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Workplace to support domestic violence survivors with additional leave

Workplace to support domestic violence survivors with additional leave

In a landmark decision 3 weeks ago, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission decided to provide five days’ unpaid leave per annum to all employees (including casuals) experiencing family and domestic violence  which is defined as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by people who are, or have been in an intimate relationship.

Whilst the final model will be released 1 May, it does signify a significant change in Australian employment awards.  In their ruling, the Full Bench introduced this change by saying:

  • Almost 2.2 million Australian women have experienced family or domestic violence, or 1in 4
  • Domestic and intimate partner homicides represent the highest proportion of any category of homicides in Australia.
  • At least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner.
  • Family and domestic violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health among Australian women aged between 15 and 44.
    See sources for statistics here.

Fair Work also acknowledged such violence not only affects those who suffer it, but the children who are exposed to it, extended families, friends and work colleagues.  The commission also acknowledged that while men can, and do, experience family and domestic violence, such violence is a phenomenon that disproportionately affects women. This leave will be open to all.

Whilst the final model will be released on 1 May, in addition to updating company policies and informing all your Managers, we see this as an opportunity to further highlight this issue through education.   It is important to remove any stigma regarding domestic violence, the causes and impact, and importantly inform staff as to the support available through this significant change.

We encourage Work Health and Safety and Learning and Development departments to align this change to an education campaign to continue to raise the profile of this serious issue and help reduce those alarming statistics.

For more information on the ruling, click here.

SOURCE

Summary: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/awardsmodernfouryr/2018fwcfb1691-summary.pdf

Full Decision: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2018fwcfb1691.htm#P668_52257

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The 8 Skills Successful Leaders Need In 2018

Melissa Williams, CEO Learning Dimensions Network After a conversation with Leadership Dimensions Managing Partner Janet McCulloch, we have been reflecting on the topic of leadership. Let’s face it, being a leader today is a challenge. As we enter 2018 our world is more competitive, complex, globally connected (with speed and immediacy) and customers are more informed, and therefore demanding. Goal posts shift regularly and we work across-cultures, sometime with ambiguity and lack certainty. In the past, change was not as constant, and whilst the pressure to perform has always been there, but the speed at which this performance is now expected is unprecedented. This made me reflect on what’s changed in leadership and what the modern leader needs – distilled down to the top 8 skills that you’ll need to be a successful leader in 2018.

1. Change is the new normal

Change is now constant, and leaders are now expected to also be change managers. Gone are the days where a centralised HR team would manage all the ‘people stuff’. Now leaders are required to take on functions such as performance management, wellbeing, conflict management and mediation, training, and in many cases, recruitment of staff. Often leaders are promoted due to their ‘technical brilliance’, not their HR skills, yet this is now a core competency of today’s leader. In Australia, The Fair Work Act was designed to simplify and make transparent how we operate at work which helped with the decentralisation of HR departments. In turn, this created an environment where leaders at all levels are often made accountable for the intricacies in the Act and how this can or can’t be interpreted on a day to day level. This is a big ask if you are new to HR!

2. Smarter not harder

The old, ‘work smarter not harder’ has been replaced with ‘work leaner and more efficiently’. Enabled by better technology, leaders are now working with fewer resources coupled with higher expectations. We often hear leaders struggle with knowing how to do this. The reality is, it is a hard ask to adapt to this mindset, yet it is possible.

3. The ability to get lean

Organisational structures are flattening and doing away with more middle management. Therefore, a leader needs to know exactly where their authorities start and finish in terms of budget and finances, yet the expectations of their broader roles may be more ambiguous. Many organisations have moved to a matrix style operation where cross-functional project teams are formed. Effective leaders then need to focus less on authority and more about building cross-functional teams, sharing and collaboration.

4. The need for connection

With a significant increase in social media and overall virtual connectivity, the workplace has become a primary IRL (in real life) community for some people. A leader’s ability to create teams and increase participation and inclusion in diverse teams is directly attributable to people’s satisfaction at work, with a direct impact on people’s productivity and the organisational bottom line. Being able to foster, manage and grow cohesive connected communities, both online and in real life, is a vital skill for the modern leader.

