How to Keep On Top Of Health and Safety at Work

 

With a recent move back to Red, and confirmation that the dreaded Omicron has arrived in NZ, it’s time to revisit your Health and Safety guidelines to make sure you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s.

Health and safety at work has sure got more complicated over the last few years. But as we try to settle into the new normal  it could be time to get back to basics.

If some of your health and safety tasks disappeared off your radar as you dealt with a million other things, you’re forgiven. We’ve all been rather busy just trying to stay afloat. But health and safety at work isn’t something that should be neglected, especially now.

Health and safety at work can feel like an overwhelming task, but really, it’s not so daunting if you take it one step at a time.

Let’s help you get back on track by going through some of the basic checks you need to do to get health and safety sorted at your workplace.

How To Keep On Top Of Health and Safety at Work

Stay On Top Of The Rule Changes

So much has changed over the last few years, and it may feel like the rules evolve every couple of weeks, but one thing has not changed – and that’s your obligation to provide a safe work environment for your employees.

Granted, that may be more complicated than it used to be, but the law is still the law, and there’s no excuse for failing to comply with it.

As such, it’s vital for employers to know the latest rules around COVID-19 for their specific industry and business.

Make sure you get clear on PPE guidelines and regulations at different traffic light levels, and be proactive about reaching out for advice if you’re confused.

There are plenty of great websites out there packed full of information. Here are some excellent resources to get stuck into if you need a little extra insight:

Addressing health and safety concerns

Employment New Zealand’s guide for workers at different COVID-10 alert levels

Vaccinations and work – Unite against COVID-19

Managing health and safety – Worksafe

Health and safety during COVID-19

Get Your Docs Up To Date

We know that paperwork is not everyone’s favourite thing, but it is an essential part of effectively managing health and safety at work.

While the law doesn’t specifically say you must have H&S documents, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 does require you to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe working environment for your staff – and your documentation is a key part to being able to show that’s just what you’re doing.

This also means communicating effectively and keeping everyone informed, and if your docs aren’t up to date, they’re not going to do the job. So now’s the time to review your policies, info sheets, signs, flowcharts, and procedures to ensure they are updated, clear, relevant and accessible to your entire team.

For guidance on writing H&S documents, check out this great resource from Worksafe NZ:

Writing for Health and Safety 

Train Your Staff

Staff training is an essential factor in taking care of your employees’ health and safety at work. This is stated in the H&S in Employment Act, which states that you must ensure your workers have the appropriate knowledge and experience to do their job.

Training your staff in health and safety isn’t just about ticking the boxes, though. Equipping your team with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs safely and effectively reduces workplace accidents and injuries, enhances productivity, boosts morale, and saves your business money in the long run.

If your H&S training has fallen through the cracks, this is the perfect time to get to it!

Be Mindful Of Mental Health

Health and safety at work isn’t just about eliminating or minimising the risk of physical harm. Employers must also take steps to support and manage their employees’ mental health.

Many people are experiencing increased anxiety over returning to on-site work, so it’s crucial that organisations prioritise psychological safety alongside physical safety in the workplace.

As you welcome your employees back to on-site work, find ways to help build resilience, create wellbeing, add flexibility into their routines, and provide resources to those who need extra support.

Our blog Let’s Talk Mental Wellness at Work has lots of spicey info and valuable resources if you’d like to know more about supporting mental wellness in the workplace.

 

Feeling a tad overwhelmed about health and safety in covid times?

Never fear; the Spice HR team is here. We can help you get your head around workplace H&S and find your new normal. Get in touch today to find out more.

How To Build Resilience In The Workplace

The last few years have been pretty brutal for everyone. Many people and businesses have experienced a lot of loss due to the pandemic, and the long-term stress continues to take a toll.

But have you noticed that some people seem to be able to bounce back more easily than others?

While some individuals may be struggling to cope, others are able to learn from what’s happened, grow from it, and persevere.

What does it take to do this? How do they manage so well? What do they have in their personal and professional lives that enables them to get right back up and carry on?

The answer is resilience. This quality helps people adapt when faced with adversity, conflict, and trauma.

Resilient employees are an enormous asset to any organisation, so building resilience in the workplace should be a top priority for leaders.

