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Improve Workplace Safety With Cooperative Efforts

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article | Improve Workplace Safety With Cooperative EffortsEvery day, people head to work believing they will complete their allotted hours and duties and then go home safely. It’s true that everyone deserves to have a safe working environment, and many businesses take steps to make sure employees are safe. However, many workplace accidents still happen.

Understand That Safety Impacts Everyone

Employee safety is important for everyone at the worksite whether it is a low-risk office environment or a high-risk off-shore mining site. When employees get injured at work, this affects their ability to take home a paycheck and it negatively impacts the employers’ bottom line. Additionally, this leads to added responsibilities for other employees. It’s very important that employers, supervisors, and everyone else at the worksite cooperate to prevent injuries and accidents.

Identify Common Causes of Accidents and Injuries

One of the first steps to reducing the occurrence of workplace accidents is identifying the most common causes of accidents. According to Travelers Insurance, the situations most likely to cause injuries are:

  • Material handling, with 32 percent of claims
  • Falls, slips, and trips, 16 percent
  • Colliding with or being struck by an object, 10 percent
  • Use of tools, 7 percent
  • Overuse, strain, and other traumas that occur over time, 4 percent

In addition to understanding how most accidents happen, it’s also valuable to understand which injuries are most likely to happen. The following numbers also come from Travelers Insurance:

  • Strains and sprains
  • Cuts and punctures
  • Contusions (bruises, for example)
  • Inflammation
  • Fractures (such as broken bones)

These numbers can help you understand where to start reducing your risks; for the best results, contact your workplace insurance provider for a more specific risk rundown.

Build a Culture of Safety

Remember that no matter how well you complete the following suggestions, if everyone in your workplace isn’t involved in improving safety, then everyone will be at risk for accidents and injuries. Improve results by showing your employees that you place a high priority on safety. Implement procedures that encourage safety, even when this means slowing down work processes, and then find a way to reward workers who support those safety measures.

Increase Workplace Safety

There are many things you can do to increase safety, reduce employee injuries, and protect yourself from workers compensation claims:

  • Keep common areas clean and uncluttered, provide good lighting, and use slip-resistant flooring materials.
  • Train employees to use equipment appropriately, including ladders, heavy machinery, and even staplers. Provide ongoing training to make sure all employees are up to date.
  • Education employees about physical safety and ergonomics. Heavy lifting is a task that employees complete in offices, warehouses, factories, and many other worksites. When you teach your employees to lift and handle materials safely, you could reduce some of the 36 percent of injuries that fall into this category. Physical safety in offices can be increased through a better understanding of ergonomics.
  • Post and send safety reminders. A well-placed Accident Prevention Safety Poster can help employees remember to wear their hard hats. Office-wide memos can remind staff to participate in first aid courses. Regular reminders to put phones down while walking through the worksite may reduce slip and fall injuries.
  • Create an incentive program that rewards individuals and teams for improving workplace safety. Remind employees to be alert at all times, slow down enough to complete tasks safely, wear required safety gear, and follow instructions fully.

It takes time to change behavior in the workplace, but it is possible to see improvement with consistency.

Create a Cycle of Safety Improvement

Even minor accidents or injuries can cause missed days of work, loss of income, decreased workplace efficiency, and workers’ compensation claims. When safety issues are addressed quickly and business leaders emphasize workplace safety, employees will participate in a culture of safety. This creates a cycle of improvement that is beneficial to everyone in the workplace.

The Demotivated Employee: What Causes Employees to Lose Their Motivation?

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | The Demotivated Employee: What Causes Employees to Lose Their Motivation?Think of the last time you started something new… you were so excited that you couldn’t sleep the night before… you woke up without the alarm… etc.  That is what motivation looks like. It may have lasted a long time, or perhaps it dropped off like a waterfall once you got to work. Has this ever happened to you?

It’s likely that you can relate because most of us, at some point in our careers, have had this happen to us. In fact, my colleague, Dr. Cathy Bush and I, have heard lots of stories from MBA students describing similar situations in their professional lives. Because we’ve heard these stories so much, we decided to do some digging to figure out what was causing employees, who were once highly driven and committed to the work, to lose their motivation. And what we discovered were five sources of demotivation or factors that contributed to employees losing their motivation. However, not only did we identify the sources, but we also pinpointed behaviors that leaders can execute to prevent demotivation from occurring in the first place. Or, if it does happen, to help repair the damage that’s been done and to help employees regain their “motivation mojo.”

So, here are the five sources of demotivation and what leaders can do.