5. Watch your words

With increased visibility on the impact of workplace bullying, leaders have tended to become far more aware and cautious about the nature of performance related conversations. In some cases, this awareness has led to a reluctance to have challenging conversations related to feedback and performance improvement. However leaders are expected to understand and implement the difference between managing performance and feedback vs discrimination, bullying and harassment and ensure they manage this balance effectively.

6. Safety starts from the top

Similar to HR,we find work, health and safety (WHS) is decentralising and is now a significant expectation of all leaders. Even if “Safety” isn’t part of your title, as a leader you’re responsible. In fact Queensland has just legislated to bring in Industrial Manslaughter laws ensuring negligent employers personally culpable in workplace deaths. Our sister brand, Safety Dimensions, who specialise in safety leadership, offers programs that focus on safety as being part of everyone’s role, not just those at the top. However just like the HR component of a modern leaders role, effective WHS requires an understanding and an ability to integrate this knowledge into day to day behaviours of your people and the organisations processes.

7. Human beings vs human resources

Emotional intelligence, mindfulness and compassion – these are words and skills that have made their way into part of the definition of leadership skills. A leader is expected to be self-aware and be able to effectively see and manage reactions in others and balance their EQ versus IQ to reach the optimal management mix.

8. Managing stress

With the changes outlined above, and the societal and family pressures our world places on us, there it’s no wonder that we have seen a significant increase in stress related illnesses in the workplace. A leader in today’s work environment is expected to notice symptoms of stress in ourselves and others, and know what steps to take. A leaders role is not to be a counselor, however they are expected to notice changes in behaviour in others (and themselves) and provide support in order to reduce the negative stress.Often the symptomology is not always ‘loud’ in terms of a persons behaviour. This means in the busyness of our day, taking the time to identify these symptoms and know what to do about it. Companies should have an expectation that staff will conduct themselves with professional maturity and emotional intelligence – even if someone doesn’t have the official directive of “Manager” or “Leader” in their title. We’ve noticed the trend in organisations to upskill ‘everyone’ to be leaders from the bottom up and this approach does make sense. However, from one leader to another, let’s face it, these expectations are exhausting. The demand to be a ‘people/change/organisational expert as well as being good at your ‘day job’ is relentless. However the simple reality is these 8 key challenges will only accelerate as the world gets smaller, technology increases and expectations for instant results intensifies. There is some good news. Whilst there is no miracle pill to developing a leader, there is an understanding that learning and development has adapted and changed to support the demands of being a modern leader. The rise in vocational training in Management and Leadership for those in professional jobs as well as trades is a testament to this change and I believe will continue to increase as the demands continue.


For more information on the content of this article or our Nationally recognised leadership and management qualifications, please contact info@safetydimensions.com.au

WorkLife: Why is work making us sick? (Audio)

WorkLife: Why is work making us sick? (Audio)

Worker compensation claims have been decreasing over time but this masks all kinds of problems with our wellbeing at work.

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LISTEN NOW > to the ABC RadioNational podcast of ‘WorkLife: Why is work making us sick?”

Dropping like flies: the rise of workplace burnout and how to tackle it

Dropping like flies: the rise of workplace burnout and how to tackle it

Sarah Tottle, Lancaster University

Burnout is on the rise. It is a growing problem for the modern workplace, having an impact on organisational costs, as well as employee health and well-being. These include possible long-term health risks and, due to its contagious nature, a toxic working environment of low morale, scapegoating, and increased office politics.

The annual cost of burnout to the global economy has been estimated to be £255 billion. Such costs have led to the World Health Organisation predicting a global pandemic within a decade.

Organisations have focused on burnout to protect their profits, placing blame for lowered performance on individual employees, rather than making adequate adjustments to safeguard against stress. This emphasis on the employee has led to psychometrically profiling those that may be at risk of burnout due to their psychological make-up, rather than organisations taking responsibility and making systematic changes to reduce stress caused by structural level problems.