But what is resilience in the workplace and why is it really important? And how can leaders encourage resilience among their workers? Let’s answer those questions now.

How To Build Resilience In The Workplace

What Is Resilience

Resilience is an individual’s ability to respond to the stresses and demands of life. The dictionary definition talks about concepts such as flexibility, durability, strength, and speed of recovery.

Basically, resilience is the capacity to respond to adversity and challenge throughout all aspects of life.

So, where does resilience come from? Is it in our DNA, or can it be nurtured and grown?

Interestingly, it’s likely to be a little bit of both.

Although some people seem to inherently be more resilient, it is possible to cultivate and nurture this quality to help people not only cope, but even thrive through challenging times.

Resilience is cultivated through healthy habits and a positive mindset. There are many small yet effective ways to build your own – and help boost those around you.

The Benefits Of A Resilient Workforce

Resilience is the foundation for many desirable workplace qualities. It improves general wellbeing, helps people be more flexible and adaptable to fast-paced environments or changing circumstances, and aids in effective communication.

Research has shown that resilience can help businesses stay competitive and profitable even during times of uncertainty.

Resilient workers contribute enormously to a positive workplace culture. They are more likely to be engaged, productive and innovative, even in high-pressure situations, and less likely to succumb to burnout.

Building Resilience In The Workplace – Where To Start

Leaders have a unique struggle on their hands. They need to somehow find a balance between striving for financial performance while addressing the mental wellbeing of their team.

One of the best ways to do this is by encouraging resilience in your workers. Here are some of the most effective methods for building resilience in the workplace.

Become a resilient leader

Your own resiliency impacts the way you lead, which trickles down to affect those who work with you. Use these tips to develop personal resilience:

  • Take steps to manage your own mental and physical wellbeing
  • Work on reframing threats as challenges
  • Pay attention to your thoughts and behaviours and work on cultivating a growth mindset
  • Create (and lean on) a social support network
  • Build mindfulness and self-awareness

Support the wellbeing of your workers

Emotional wellbeing is the foundation of resilience. We all cope better when we are well-rested, healthy, and have a manageable work-life balance. Consider implementing measures that support workplace wellbeing, such as flexible work arrangements.

Foster positive work relationships

Social interaction and support are essential in building resilience. Ensure you provide your employees with the chance to bond and socialise, even if you have remote workers. This can be through organised activities within the workplace, events held outside of working hours, or simply encouraging your team to connect with each other on a social level.

Don’t neglect performance and development

Self-reflection helps cultivate resilience. Don’t let challenging times derail your performance reviews. Your people still need feedback on how they are doing and the opportunity to reflect on their challenges and successes. Make sure you provide this in a formal review setting, but also on a regular, more casual basis.

Focus on the future

As part of your performance reviews, you should be helping your employees effectively set realistic, achievable, relevant goals. The right goals can motivate people and help them focus their energy on what’s ahead of them, instead of dwelling on what’s behind them. It also helps them to look beyond the current adversity to a time that may be calmer.

Provide resources

Even the most resilient people can struggle with tough times. Our resilience changes from day to day, and sometimes we may need support to manage. Ensure your workers have access to resources to help them cope, such as employee assistance programs, stress management coaching programs, or similar initiatives.

When you are the one who is expected to lead, sometimes it can be difficult to always demonstrate resilience. So, it can be helpful to call in the experts to assist.

If you want to build resilience in your workplace (and yourself), then reach out to us here at Spice HR. We help businesses tackle the tough times so they can be ready to capitalise on the good.

What is the Gig Economy?

Today’s workforce is a different beast than it was even one generation ago. The rapid advancement of technology and the power of the internet has transformed the way many people approach their careers.

It is interesting to think that digital nomads and remote workers will soon outnumber traditional office workers. This will create the “gig economy”.

What is the Gig Economy?

Well, it is a marketplace where people choose the freedom of short-term contracts or freelance work over permanent jobs.

With an estimated 35 percent of the US workforce and up to 70 percent of Australians working remotely at least some of the time, most businesses will be faced with a mixture of in-office staff and gig workers.

So what does it all mean?

For a start, it will provide some new challenges for managers as they adjust to a rapidly changing and flexible workplace and juggle the different requirements of each type of worker.