  1. Individual differences. Your personality, attitude and competence play a role in keeping you motivated. For instance, when we work in positions that are suited to our personality preferences, we’re more likely to keep the motivation that we brought to the work and to contribute in meaningful ways. Or when we’re feeling good about our ability to complete tasks or to perform well in our job, we’re more likely to be motivated. While this source is primarily attributable to the individual, it doesn’t mean the manager doesn’t have a role to play too. Because of the pandemic, employees may have new responsibilities and find themselves in situations where they may not be prepared or have the necessary skills. It’s important for managers to pay attention and help their employees to “get up to speed.” The sooner you do this, the sooner your employees can gain the necessary competence and confidence to perform their new tasks successfully and fulfill their job responsibilities.
  2. Stress. It will come as no surprise that stressful work conditions can cause employees to burn out and dread going to work. While stress can give us short-term boosts to meet deadlines, it can become debilitating, adversely affecting our health and well-being, when it returns frequently or lasts for long periods of time. How leaders respond during times of stress is critical. Given the sudden changes and uncertainty that have occurred as a result of the pandemic, employees are stressed. So, as a manager, take the time to have a one-on-one conversation with your employees to talk about how their adjusting to the new changes and to see what’s working and what’s not. This will give you the opportunity not only to listen and to empathize, but to work with the employee to address stressors the individual is dealing with.
  3. Organizational culture. Culture is a big deal. The significance of culture is rooted in the fact that it consists of core values that permeate every part of the organization from norms to decision making. People often choose to work for an organization because the culture “fits” their preferences for how they want to work. Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn (2011) have identified four cultures that are indicative of most organizations: clan, adhocracy, hierarchy and market. Each of these cultures has a unique set of values that influence multiple facets of the organization from the flow of information to how firms integrate standardized processes and procedures. If there’s a “mismatch” between the organizational culture and how an employee prefers to work, there’s a chance the employee will no longer be motivated. So, leaders should pay attention to how social distancing and remote work are affecting their culture. For example, adhocracy cultures are characterized by lots of collaboration and teamwork in order to drive innovation in the marketplace. Replicating those values in your new “virtual” culture will be important, so employees continue to work in ways that are congruent with the values that caused them to choose your company.
  4. Conflict with co-workers.Conflict is going to happen. It’s inevitable. When you bring together people from diverse backgrounds, with different ideas, agendas and experiences, you’re going to have conflict. So, don’t be afraid of it. Conflict, if it’s managed well, can be healthy for the organization. How so? Well, when conflict surfaces because employees have different ideas about how to roll out a new product, as an example, this can be a good thing for the organization. Why? Because the manager can use this opportunity to create a hearty debate that allows employees to really “drill down” on which idea makes the most sense based upon data. This can result in the company achieving a better outcome than if everyone simply agreed upon everything from the outset. Being able to do this in a way that doesn’t result in hurt feelings and winners and losers, will require leaders to create the cultural conditions that allow employees to see conflict as something to be embraced, rather than something to be avoided.
  5. Leadership Styles. We’ve heard the saying, “people quit their bosses, not their jobs.” How leaders behave when managing their folks has a profound impact on employees. When managers show that they trust employees and allow them to give input to decisions, they create an environment where employees feel valued and are more likely to be committed. However, when leaders fail to keep employees informed with timely and relevant information, or don’t ask for their input on decisions or ignore obstacles that are getting in the way, employees will lose their motivation over time. Because these “failures” adversely affect employee engagement and motivation, leaders should pay special attention to them during this time of crisis. Given all of the uncertainty and angst about how the virus may affect the business and jobs, managers must ensure that communication is honest and ongoing. Employees can handle the truth. It’s important that you tell them. Keeping employees informed about what’s going on, removing obstacles that are getting in the way of their remote work and soliciting their input, where appropriate, can go a long way towards helping employees to maintain their motivation, in spite of the difficult circumstances.

Imagine if we lived in a “work world” where employees woke up every day excited to go to the office? It may sound like “pie in the sky,” but actually it’s not. If it were, then we wouldn’t have the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For™ list. By attending to the five sources of demotivation, leaders can create workplaces where employees are highly motivated and engaged. So, in the words of the great philosopher, Yoda, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Let’s stop causing employees to be demotivated, and instead, behave in ways that cause them to keep their “motivation mojo.”


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Tara PetersTara Peters, Ph.D., is a gifted educator, TED Talk speaker, bestselling author, and international consultant with a client list that includes Coca-Cola, Allstate, Walmart, and Ocwen. A professional educator for more than 26 years, she currently serves as a professor at Northwood University’s Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management and as academic dean for its Texas campus. She is the co-author of the new book The Demotivated Employee: Helping Leaders Solve the Motivation Crisis That is Plaguing Business.

