspect is the classic ‘having too much work and too little time,’ but can also come from those unexpected events that we hadn’t factored into our timelines. Now, with these unexpected audits or projects on top of an already-full workload, we have plans and priorities that don’t align and family and work conflicts where compromise may not be an option. And if you add to that a manager who isn’t solution-focused, you can get a perfect storm of workplace stress.

As managers, it’s our job to find a way to deliver the results our business requires with minimal stress along the way.  Here are some ideas to help alleviate the pressure of peak season stress:

1. Plan ahead

Stress often comes from not having a plan, so give your employees a clear idea of how they’ll get through the busy season. Use the deadlines and workload you already know to develop your plan. Ensure that you also include buffer zones for last-minute or unexpected demands. You should also factor in your employees’ external commitments to get as realistic and attainable a plan as possible. With proper planning and scheduling, you can give your employees that extra bit of confidence that their time and workload is recognized and accounted for.

2. Vacation blackout period

At the hiring stage, make sure to communicate that there are times of the year when employees cannot take vacation. By setting these expectations ahead of time, you help ensure that all resources are available for your busy period.

3. Remain flexible

Determine which deadlines are firm and which are flexible. You may even have some leeway with external audit dates if you ask and have a valid rationale for delay. In addition, make sure you’re flexible with how you allow people to finish their work in lieu of ‘burning the midnight oil.’ For example, allow your employees to finish their work at home, start earlier, etc.

4. Sharing resources

Use external temporary resources to manage routine tasks and free up senior staff to tackle budgets or year-end functions. Make sure all your resources are cross-trained so that they can share assignments for increased staffing flexibility.

Thinking about expanding your temporary workforce? Explore your options with Adecco.

5. Say no

No is a powerful word. While you usually can’t say no to your boss or to your company’s fixed deadlines, think about the discretionary requests that you can say no to, such as attending a meeting when someone can update you later or taking on a new task that would be a better fit for a different department. For non-critical requests that you’d like to take on but don’t have the time for right now, consider saying “not now” and setting a date for the future.

6. Celebrate

Recognizing your team’s accomplishments can go a long way towards diffusing stress. Even if it’s just taking your staff for a coffee when a deadline is met or ordering in lunch if you can’t get away, small celebrations help demonstrate your appreciation for your staff’s hard work. Plus, these much-needed breaks give your staff some breathing room to help them see the bigger picture (and the eventual return to normalcy).

7. Stay healthy

Encouraging your staff to take steps to prioritize their health will benefit everyone, which is especially true if your busy season coincides with flu season. Encourage your employees to maintain healthy sleep schedules and their physical fitness to ensure that they are ready to tackle their tasks head-on when they’re at work, and to improve their at-home lives at the same time.

As we continue to do more with less, managing through busy periods will always be a challenge. But if you engage everyone in setting a work plan that takes into account each person’s unique and important commitments and their normal working hours, you can minimize the stress they will endure during these periods.

 

Doug HamlynDoug Hamlyn, B.Eng. and MBA, is the Vice President, Finance for Adecco Canada and Roevin. With 10 years in large, multinational public and private staffing companies and experience in the Canadian, U.S. and South African markets, Doug brings senior financial leadership to Adecco’s executive team. Along with his Finance, Real Estate, IT and Occupational Health & Safety teams, Doug’s focus is on regulatory compliance, business controls, process improvements and client support.

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

 

Re-focus on Customer Service

It may be strategic marketing and advertising that draws customers to your business, but it’s the level of customer service that keeps them coming back and referring friends and family. Don’t let your business’s lackluster customer service affect your profits. In honour of National Customer Service Week from October 1 to 5, we’re sharing our tips to raise awareness of the importance of customer service within your company.

Customer service is an under-valued yet essential function for your organization’s success. Not only does it help you grow customer relationships, a good customer service strategy also gathers important feedback from customers about your services and products, while building customer confidence in your brand. It’s a win-win-win situation!

However, not all organizations have the capital to invest in a call centre or customer service department. So how can you increase your company’s customer service focus without a full-scale reorganization? Check out Adecco’s 4 tips and watch your customer relationships grow!

Hire service-oriented employees across all departments

“It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.”

Whether it was past experience in a call centre or even a previous retail job, hiring staff with prior customer service experience can yield great benefits for your organization’s customer relationships. Not only will these employees bring an array of customer service skills to their new position, they will likely already have a customer-first focus that won’t go unnoticed by your clients or customers. These employees will act as an example for colleagues lacking customer service experience and skills, and they can help build a stronger customer service focus within your organization.

Schedule mandatory customer service training for all staff

“A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price- or product-related.”

Customer service is more than just handling customer complaints. It requires product knowledge, clear communication skills, positive language, empathy and so much more! Given how multi-dimensional good customer service is, helping your employees develop these skills can dramatically improve your organization’s customer focus. Make it a priority within your organization by scheduling mandatory training sessions with all colleagues annually. In these sessions, emphasize company policies on product or service warranties and role-play a variety of potential situations to help develop your employees’ customer service skills. By preparing colleagues for those tricky interactions, they will feel more comfortable and confident in handling any customer issues that come their way.

Provide a desktop cheat sheet

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.”

Customer service skills take time and practice to develop and they don’t necessarily come naturally to your employees, especially those who work in departments that wouldn’t normally interact with customers or clients. Provide staff with a cheat sheet of the best words and phrases to use in challenging customer service situations. By providing your employees with this tool, you help them take control of the customer interaction, while working towards a positive outcome.

Incentives and rewards

55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service.”

Recognize colleagues who have maintained a strong customer service priority within their daily work. This will reinforce your organization’s commitment to a high level of customer service and influence colleagues to focus on their customer service skills. However you choose to acknowledge your high-achievers — think an extra vacation day, gift card, or employee of the month certificate — providing employees with an incentive can be the push they need to make customer service a priority within their daily work load.

Lēad Blog is part of Adecco and Roevin Canada. Hire your perfect team, or get more staffing advice from our experts.

The Pursuit of (Workplace) Happiness

It’s no surprise that employees appreciate a “happy” workplace, but the benefits to employers are sometimes overlooked. In this article, we take a look at the positives of creating and maintaining a happy workforce. 

We all know that employees want to work in a place that makes them happy – who wouldn’t? But what might get overlooked is that employee satisfaction can also have a significant impact on organizational performance. From productivity to brand promotion, a happy employee makes your organization better  by just being happy.

But what affects an employee’s happiness? It might be surprising to note that salary isn’t the only factor. In fact, a Glassdoor study found that, at all income levels, compensation was the least significant workplace priority for workers — lower than culture and values, senior leadership, career opportunities, business outlook and work-life balance.

It’s clear that employers have a significant effect on employee satisfaction, and it’s often through factors other than compensation. While it may be daunting, it’s also increasingly obvious that employers must consider employee engagement as an official part of their corporate mission.

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