But it’s not all bad! As they say, variety is the spice of life! Learning how to manage your entire team — remote or otherwise — will enhance your communication and management skills.

Let’s dive in and look at some tips on how to integrate the freelance or remote members of your team.

Be Available

In a physical workspace, it is easy for workers to pop in and see you, stop you in the hall to ask a question, or catch up with you over lunch. But if you aren’t in the office, you don’t have those opportunities. Instead, you will need to make a conscious effort to ensure your remote workers have a similar level of access. Do this by responding to messages promptly and make yourself available as much as you reasonably can.

Stay in Touch

Don’t get sucked into the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Your remote employees still need to feel included and important in order to be engaged and invested in their tasks and your business. Set up short daily check-ins and longer catch ups at a time that suits you both. If your worker’s feel like they are less important or forgotten about, you will find it hard to get the level of buy-in you are after from them.

Upgrade Your Tech Tools

There is no excuse to have poor communication, even if your team are spread all over the globe. With excellent collaboration tools to keep everyone up to date and engaged with projects, nobody needs to be excluded. Try applications like Slack, Trello, or Google Hangouts to enhance the efficiency and organisation of your team.

Forge a Connection

Positive work relationships contribute hugely to employee engagement. Think how much more you enjoy going to work if you have some good workmates to interact with during the day. Remote workers often miss out on this kind of camaraderie. Put some effort into building personal connections with your freelancers. Instead of being all business during your catch-ups, take the time for some meaningful small talk.

Get Some Face Time

A vast amount of communication between people is non-verbal. We pick up cues on mood and hidden nuances through facial expressions and body language. Sometimes, emails or online messages can be misinterpreted. But it is not always possible to get face to face with people. Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue again! Schedule video chats with your remote workers regularly to overcome these hurdles.

Using the Gig Economy To Your Advantage

The emerging gig economy is great for business. It means you can hire the skills and expertise you need in the here and now. By using digital nomads or freelancers to cover high season or specific projects, you won’t need to employ unnecessarily.

Making your workplace an attractive place for remote workers means you can attract the best of the best from around the globe. You may need to adjust and upgrade a few practices, but the effort you put in will be reflected by the commitment and engagement brought to your business by your entire team.

If you are intrigued to know how you can utilise the gig culture in your business, we’d love to help. Book a time to chat with us face to face, by phone, or by video call today!

Our Spicey Perspective on the Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act

We’ve recently heard some negativity around the new Family Violence legislation.  There seem to be concerns that this legislation is unnecessary, will end up being costly to employers, and is open to abuse, much like sick leave can be seen by some as an extra 5 days of leave, a given right.  Here’s our thoughts on this which will hopefully provide a little perspective.

The Statistics

Family Violence is a very real problem in New Zealand.  We have the highest rate in the developed world, our police attend around 200 family violence incidents a day, and despite this they estimate that only 18% of family violence is actually reported.  About half of the homicides and violent crime in NZ are due to family violence.

The Reality

However, people who are impacted by family violence mostly don’t talk about it.  It is extremely difficult for them to ask for help.  They often feel shame, and believe they are at fault.  If they have reached the point where they are asking for help, you can be sure they are pretty much at the end of their tether.

In terms of the risk of false claims, we believe this is extremely unlikely, mainly because of the stigma associated with family violence.  Whilst it’s true that some people fake illness in order to take sick leave, we believe the likelihood of people faking being a victim of family violence is minimal. For most people, this is as hard to imagine doing as lying about having cancer.  And remember, employers still have the right to ask for proof if they have genuine doubts.

We believe that in reality the impact on businesses will be minimal.  Certainly the businesses that already offer this support (e.g. The Warehouse Group and ANZ) report that employees do not lie about being victims of family violence.

More importantly though, what’s the impact if we don’t offer this support?  If you have provided a safe enough environment that someone being abused feels they can ask for help, your actions may end up saving their life.  If you don’t, one of your staff members could become another statistic.  It’s real.  These are your people.  Keep them safe.

If you’re keen to make this legislation change into a positive for your workplace, then feel free to get in touch with us here at Spice HR.  We can help you to establish a policy and processes that work for you.  Drop us a line today.