This blame game is often unhelpful. Not just for the employees in question, but also because it risks a skills shortage in certain professions such as health and social care. Plus, it further contributes to the burnout cycle: with limited staff and resources, demands are placed on fewer employees.

Causes

Research into burnout has been linked to office politics, menial working tasks that interfere with work duties and high job demands that lead to exhaustion. Rising workloads and long hours are the main culprits; however, some employees are better able to cope or are more adaptable than others.

Perception of stress is also a contributing factor. If you perceive you do not have the right resources to cope with your workload, or perceive it to be more than you can cope with, you are much more likely to succumb to stress-related disorders.

Individual differences and personality types also play a role in the risk of burnout. Type A personalities, for example – who have a mix of behavioural traits that include hardiness, impatience, competitiveness and drive – and people who like to have large amounts of control, are also linked to higher rates of stress at work. Research shows that employees with these personalities tend to be more restless, hostile and time-conscious, which puts them at greater risk of workplace stress.

It is important, however, not to make banal assumptions when it comes to understanding how different people experience stress. This runs the risk of organisations screening out applicants for jobs on the basis of personality or attributing blame to employees, rather than taking responsibility as an organisation to make adequate changes to safeguard their employees from stress.

Many global organisations have intervention plans that place the onus on the employee to manage their health and well-being through training programmes such as building resilience and coping skills. But this often has the semblance of blaming employees, while abdicating responsibility and not making any real changes to policies. The reality is that organisations are stressful, often purporting an employee wellness agenda that isn’t really implemented in practice.

Different dimensions

There are three main dimensions of burnout according to the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the most commonly used burnout scale: exhaustion, cynicism and a sense of personal accomplishment, with exhaustion being the most obviously displayed. Signs of burnout can vary between employees and manifest in multiple industries, from healthcare and education settings to legal and corporate finance firms.

Burnout causes a range of psychological and physical problems and can affect people long after they no longer face the stressful situation. These include fatigue, irritability, depression, withdrawal, mental and physical health problems, and self-medication with alcohol and drug use. Consequently, it is something that employees and organisations must manage carefully.

Employees come in all shapes and sizes. As a result, it is imperative that managers and organisations do not prescribe a one-size fits all model to managing employee well-being. Instead, they should work on an individual basis with each employee, finding flexible interventions and providing an adaptable and agile working environment along the way.

Employees come in different shapes and sizes.

Many workplaces are built around teamwork, collaboration and endless meetings to harness creativity. This model does not bode well, however, for people whose creative juices and energy levels are depleted through constant collaboration. In fact, many individuals, especially those that are more introverted, feel exhausted and find it difficult to get their work done in this kind of environment.

As such, organisations can provide a space for these personalities to work alone, where their productivity increases and creative juices can flow. Similarly, organisations can work with employees, providing agile working conditions to help create a sustainable working culture and work-life balance, thus reducing the likelihood of burnout.

Of course, individuals have a role to play too. It is important that people manage their own personal expectations, harnessing their skills and reflecting on their own personal values. This is particularly the case if you’re working in a role that does not readily align with your own values or predisposition. It’s important to reflect on what matters to you, as living an inauthentic life can lead to burnout when your personal values are conflicted.

The Conversation

Sarah Tottle, Business psychologist, Lancaster University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Lack of control over high-stress jobs can lead to early grave

Academic research has found that having greater control over your job can help you manage work-related stress. But it’s never suggested that it was a matter of life and death — until now.

New research from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in the US finds that those in high-stress jobs with little control over their workflow die younger or are less healthy than those who have more flexibility and discretion in their jobs and are able to set their own goals as part of their employment.

Using a longitudinal sample of 2,363 Wisconsin residents in their 60s over a seven-year period, they found that for individuals in low-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 15.4 percent increase in the likelihood of death, compared to low job demands. For those in high-control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 34 percent decrease in the likelihood of death compared to low job demands.

