Posts Tagged ‘healthy workplace’

Just how positive are you?

March 18th, 2011

What would you say your positive to negative ratio is? Five to one? Three to one? One to one? The vast majority of us hover around 2:1. Unless we are mentally ill, most moments in our lives are at least mildly good. But that is not good enough to flourish. Barbara Frederickson’s research shows that we need a positivity ratio of at least 3:1 to flourish.

The tipping point – that sweet spot in between where a small change makes a big difference differs depending on the situation. Where we need a 3:1 positivity ratio to flourish, happy marriages have a positivity ratio of 5:1. And high-powered teams have a positivity ratio of 6:1. That is six positives for every negative!

Why do we need so many positives to counteract the negative? It is something called negativity-bias. Simply put – the bad (or the negative) is stronger than the good. Just think about how we are drawn to the negative. Whether it is TV or the newspaper, negativity sells.  We become engaged when we hear about something bad that has happened to someone. Gossip draws a crowd. Unfortunately, the negative is way more powerful than the positive.

Two ways to increase our positivity ratio: Increase the positive and decrease the negative. So what can you do to reduce the negative and increase the positive in your life? And at work?

Spirit at work and positivity goes hand-in-hand. Actually, happiness in life and positivity goes hand-in-hand. The more we can reduce negativity and increase positivity in our lives and at work, the more we will flourish. The first step is to be mindful. So in the week ahead, I invite you to become a witness of your thoughts. Then once you have this awareness, I invite you to see how you can reduce the negative and increase the positive. And observe how you feel. And how others begin to respond to you. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Posted in Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

Are you happy at work?

March 1st, 2011

Not too long ago, happiness was considered “fluff” and not worthy of attention. People would laugh if your spoke about happiness at work! But not anymore.

Google “happiness” today and you will see how that has changed. You will find tons of web sites and blogs claiming to know the secret to happiness. Universities are offering courses on happiness. Researchers are specializing in the area and are writing books about how to increase your happiness level.  Even academic journals are dedicated to the subject. And “happiness” conferences are popping up everywhere. Including a happiness at work conference in Copenhagen this spring.

And why wouldn’t they? Happier people, well, they are just happier. They are more fun to be around and are more likely to have more spirit at work. All of which positively impacts productivity.

Need more convincing? In comparison to less happy people, happy people:

  • have more energy and are more motivated
  • are more optimistic and more resilient in the face of hardship
  • are healthier, have stronger immune systems, and take fewer sick days
  • are more cooperative, better liked by others at work and have richer friendships
  • make better and more informed decisions and are more productive in their jobs
  • are better leaders and negotiators
  • are more open to learning new things and show more flexibility and ingenuity in their thinking

How could this not have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and productivity? So what is holding us back from promoting happiness, and particularly, happiness at work?

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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How to Bridge the Multi-Generational Gap

June 9th, 2010

Many organizations are managing generational differences and conflict in the workplace by following what Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak, co-authors of Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace, call the ACORN Imperatives.

Successful companies use these five operating ideas to build organizations that accommodate differences, exhibit flexibility, emphasize respectful relations and focus on retaining talented and gifted employees. Here are some strategies to get you started:

Accommodate employees’ differences. Treat your employees as you treat your customers. Get to know your employees and what is important to them. Make an effort to accommodate their personal scheduling needs, work-life balance issues and non-traditional lifestyles.

Create workplace choices. Allow the workplace to be shaped around the work being done, the customers being served and the people who work there. Shorten the chain of command and reduce bureaucracy. Create a relaxed and informal work environment with lots of humor and playfulness.

Operate from a sophisticated management style. Give those who report to you the big picture, specific goals and measures, and then they turn them loose. Give them feedback, reward and recognition as appropriate, but don’t micro-manage. Be flexible: practice situational leadership, match individuals to a team and individuals and teams to an assignment. Strive to be perceived as fair, inclusive, and as a good communicator. Be competent.

Respect competence and initiative. Assume the best of your employees. Treat everyone, from the newest recruit to the most seasoned employee, as if they have great things to offer. Take time to hire the right people. Then motivate them to do their best.

Nourish retention. Improve employee retention. Make your workplace a magnet for excellence. Offer lots of training, from one-on-one coaching opportunities to interactive computer-based training to an extensive and varied menu of classroom courses. Encourage regular lateral movement within the organizations and broaden assignments.

The ACORN Imperatives are simple and straightforward. Yet managers and leaders find it difficult to incorporate in their daily work. Perhaps they get blinded by their own generational values. Implementing the ACORN principles takes work and a different way of looking at how to manage multiple generations. But the rewards are immense.

Read the complete newsletter where I examine the profiles of each generation, look at the similarities, comment about the relationship between spirit at work and the multi-generations, and focus on strategies to bridge the gap.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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How Healthy is Your Workplace?

May 6th, 2010

Effective health programs extend beyond the physical and mental health of employees and occupational health and safety. They focus on creating organizational cultures and conditions that inspire a highly engaged and effective workforce.  Companies that develop and promote comprehensive strategies that include health programs and engagement strategies can expect to reap the rewards through more engaged employees, lower costs, improved productivity and financial performance.

