HR News October 2010
Welcome to the October issue of HR News. In this issue we look at return-to-work interviews and their importance in the workplace. With more and more emphasis being put on employees' health too, we look at why it is important to invest in the health and wellbeing of your staff. We've all heard the phrase 'I'm working from home today' and maybe wondering if they really are! However, research has just shown that working from home could actually be hugely beneficial for a business. Lastly the fear of redundancy is still high up on the list of employees' worries; new statistics in our article may surprise you and just why are the staff worried but not the CEOs? Food for thought!
The success of return-to-work interviews relies on good line managers
According to a report published recently by XpertHR, it was found that line managers need to be much more confident about conducting return-to-work interviews.
Nearly half (48%) of employers thought that their organisations did not use return-to-work interviews consistently and many blamed this failure on the shortcomings of line management and a lack of training.
The top reasons for the failure to conduct effective return-to-work interviews were that line managers felt uncomfortable conducting interviews that may uncover personal information and that managers were too busy and did not buy into managing absence.
The majority (94%) of employers said they conducted return-to-work interviews with employees who had been off sick and more than two-thirds (68%) reported that their organisations' absence rates had fallen as a result.
The report also found that many companies did not use different approaches for different types of absences. Four in five employers used the same procedures for conducting return-to-work interviews whether the absence was long-term or short-term and more than three-quarters did so when the employee had been absent due to a disability.
It is evident from the research that employers should distinguish between sickness absence and disability-related leave in relation to return-to-work interviews and any disciplinary consequences.
TeamSpirit HR Software enables businesses to streamline staff attendance and produce strategic reports on sickness and absence.
The British Heart Foundation calls for employers to take staff health more seriously.
Research by YouGov, in association with The British Heart Foundation, has shown that of the businesses surveyed, 81% of their staff did not exercise properly.
The survey also found that 55% of workers spent more than half their working day sitting or standing still and 48% ate lunch at their desks, and did not have a break from work or the office environment.
The British Heart Foundation felt that there would be a significant return on investment for employers that improve the health of their workforce as a report by CBI earlier in the year found that sickness absence costs UK businesses around £17 billion a year.
Simple measures to improve the health of a workforce, like getting the team together for a lunchtime kick-around in the car park, or a walk, can improve productivity, reduce staff turnover and mean fewer sick days.
It is all about getting a break from your desk, getting a break from work and coming back to your desk refreshed.
An organisation should adapt its culture to one that actively encourages regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and a sensible alcohol intake, in order to support improvements in employees' health.
TeamSpirit HR Software allows you to manage your health and safety directives and policies.
Working from home today?
The TUC claims nearly one in five workers want to work from home but are being prevented from doing so by their employer.
Despite the recent growth in home working, official statistics show there is still huge untapped potential across the workforce, with 4.5 million employees saying they want to work from home on a regular basis but are not allowed to do so.
The TUC is urging organisations to look at the potential benefits of allowing staff to work from home, either on a permanent or ad-hoc basis.
Some of the potential benefits could be:
Better staff recruitment and retention: Home working can widen the recruitment pool by attracting people who have traditionally struggled to find work, such as single parents and those with disabilities.
Improved motivation and productivity: Employees are more likely to have high morale where employers are seen to take account of their needs. Employers as diverse as the Nationwide Building Society and the Ministry of Defence are reporting productivity gains achieved by home working.
Improving the quality and reputation of the service: Good employment practices can enhance the reputation of businesses. Home working and flexible working can extend the hours when businesses are in touch with customers.
Reduction of sickness absence and travel costs: Not working in an office environment can reduce exposure to colds, flu and other contagious diseases. Cutting out the commute can reduce stress.
Infrastructure cost savings: Home working can save on car parking space, office rent and running costs.
TeamSpirit HR Software lets you produce strategic reports to ensure your business motivates and retains its best staff.
Redundancy is still a worry for a third of UK employees
According to findings by the Protection Gap Survey, almost a third of the UK workforce is still worried about being made redundant. Although CEOs when asked the same question, were not so concerned. In fact a third said they had no concerns at all.
When asked which workplace issues currently worried them, over a third (36%) of senior managers and almost half (42%) of executives without management responsibility identified redundancy, revealing that uncertainty and job insecurity is still rife despite talk of economic improvement.
It is evident from the findings that although the wider economic environment appears to be more positive than it was this time last year, the issue of redundancy is clearly still at the forefront of employees' minds, and one that concerns them on a regular basis. CEOs themselves may not be worried about their own management positions but they should be aware of the wider sentiment among their workforce.
It almost seems misleading for managers to give their employees a false sense of security by pretending that the market is back to normal and redundancy is not a workplace possibility. At the same time, however, it should not be an ongoing concern that affects employee performance. Redundancy is still a real threat in the current economic climate and if businesses are forced to cut costs through a reduction in headcount, then it is critical that they meet their obligations as employers and follow the right procedures in order to avoid potentially huge legal claims.