4 Ways to Optimize Your Team for Success

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 4 Ways to Optimize Your Team for SuccessIn today’s modern world, words like “leadership” and “optimization” can feel a bit like cheap buzz words that are thrown around casually at business seminars.

Whilst there are definitely some companies that use these buzzwords to try to seem modern, being one of those companies and one of those managers that understands they don’t cut it anymore is a skill that will propel your business to the next level.

Working for Change

When we think of optimizing a team, invariably those team or personality questionnaires get thrown around, then glanced over by someone in HR only to be thrown in a drawer and never looked at again.

If you’re serious about being the change you want to see, it’s time to do some serious thinking about how you can lead your team to success by being the leader they need, not the manager they have.

Here are four things you can implement for optimizing your team for success

Lead With a Coaching Mindset

There has been a LOT of talk in the last few years about leadership coaching and the need for good leaders in organizations. Coaching in the workplace has become something that great organizations encourage as they know they can get more out of their leaders, and in turn, more out of the wider workforce.

Implement some of the coaching techniques into your day and see the difference it will make to your team.

Ensure Systems and Processes Are Up to Date

Nothing will frustrate a team more than having processes and systems that just don’t work. Take a transport management system as an example; teams need to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that they aren’t slowed down by a clog in the system or angry customers ringing up needing an update.

A good system allows clients to log in at any time, and employees to bring up information at the drop of a hat.

Give Them the Tools to Do the Job

Along with a system that doesn’t work, equipment that doesn’t work properly is a huge bane on team output. For example, if your video editor needs a high-performance laptop with a killer graphics card to do their job, listen to them and work to find a solution.

Employees will be happier when they can work to their full potential without technological hindrance.

Play to Strengths, Not Weaknesses

Employees from all sorts of backgrounds can be a huge benefit to your company. This is especially true for neurodiverse employees. Conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and other forms of neurodiversity can be a huge benefit to your company, but only if you are willing to play to strengths and not weaknesses. GCHQ in England understand this and specifically recruit dyslexic employees for their ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.

Richard Branson of Virgin is a hugely famous entrepreneur who is also severely dyslexic. He set up the charity Made By Dyslexia to showcase some incredible stories and share the strengths of this diverse way of thinking.

Six ways to be a better business leader

No matter what industry you work in, becoming a better leader in your area will be the career goal, many people aspire to fulfill. Some skills that many of the best figureheads have can be learned, or just come naturally to them. Either way, you can use them as examples of how you can improve your own performance.

Some of these top leadership skills can be very subtle yet hugely effective – but performing them in just the wrong way can have a negative effect on how people see you in the workplace. However, analyzing some of these behaviors (a few of which are listed here) will help you on your way to becoming the business leader you want to become.

Communicate effectively

The most successful business leaders will most likely be master communicators. The key to becoming a better leader will realize how to put your ideas across effectively – and persuade and inspire others. It is also essential to be able to listen keep an open mind when it comes to receiving feedback, for instance, so you can gain valuable insights.

Keep learning

Make sure your own knowledge does not become old and outdated, as this can affect both your professional development and your brand. Business is evolving at an astonishing rate, so you need to know about the latest techniques and trends.

That includes finding out more about the economy, your industry, and competitors, plus your own team. You should also work on the skills related to your role’s responsibilities and may consider enrolling in further education or taking a management course.

Take responsibility

A characteristic you should not have is to blame others when something bad happens. Accepting your role in your team’s actions – and the consequences – will help you get respect and trust. This means you will create a culture where you learn from mistakes and improve.

You can also take responsibility by ensuring errors don’t occur: you could check your company’s IT system is secure by working with brands such as INFINIT Consulting, Inc. This will help identify potential issues before they arise by using a managed IT service.

Be positive

Transformational leaders will have an optimistic attitude that is inspirational for followers: otherwise, team members may become uninspired if a leader seems apathetic or discouraged. You should also try to stay positive even when things look bad. That does not mean you should see things using rose-tinted glasses, but instead maintain that feeling of optimism even with challenges ahead.

Encourage creativity

Teams should be encouraged to use their creativity. As an effective leader, offer new challenges with the support they need to achieve these objectives. These goals should be within the abilities of your team – so they can stretch their limits but are not discouraged by barriers to success.

Be a role model

You should show the qualities that you want to encourage within your team. If you do, then these group members will admire you and will work on mirroring such behaviors themselves. Using idealized influence is also one of the main components of transformational leadership.

9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can EnjoyIn theory, organizing team building activities is a perfect way to get your team to get to know each other outside the office and form a stronger bond within the office as a result. However, finding the right activity for everyone if you are running a company that has multiple departments can be a real challenge.If your workforce is very diverse, there’s a good chance that preferences are going to vary – especially if you have a workforce in which there are employees who are not all the same relative age. This is why you need to find a way to celebrate these differences by choose activities everyone feels comfortable participating in.