The National Quality Institute (NQI) provides twelve questions for organizations to see how they measure up to the NQI Healthy Workplace Criteria. These questions provide a great starting point for organizations interested in becoming healthier. 

1. Is a strategic approach in place for developing and sustaining a healthy workplace and is it based on employee needs?

2. Do your leaders demonstrate, through their comments and action, a commitment to the management of a healthy workplace?

3. Is there an overall health policy in place stating your organization’s intent to protect and promote the health of all employees by providing as healthy an environment as possible?

4. Do you have a formal assessment process to determine employee needs, attitudes and preferences in regard to healthy workplace programs?

5. Are the workplace health assessment results analyzed and are improvement goals set out in a Healthy Workplace Plan?

6. Does the Healthy Workplace Plan lead to improvement of all the key elements of a healthy workplace – the Physical Environment, Health Practices and the Social Environment and Personal Resources?

7. Do you have a mechanism in place to review relevant occupational health and safety legislation and are you in compliance with such legislation/regulations?

8. Do you have methods in place that make it easy for people to provide ongoing input on healthy workplace and organizational issues and to seek assistance?

9. Do you measure employee satisfaction levels (and I would add employee engagement and spirit at work) in order to improve the workplace?

10. Do you identify the contributions of your employees and provide appropriate recognition and rewards?

11. Are there good levels and trends in employee satisfaction (and I would add employee engagement and spirit at work) and morale?

12. Do you train your employees in healthy workplace principles and methods?

At Kaizen Solutions, we work with organizations and employees to create positive, healthy workplaces that foster well-being and spirit at work. We know that the factors that contribute to a healthy workplace also contribute to employee spirit at work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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How Proactive Employers Create a Healthy Workplace

May 1st, 2010

Proactive employers have adopted a broad definition of workplace wellness. Acknowledging workplaces as a key determinant of health, these employers go beyond the traditional occupational health and safety initiatives and health promotion programs. They consider how the culture of the organization impacts employee wellbeing and thus, productivity.
 
Comprehensive workplace health initiatives focus on three areas:
 
1.Creating a safe and physically healthy work environment. The emphasis is on preventing injuries or illness and eliminating hazards. Examples are workplace design and ergonomics, safety guidelines, air quality and elimination of hazards.
 
2. Promoting and supporting healthy lifestyles. These are the traditional health promotion activities at work which address lifestyle practices of employees. Examples are: stress management programs, smoking cessation programs, fitness programs or subsidies, and healthy food choices in workplace cafeterias.
 
3. Creating a healthy organizational culture that fosters employee wellbeing, engagement and spirit at work. These are the management practices and strategies that focus on culture, leadership, relationships, and working conditions. Key factors include attitudes, values, respect, inclusion, recognition, meaningful work, communication and work-life balance or what some refer to as work-life fit.
 
Proactive organizations know that they can maximize their business performance by improving their work environment and investing in health programs for their employees.

At Kaizen Solutions, we work with organizations and employees to create positive, healthy workplaces that foster well-being and spirit at work. We know that the factors that contribute to a healthy workplace also contribute to employee spirit at work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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The Business Case for Creating a Healthy Workplace

April 10th, 2010

Healthy employees are absent less often, have higher morale, are more productive, and have lower healthcare costs. The result: happier employees, a better bottom line for the business and a higher level of customer satisfaction.  These positive effects also have a ripple effect on employees’ families, their communities, and the healthcare system.

Addressing employee health and well being has always been a strategy to contain costs. Now it has become a key strategy for attracting and retaining employees. Towers Watson argues that keeping their workforce healthy, productive and engaged will be the most critical issue for employers over the next few years.

Proactive organizations are aware of the benefits of health and productivity programs to both employees and employers, thus, are going beyond the typical employee safety programs and healthy lifestyles promotion. They are also looking at the organizational culture such as leadership, meaningful work, morale, relationships, social support, and balance between job demands and resources – all of which have a dramatic impact on employee health and sense of well being, and spirit at work.

Need more convincing?

In a meta-analysis of the literature on costs and savings associated with wellness programs, Katherine Baicker and colleagues from Harvard found that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.

The companies with the most effective health and productivity programs (in the Towers Watson study) report a financial advantage. Look at the outcomes:

  • 11% higher revenue per employee
  • lower medical trends by 1.2 percentage points
  • 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year and
  • 28% higher shareholder returns

At first glance, it might seem that 1.8 days less absenteeism per year isn’t much. But if your company has 100 employees, 1.8 days translates to 180 workdays lost per year. That is 36 weeks. Where else can you get that kind return on your investment?

Towers Watson also found that high health and productivity effectiveness companies are also more likely to have:

  • lower health care costs
  • lower levels of presenteeism
  • fewer lost days due to disabilities and
  • lower levels of turnover relative to their industry peers.

How do they get these results?

The most effective health and productivity organizations didn’t focus only on the physical and mental health of employees. Emphasis was also placed on the organizational conditions which contribute to employee spirit at work and productivity such as:

  • recognition and rewards
  • organizational leadership and
  • effective communication.

What are you doing to create a healthy workplace?

At Kaizen Solutions, we work with organizations and employees to create positive, healthy workplaces that foster well-being and spirit at work. We know that the factors that contribute to a healthy workplace also contribute to employee spirit at work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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