Ahh, we all remember the bully from grade school who performed his usual schoolyard shake down on anyone who was intimidated enough to make with the lunch money or go home with a shiner on the eye. However, many of our childhood stories of bullies end up in some kid finally having the courage to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!Times havent changed all that much when it comes to the workplace. Increasingly, employees are educating themselves, (or in some cases, educated by others) on the vulnerability of an employer when it comes to claims made through the department of labor.Weve all heard of the thousands of law suits that yield tenacious employees millions of dollars. Disgruntled employees looking for the quick buck may just set their sights on an unsuspecting but well-intentioned employer. So how do we stand up to this bully?Many are saying it will cost the employer less to just pay the employee off and get rid of them to avoid the cost of a lengthy legal battle. To those, the time has come to say, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!When investigating a claim from the employers end, the first question, and often the most difficult to answer, is was the scenario intentional. In other words, does the employee have a valid claim? In some cases, the employee may have been mistreated and not given ample opportunity to resolve the matter. However, in other cases the claim is without basis and many times out right fraudulent. The line must be drawn here. By creating an industrial culture that fosters extortion, we simply perpetuate the situation and welcome more claims and more costly legal battles.When confronted with a clearly fraudulent claim, FIGHT IT. Examine your documentation, have your HR Representative assist you in constructing an explanation of the facts. This is what the Department of Labor is most interested in. And as we all know, he with the most documentation WINS. You may find yourself threatened by representatives from the claimants party with promises of lawsuits or other legal action, but fear not. Bowing out gracefully only encourages this type of behavior. As an employer, particularly one with a sizable bank account, you are a sizable and worthwhile target. Minimizing your liability requires strong documentation policies and ethical labor practices.If presented with a claim, consult your HR Representative or a company that does HR consulting immediately and invest the time in presenting a concise, detailed and factual response to the DOL. Fight it, all the way to the top if you have to but FIGHT IT. Particularly if your companys integrity is at stake. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Human Resource Management theories focus on methods of recruitment and selection and highlight the advantages of interviews, general assessment and psychometric testing as employee selection processes. The recruitment process could be internal or external or could also be online and involves the stages of recruitment policies, advertising, job description, job application process, interviews, assessment, decision making, legislation selection and training (Korsten 2003, Jones et al, 2006). Examples of recruitment policies within healthcare sector and business or industrial sectors could provide insights on how recruitment policies are set and managerial objectives are defined. Successful recruitment methods include a thorough analysis of the job and the labor market conditions and interviews as well as psychometric tests to determine the potentialities of applicants. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) also focus on interviews and assessment with emphasis on job analysis, emotional intelligence in new or inexperienced applicants and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Other techniques of selection that have been described include various types of interviews, in tray exercise, role play, group activity, etc.Recruitment is almost central to any management process and failure in recruitment can create difficulties for any company including an adverse effect on its profitability and inappropriate levels of staffing or skills. Inadequate recruitment can lead to labor shortages, or problems in management decision making and the recruitment process could itself be improved by following management theories. The recruitment process could be improved in sophistication with Rodgers seven point plan, Munro-Frasers five-fold grading system, psychological tests, personal interviews, etc. Recommendations for specific and differentiated selection systems for different professions and specializations have been given. A new national selection system for psychiatrists, anesthetists and dental surgeons has been proposed within the UK health sector. Recruitment is however not just a simple selection process and requires management decision making and extensive planning to employ the most suitable manpower. Competition among business organisations for recruiting the best potential has increased focus on innovation, and management decision making and the selectors aim to recruit only the best candidates who would suit the corporate culture, ethics and climate specific to the organisation (Terpstra, 1994). This would mean that the management would specifically look for potential candidates capable of team work as being a team player would be crucial in any junior management position. Human Management resource approaches within any business organisation are focused on meeting corporate objectives and realization of strategic plans through training of personnel to ultimately improve company performance and profits (Korsten, 2003). The process of recruitment does not however end with application and selection of the right people but involves maintaining and retaining the employees chosen. Despite a well drawn plan on recruitment and selection and involvement of qualified management team, recruitment processes followed by companies can face significant obstacles in implementation. Theories of HRM may provide insights on the best approaches to recruitment although companies will have to use their in house management skills to apply generic theories within specific organizational contexts. BibliographyJones, David A.; Shultz, Jonas W.; Chapman, Derek S. (2006) Recruiting Through Job Advertisements: The Effects of Cognitive Elaboration on Decision Making International Journal of Selection and Assessment, Volume 14, Number 2, pp. 167-179(13)Korsten A.D. (2003) Developing a training plan to ensure employees keep up with the dynamics of facility management Journal of Facilities Management, Volume 1, Number 4, pp. 365-379(15)Papers For You (2006) P/HR/254. HRM: methods of recruitment and selection", Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprthrm18.htm [22/06/2006]Papers For You (2006) "E/HR/21. Using relevant frameworks and theories critically evaluate the recruitment and selection appraisal processes used by an organisation with which you are familiar contribute. How does it contribute to the performance of the organisation?", Available from Papers4you.com [21/06/2006]Shipton, Helen; Fay, Doris; West, Michael; Patterson, Malcolm; Birdi, Kamal (2005) Managing People to Promote Innovation Creativity and Innovation Management, Volume 14, Number 2, pp. 118-128(11)Terpstra D.E. (1994) HRM: A Key to Competitiveness Management Decision, Volume 32, Number 9, pp. 10-14(5)
Standardize your processes! You can save time, money and prevent errors. Things you do over and over should be done the same way every time, if indeed you do the task the best way. They say variety is the spice of life, but for healthcare processes it certainly isnt most of the time. Consider this, if you would. Would you buy your favorite brand of soda if sometimes your 12 ounce can were 3/4 of the way full and sometimes almost overflowing. Certainly not. You expect there to consistently be nearly 12 ounces every time. How would a patient behave if the results of a healthcare visit varied wildly? The patient would probably find a new provider. The best healthcare providers deliver a consistently good service; it helps attract new patients and keeps the old ones coming back. Standardization helps save time. As things become routine, a process is easier to do and is done more quickly. For instance, if a primary care physician makes sure that the necessary items for a patient visit are always in the examining room, the doctor wont have to waste time going to look for supplies and waste time for the patient or the doctor. I recommend that primary care physicians along with staff sit down and list the things that should always be in examination rooms and make sure someone is responsible for these items every morning before patients arrive. If this is done, the doctor can save time, thereby enabling him or her to spend more quality time with the patient or see more patients. Standardization saves money. Most doctors face rising malpractice costs, but for one group this has not been trueanesthesiologists. According to an article in the June 21, 2005 edition of the Wall Street Journal, this group over two decades ago began implementing procedures that ensured the safety of their patients. Certain processes have been standardized across the profession so instead of one death per 5000 cases, there is now only one per 200000 to 300000 cases. Because of this, their malpractice insurance premiums plummeted. Standardization prevents errors, as in the above illustration. Another example is drawn form a local hospital. Recently the Chief Financial Officer of the institution and I were discussing the new facility they were building. Instead of building adjacent rooms so that the bathrooms would be back to back to save plumbing costs, each room was designed so that each room will be exactly the same with bathrooms all on the same side. Why? This will prevent errors and in the long run save money for the hospital. It is best if you can measure standardization. The best tool to measure standardization in statistics is variance or standard deviation. I am sure many of you have encountered this measure, but probably cannot calculate it. The best way to calculate it is either in a spreadsheet or on a calculator. For example, the standard deviation for the numbers 8, 12, 1, 4 and 5 is 4.18. For the group 5, 5, 5, 5, and 5 the standard deviation is 0, since there is no variety. So, when you are trying to standardize a process, see if you cannot find some significant measure that reflects the process and try to reduce the standard deviation as much as possible. In fact, this is the heart of Six Sigmareduce the standard deviation as much as possible. The best manufacturers and service providers often use this tool. Once you have standardized a process and have achieved a satisfactory standard deviation, then write down the process in a manual that is a collection of all best practices. This way, anyone who needs to reference how a process should be conducted can refer to the manual. Too, it is an excellent training source for new employees. As you can see in these brief illustrations, standardization or the lack of variance provides safety for patients, a savings of time for the provider and patient, and contributes to an improved bottom line.