“We explored job demands, or the amount of work, time pressure and concentration demands of a job, and job control, or the amount of discretion one has over making decisions at work, as joint predictors of death,” said Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, assistant professor of organisational behavior and human resources at the Kelley School and the paper’s lead author.

“These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision-making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision-making.”

The paper, “Worked to Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality,” has been accepted for publication in the journal Personnel Psychology.

Studies exploring the work factors associated with death are largely absent from the organisational psychology and management literatures. The authors believe theirs is the first study in the management and applied psychology fields to examine the relationship between job characteristics and mortality.

Gonzalez-Mulé said the paper’s results do not suggest that employers necessarily need to cut back on what is expected from employees. Rather, they demonstrate the value in restructuring some jobs to provide employees with more say about how the work gets done.

“You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow them to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritize their decision-making and the like,” he said, also recommending that firms allow “employees to have a voice in the goal-setting process, so when you’re telling someone what they’re going to do … it’s more of a two-way conversation.”

Thus, micro-managing employees can have a public health impact. Among people in the study’s sample, the researchers also found that the same set of causal relationships applied to their body mass index. People in high-demand jobs with low control were heavier than those in high-demand jobs with high control.

“When you don’t have the necessary resources to deal with a demanding job, you do this other stuff,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “You might eat more, you might smoke, you might engage in some of these things to cope with it.”

Cancer research studies have found a correlation between eating poorly and developing the disease; at 55 percent, cancer was the leading cause of death of those in the paper’s sample. Other leading causes of death were circulatory system ailments, 22 percent; and respiratory system ailments, 8 percent.

The paper provides more reasons for those in stressful, dead-end jobs to refresh their resumes and look for other employment. Twenty-six percent of deaths occurred in people in frontline service jobs, and 32 percent of deaths occurred in people with manufacturing jobs who also reported high job demands and low control.

“What we found is that those people that are in entry-level service jobs and construction jobs have pretty high death rates, more so than people in professional jobs and office positions,” he said. “Interestingly, we found a really low rate of death among agricultural workers.”

Gonzalez-Mulé said the new study highlights the benefits of job crafting, a relatively new process that enables employees to mold and redesign their job to make it more meaningful. Other research suggests that workers who engage in job crafting are happier and are more productive than co-workers who don’t.

“In some settings, it will be difficult to do this. For a construction worker, it’s going to really hard to allow them autonomy; there’s usually just one right way to do things. In jobs like that, it’s more about just warning the employee of the risks that are here,” he said. “But with some blue-collar jobs, you can. Some people have experimented with this in factory settings, using things like flex-time and paying people based on piece-rate … showing employees what the outcome is of their work.

“There’s a lot research that shows that people who have a social connection with the beneficiaries of their work are much more satisfied and have less stress in their jobs, with no change in the job itself.”

Their study also found that people with a higher degree of control over their work tend to find stress to be useful.

“Stressful jobs cause you to find ways to problem-solve and work through ways to get the work done. Having higher control gives you the resources you need to do that,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “A stressful job then, instead of being something debilitating, can be something that’s energizing. You’re able to set your own goals, you’re able to prioritize work. You can go about deciding how you’re going to get it done. That stress then becomes something you enjoy.”

Data in the study was obtained from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which followed more than 10,000 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. They were interviewed at various time intervals over their lives, through 2011, to provide data on educational, occupational and emotional experiences. All participants in the study were employed but near the end of their careers.

Gonzalez-Mulé and Cockburn only included those who were not retired in 2004 and who responded to questions about job demands and job control, and then followed up on their responses to questions in 2011. They employed rigorous controls for factors such as demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status and affect.

Gonzalez-Mulé wonders if younger workers are better able to cope with demanding jobs, regardless of the level of control, than workers at the end of their careers. Future research could follow people at an earlier point in their careers to see if the Job Demands-Control Model accurately predicts strain over time.


Story Source: Science Daily


Journal Reference:

  1. Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, Bethany Cockburn. Worked To Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality. Personnel Psychology, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/peps.12206