Here’s a list of fun team building exercises everyone can participate in and enjoy.

Scavenger Hunt

Purpose: Teamwork

A scavenger hunt is a classic team collaboration game. The rules are easy:

Split your team into equal sized groups and send them out with a list of fun things to find. You can choose whether you want to do this in the office or outside the office. Set a time limit for all groups and put together some fun clues or even riddles that will force your teams to get creative and use not just their eyes but their brains as well! Whichever team comes back with the most items once time has run out is the winner.

Minefield

Purpose: Communication and problem solving

For this indoor game, you will need an empty room or hallway and a bunch of random office items. You can use office chairs, paper, boxes, anything you have around the office that isn’t too delicate or expensive to create obstacles in the empty space or “minefield.” Divide teams into pairs in which one of them must be blindfolded.

The other one must guide that person from start to finish without setting off any mines. That means they cannot step on any obstacles or venture outside the given boundaries. Their only guidance is the voice of their partner. You can change the number of pairs and obstacles depending on how difficult you want this game to be.

Three Truths and a Lie

Purpose: Getting to know each other

This is a really easy game. Before starting, give each team member four slips of paper where each of them can secretly write down three truths and one lie about themselves. It’s very important that the lie is believable. Instruct them not to reveal to anyone what they wrote down!

Then allow 15 minutes for conversation between the team members. This is the time when everyone should go around the room and talk about their written talking points in random order. The goal here is to convince others that your lie is a truth while you try to guess other people’s lies by asking them different questions. Remember- you should not reveal your truths or lies to other team members, even if everyone else has already guessed everything!

Say My Name

Purpose: Breaking stereotypes

Everyone should write down names (e.g. someone famous) or types of people (e.g. professor, doctor, wealthy, athletic) on name tags. Then put those tags on each team member’s back or forehead so they cannot see who they are but everyone else can.

Give people a few minutes to talk to each other and ask questions. The point is to treat everyone according to stereotypes related to the name on their tag. After each team member figures out who they are, they should exit the game and leave the rest of the people to continue playing. This game allows your employees to have fun and engage in conversation while confronting stereotypes at the same time.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy
Office Trivia

Purpose: Bonding

This is one of the easiest team building games to put together! All you have to do is come up with a series of questions about your office and then test your team’s knowledge. You can ask a variety of questions such as: “What brand of computer does a certain employee use?” “How many people are in the finance department” or “How many windows are there in the office?” or “Who takes their coffee with cream and sugar?”

Besides bonding people through conversation, this fun and easy team building activity is great for testing how observant people are and how much they know about their office, company and colleagues.

Community Service

Purpose: Enhance teamwork and collaboration

Find an activity that reflects your company values, get out of the office for a day and do something good for your community. This team building activity is not only excellent for getting your employees together and bonding through something that’s incredible positive, it’s also great for the overall image of your company in terms of local marketing.

When businesses go out into their communities and help people in need, the members of the community take notice and reward those businesses with loyalty.

Mural Painting

Purpose: Enhancing creativity

For this fun and creative team building activity you will need paint, brushes and something to paint on. It can be a canvas or a wall of your building/office. The point is to give each member of the team complete freedom to paint whatever they want. Give them a general theme and then let everyone create their own colorful masterpieces.

If you are giving an individual canvas to each employee, put them together and display them in your office as a mural once they are dry. Some people might refuse to paint at first because they don’t think they are talented, so make sure you explain to everyone that this is not a contest. This game’s purpose is to show that everyone has a creative side once they overcome their fears of showing it.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy
Make Your Logo

Purpose: Problem solving

Start by asking everyone to empty their pockets, purses and wallets and gather all the coins you can find and then place the coins on a table in front of you. Each team member should create their own logo for the company or team using the coins in front of them in one minute.

You may also use pens, notebooks, paper and anything you else you have around the office to create the logo. The logo can represent the team members individually or you can work together to create a logo for the department or even the entire organization. It’s a fun and creative game that encourages resourcefulness.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Purpose: Communication skills

For this team building activity, you will need a small piece of paper for each employee and a list of well-known “couples” such as peanut butter and jelly, Romeo and Juliet, salt and pepper, and so on. Each team member should wear the name of one half of each pair on their backs.

Have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their backs while only asking each other “Yes or No” questions. Once they figure out their word, they have to find the other half of their pair. As they find each other, have them sit down while the rest of the team continues until everyone has connected with their pair.


About the Author

Tamara Luzajic is a web content writer and editor, currently working as a copywriter at Humanity, employee scheduling and workforce management software.