The holiday season brings with it many feelings: joy for some, stress for others, and a little of both for most. People bustle around preparing for gatherings, and many businesses prepare for an influx of demands and deadlines. An increase in requirements and rush on projects can have some negative effects on employee well-being. Being too busy can lead to fatigue, sleep problems, and other physical detriments that hurt productivity and increase the risk of injuries at work.
Topics: HR Challenges
How much money can you afford to throw away? Most business owners would emphatically answer, “Zero!” Yet Canadian businesses lose about 2.4% of payroll—$16.6 billion in 2011, according to Statistics Canada—to sick days, not including indirect costs like finding replacement workers or delays to projects. It might seem surprising, then, that the best way to reduce the cost related to illness is to encourage employees to take sick days.
Research published in the American Journal for Public Health shows that providing even just one or two paid sick days to employees reduces the spread of infections in workplaces by 25 to 39%. Intuitively, this makes sense; if an employee stays home, they don’t share their germs, which means they reduce the number of sick days their colleagues have to take. One employee taking two sick days is far less costly than five or six employees taking one each. And the risk is real. Contagions spread rapidly in workplaces: being cooped up with a sick person for a long time, with everyone using the same equipment, the same recirculated air—not to mention that some people don’t cover their coughs and sneezes—it’s small wonder people talk about colds making the rounds at work, as if being sick were just another job duty being re-assigned every week. When a sick worker spreads their sickness, they multiply the harm they do in the workplace. So if a sick worker stays home, they actually reduce the number of sick days their colleagues have to take—a net benefit to employers.
Employees come and go, but are you prepared for when they come back? In the movie Back to the Future, Marty McFly goes on an adventure through time, returning to a profoundly changed present. Employees who return from a prolonged leave of absence can feel like they, too, have travelled through time, uncertain of exactly where they are, what’s different, or what they should do next.
It’s easy to presume that when employees return to the workplace they will pick up right where they left off. But if an employee has been gone a long time, getting back into the daily flow of their job could be difficult. Your company might have grown, workspaces been rearranged, colleagues left and been replaced by new faces, and processes been altered. Even slow, small changes you don’t notice from day to day can be overwhelming for an employee who encounters them all at once after an absence.
Every workplace includes people from different backgrounds with unique personalities. It’s no surprise that from time to time the behaviour of some employees may irritate their peers. When this happens, it’s not necessarily a problem, but it could be.
Whether it’s rolling their eyes when their boss is speaking or playing music without headphones, there are plenty of things employees can do to annoy their co-workers, and although these seem like minor issues, they can harm productivity if left to fester. When those annoying little things start affecting work, you need to address them, no matter how small.
Topics: HR Challenges
How much do you make? For many working Canadians, it’s hard to imagine a more uncomfortable question, and employers likewise tend to feel discomfort when employees raise questions about compensation. Still, concerns about fair and equal pay are everywhere. Money never seems to go as far anymore, and that $64,000 game show jackpot that would have felt so lucrative in the ’50s sounds far less impressive today.
The gender pay gap remains stubbornly large, as do disparities for persons with disabilities, and racialized and LGBTQ persons. So too have concerns grown about pay ratios between executives and the average worker, along with vocal debate about minimum wage rates. Across the country, people worry about earning enough money to take care of their basic needs, and still finding savings for emergencies and long-term goals like retirement.
Working nine to five, five days a week, is not a schedule that all industries can adopt, because many jobs experience high and low periods that cannot be supported by a steady schedule. This is the case for many of the nearly 25% of the North American workforce whose jobs require shiftwork (according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety), as well as many seasonal workers in various industries.
Managing these types of schedules can be complicated, which is why averaging agreements exist to help better manage the pay that results from irregular hours of work. A common misconception about averaging agreements is that they are like flexible work schedules or even flex time, which is not the case.
Averaging agreements are legislatively governed agreements that an employer may enter into with an employee or a group of employees that average hours over two or more weeks rather than the standard single week for the purpose of determining overtime pay. The averaging agreement comes in response to irregular hours of work, but does not establish those hours. The primary benefit employers stand to gain from using averaging agreements is limiting the amount of overtime that is paid out.
In today’s digital age, information is shared globally with ease, for good or bad. Employers may feel particularly vulnerable to online reviews from current or former employees. Having a bad online review can embarrass a company or tarnish their reputation. Worst of all, a bad review can hurt employee morale, recruitment efforts, investor relations, and public perception.
Learning how to respond to these negative reviews is an important skill to learn so you can recover, restore, and improve your organization’s reputation as an employer of choice. Responding to an online review may provide closure to the person who wrote it. Even if they don’t see the response, writing it is not a waste of time! Others will read the response, including current employees, potential candidates, customers, business affiliates, and investors.
Topics: HR Challenges
The very mention of the words “performance improvement plan” in many workplaces can cause the theme from Jaws to play in employees’ heads. That’s because performance improvement plans (PIPs for short) have been cast in a primarily negative light due their frequent use strictly as a way to document poor performance before terminating an employee, rather than as a coaching tool to help improve employee performance and maintain the employment relationship. However, when used correctly, a PIP can be an effective way to help an employee who is underperforming in the workplace, and PIPs shouldn’t just be used as the first step in a termination process.
Owning a business has a lot of perks, but those perks are accompanied by many responsibilities. For most business owners, growing your business and making a profit are top priorities, but to get there, you’ll probably need help from others.
Besides handling the typical tasks of recruiting, managing day-to-day issues, and dealing with terminations, business owners also need to be concerned about areas like diversity in employment, legislative compliance, assessing performance, and providing employees with appropriate compensation. But who is responsible for those tasks?
Sometimes life gets in the way, and employees have to step away from work to devote their time to an illness, a family member, or something else. Whatever your jurisdiction, legislation offers protected leaves for a variety of needs so that employees can tend to their lives without sacrificing their jobs. These leaves generally include maternity or parental leave, various kinds of sick leave, bereavement leave, depending on the jurisdiction.
Not only are leaves legislatively required, they can also offer many benefits for your organization. Allowing employees time off can reduce unplanned absences and improve morale, which boosts retention rates. Productivity is another major benefit, with 89% of companies allowing paid time off reporting a positive effect in overall productivity as reported by Business.com. A study by Business Wire found that 58% of workers want paid family leave from their employers, outranking the demand for other popular perks.