Isn't it funny how many chef uniforms in high-class restaurants are white? Even a regular person who wears white shirts or pants has a hard time keeping them spot and stain-free on a normal day. Think about how difficult is it for cooks and bakers, who are constantly leaning over soup bowls and sauting vegetables, to keep their chef uniforms clean and tidy.Whatever the reason for the color choice, the crisp white chef uniform sets apart the food preparers from other restaurant employees and represents a well-respected staff member who has earned a reputable position as a chef.While the makeup of a chef uniform may project an image of a simple white smock or coat, there are many more color and fabric choices and accessories that could make up their business uniform.Chef frocks and jackets come in a variety of shades and styles. While most are the traditional white tops with minimal to no color design, others available include red, green and even denim chef uniform shirts. Most are secured by buttons either on one side of the front of the attire or contain two sets, usually sporting black or white colored buttons.A more relaxed, less high-scale establishment could also possibly distribute collared, polyester or cotton shirts to their employees for chef uniforms. To add spiffiness to a chef uniform, accessorize the garments with neckerchiefs. They are an inexpensive item that spruces up the look of a basic chef uniform, adding color and a bit of flash to otherwise basic gear.Some kitchens require their cooks to wear simple black or white pants; others opt for a more unique and colorful chef uniform pant, purchasing cotton speckled or graphic-designed comfortable baggy or straight-legged bottoms. Allowing chefs to sport these comfy pants may give a more creative feel among kitchen staff and are certainly more flexible when sprinting from the salad station to the dessert tray. Spills may also be less noticeable in case a chef is asked to make an appearance in the dining area. Adding a full-length or wrap-around waist apron could also act as a guard for unwanted splatter disasters.Big billowy hats are perhaps the most noticeable and captivating article of a chef uniform. Not only are they fun to look at by restaurant patrons, they serve the purpose of keeping loose hairs secure so that strands don't accidentally fall into the food. Caps are sometimes used as an alternative to chef hats and basically serve the same purpose.Nothing is worse than a scalded hand when a chef is cooking up a masterpiece. For that reason, oven mitts should be a chef uniform requirement for those handling metal pans or reaching into baking ovens. There is one more item that should be kept on hand to keep those chef uniforms looking spectacular. Management should keep a bottle of stain remover accessible to remove surface spatters from chef uniforms as to lighten the washing machine's burden. Suggesting employees purchase a bottle for use at home wouldn't be a bad idea either.
Studies have revealed that sickness absence, from short-term and longer-term sickness, is one of the major reasons for employee absences. Stress is also emerging as a major factor with its impact higher compared to earlier periods.Any absence management program would hence require special focus on sickness absence. Different Kinds of Sickness Reported for Sickness AbsenceMinor illness such as colds, flu, stomach upset and headaches are the most frequently reported kinds of sickness, among both manual and non-manual employees. Employees might just call in sick reporting such problems.Manual workers engaged in physically demanding work tend to suffer more from physical ailments like back pain and musculo-skeletal injuries. For non-manual employees stress is a major problem, with one study reporting it as the second most frequent type of sickness, after minor illnesses.Recurring medical conditions is another major contributor to sickness absence.Stress-Related Sickness AbsencesExcessive and sustained pressure of work can lead to stress when it goes beyond acceptable levels of pressure. In such cases, employers can be held liable for compensation payments for stress-related injuries.Even psychiatric disorders can result where employees have to work in a confusing, non-rewarding and non-empowered manner, without support and understanding from their managers.Stress adversely affects health, happiness and performance at work. Even without compensation payments, stress can cost the employer in the form of lower level of employee performance.Stress is not a single illness, but a range of health problems arising from varied kinds of work pressures.Under law, employers are obliged to assess stress risks in workplace and manage things in a way to reduce incidence of stress.Impact of Stress Assessment on Sickness AbsenceEven without the compulsion of law, enlightened employers would recognize the impact of stress risk assessment and remedial workplace measures. Stress is estimated to cause the highest level of sickness absence in this century.Interacting with employees through questions, attitude surveys and job satisfaction surveys are the typical ways for stress-risks assessment. The assessment seeks to assess whether:
- Employees find jobs too demanding
- Employees are able to control how the work is done
- They receive adequate support from colleagues and managers
- They are clearly aware of their roles and responsibilities
- They have to suffer unacceptable kinds of behavior from others
- Organizational changes are affecting them unduly