What Is Your HR Data Telling You About Your Business?

Data. Many people think of it as numbers that someone rapidly types into a spreadsheet and then uses a complicated formula to calculate something.

But data comes in many forms. Including HR data. That is data that you can use practically in your business to tweak processes, increase staff morale and look after your people better.

We tend to think that if the Spice Girl’s management team had spent more time analysing their HR data, the band would not only still be together today, they would have a level of success to rival the Beatles…

Okay, maybe not. BUT they may have been able to stretch the gig out a little longer, keep their most talented members – ahem, yes, there were a couple! – from jumping ship early and had a much more positive team culture.

How are the Spice Girls relevant to your business? Well, HR is so much more than just crunching numbers, dealing with disputes and endless piles of paperwork. In fact, HR analysis is a rapidly growing field of expertise that modern, successful businesses are using to their advantage.

Let’s look into how you can use this data in your business.

What Is HR Data And How Can You Use It?

There is plenty of useful information in your HR functions if you know where to look for it. Using the data you collect from performance reviews, exit interviews, training information, staff satisfaction surveys, staff retention and even sick days, you can make smart decisions that add immense value to your business.

HR data collection is not a new thing, but utilising it effectively – if at all – is a relatively recent advancement. It is all well and good conducting exit interviews and monitoring sick days, but what is the point if you don’t use that information? It’s like buying a rack full of spices to improve your cooking and leaving them sitting in the back of the cupboard.

The key to using this information to drive success is knowing what to look for. Is there a specific issue or question you want an answer to? Do you want to know how to reduce absenteeism, evaluate staff training, or predict which new hires are going to stay the distance? HR professionals can nail down the questions, use the freshly gained or existing data to do all of these things and more.

Here are just three things your HR data will tell you if you know how to ask:

How To Retain Your Top Talent

Does your data suggest that once your employees become proficient at their jobs and reach a certain level, they will leave? Then it is time to dig a little deeper to find out WHY this happens. Then you come up with solutions to keep your top achievers on board, such as more opportunities and training, or a better work environment.

You will only find out the reason for their departure by asking them. We suggest conducting an exit interview with each team member that leaves the company. Not all will be leaving because of the happenings at your business, some will leave for personal reasons. But, you can find out a lot about the culture, processes, work environment and available resources by asking people their opinions.

 

How To Keep Your Employees Happy

Everyone knows that a happy employee is a productive, loyal employee. Do you really know if your top performers are satisfied with their work?

If not, find out. You can look at absentee rates between departments or individuals, assess who your most efficient team members are, then use those insights to make improvements. The bonus of a happy workforce is staff retention, which saves big money on recruitment and increases efficiency.

You can also ask your team to answer some survey questions. To find their true feelings, you can make it anonymous. You just need to ensure that you are asking the right questions to get the targeted data that you need.

 

Assess Performance

Did Posh Spice work harder than Baby Spice? Did Sporty bring in more money than Ginger?

They are important questions to ponder within your own team. If you know which employees work faster and produce a higher quality of work, you can aim to replicate that productivity across the board. A key thing to understand is, what is making them so much more efficient than the rest of the team?

Once you understand that, you can act accordingly. It might mean offering further training for underperformers, boosting staff morale, offering flexible working conditions, team building, or any number of other things.

 

If you would love to access the hidden gems in your HR data but you aren’t sure where to start, then give us a call here at Spice HR. We can help you sift through the information and boost business at your place. Get in touch today.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen …

 

Stop.  Collaborate and Listen … Spice is back with a brand new invention.

Got an HR problem yo, we’ll solve it. Check out our skills while the Spice Gals resolve it!

Spice, Spice baby!

Listening is Everything

Listening in Orange

 

The art of listening is a learned skillset that can have a tremendous impact on your work environment.  It will ensure you actually hear when your staff tell you what they want, what they really, really want!

Call the Spice Gals today to spice up your listening life – if you really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig-ah!

When induction goes bad!

If you have no strategies in place for new staff – pre-start and day one checklists, induction plans, training plans, mentor/buddy programmes and the like – it’s time you called Spice HR.  We eliminate the need for a crying spot in your workplace!

Simpsons take two