Creating Healthy Organizations by Graham Lowe

Redesiging Work A Blueprint for Canada's Future Well-being and Prosperity
Now Available!

Creating Healthy Organizations by Graham Lowe

Creating Healthy Organizations Graham's new book describes how to strengthen the links between people and performance.

Creating Healthy Organizations The Wellness Dividend

How employers can improve employees health and productivity.

Author Graham Lowe's keynote talk on How Vibrant Workplaces Inspire Employees

Watch Graham Lowe's talk at the 2014 ComCare National Conference, Melbourne, Australia

News from April 2003

Now is a good time to refine employee recognition programs
(Apr. 29 '03)
A recruitment expert suggests that getting reward and recognition programs right is difficult in any economy, but especially challenging during downturns. Yet recognition is documented in research as very important for employee commitment. This article lays out the issues and suggests ways HR practitioners can improve recognition programs.
Study of information technology shows productivity pay-offs depend on use
(Apr. 28 '03)
A new study pubished in the March 2003 issue of Management Science examines Information Technology at a hospital chain, concluding that that IT's impact on organizational performance is more clearly illustrated by actual IT usage than by traditional measures alone like the amount invested in technology. It is interesting that operations researchers are identifying work practices and workplace behaviours as key influences on the productivity payoffs of IT.
Economic impact of SARS must factor in worker absenteeism
(Apr. 27 '03)
While not presenting any data, this article raises questions about the effect SARS may be having on employee absenteeism, especially in Toronto.
New survey confirms importance of communication for employee retention, satisfaction, commitment
(Apr. 26 '03)
Mercer Human Resource Consulting's 2002 People at Work survey documents a relationship between employees' assessments of communication and access to information in their organization, on one hand, and job satisfaction, commitment, and intentions to quit, on the other hand. This corroborates many other studies showing that 'soft' issues, like communication, matter more than pay and benefits.
Minneapolis-St Paul bank launches affordable housing program to attract employees
(Apr. 25 '03)
The Bremer Bank is working in partnership with the Greater Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St Paul) United Way and the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corp. (GMHC), to offer employees financial assistance to buy or rent housing. Loans are forgiveable if the employee stays with the company 5 years and the program is being made available to employees in other local area firms through the United Way. This is an innovative approach to attracting non-managerial and non-professional employees into an area with high housing costs.
US legislators revise overtime rules
(Apr. 24 '03)
Proposed legislation before the US Congress will permit time of for overtime worked, in lieu of pay. Is this an overdue catch-up with what is common practice, or will workers really have a choice in the time vs. money trade-off?
European Union expansion adds new challenges for women's employment
(Apr. 24 '03)
The European Employment Strategy has raised the centrality of women's employment, contributing to greater gender equality in the labour market. However, with EU expansion in 2004, new member counties such as Malta pose challenges in this regard.
European Union's 100 best workplaces just announced
(Apr. 23 '03)
The first-ever list of "100 best workplaces in the European Union" is a unique public-private partnership of the European Commission and Great Place to Work Europe, designed to improve job quality -- a major public policy goal. As well, three EU awards were given to firms for outstanding achievements in workplace gender equality, lifelong learning and cultural diversity.
Finders and Keepers: advice on how to recruit and retain staff in a tight job market
(Apr. 23 '03)
Finders and Keepers: Recruitment and Retention Strategies, just released byAlberta Human Resources and Employment, provides advice on how to find and retain good employees in Alberta's tight labour market. It is aimed at helping Alberta businesses develop positive work environments that facilitate productivity and learning.
Statistics Canada study shows the importance of employer support for employee volunteering
(Apr. 23 '03)
Employees are more likely to volunteer in their community if their employer supports this, and such support is more likely to be provided by small rather than large firms. The article "Volunteering on company time" is available in the April 2003 online edition of Perspectives on labour and income, Vol. 4, no. 4
Is there a relationship between the quality of supervision and the strength of the economy?
(Apr. 21 '03)
Bad Bosses Are Flourishing in the Economic Downturn By Marshall Loeb Knight Ridder News Service NEW YORK -- When labor markets are lousy, as they are now, bad bosses tend to flourish. People are desperate to get new jobs and let themselves be abused in their present ones. Brutal bosses are only too happy to oblige. Consequently, it is in times like these that bad bosses and complaints against them rise. By all accounts, more and more people now have to struggle and suffer under a bad boss. There is a new tolerance, even admiration, for these types in much of corporate America, given today's investor-driven emphasis on the bottom line -- profits at almost any price. If the boss can make his numbers and hit those oppressive quarterly targets, who cares if he leaves a little blood on the office floor? "They don't sell $18 billion worth of antidepressants in this country for nothing," says Kurt Landgraf, president of the Educational Testing Service. "The corporate culture is so accepting of these kinds of aggressive actions that they're not going to go away." Research shows 17 percent of workers report being mistreated by their bosses. Gary Namie, a psychology professor and author of The Bully at Work, says the victims are not only the employees but also the organizations they work for. Another study by Joel Neuman, director of the Center for Applied Management at the State University of New York at New Paltz, concludes that bullying bosses produce hundred of millions of dollars in losses a year as a result of their bad influence on absenteeism, employee satisfaction, consumer satisfaction, product quality and productivity. "The No. 1 cost is turnover, particularly of the best and the brightest," Namie says. "Bad bosses are very threatened by technically competent and socially skilled staff. So, the most talented employees are often the ones the bad bosses drive out. This means a talent drain for the employer." The California Legislature is considering whether some protections are needed. A proposed bill outlaws any "abusive work environment" and anything health-endangering would be actionable. Namie notes Britain and Australia have similar laws. "Let's be frank," Namie says. "Employers are not going to get rid of bad boss syndrome until there is a law."
Workers in many countries face career risks, new survey finds
(Apr. 21 '03)
Global Career Confidence Index(TM), based on a survey of employees in 17 countries by Right Management Consultants, found that more than 1 in 4 US and UK workers think there is a chance they could lose their job in the coming year. This compares with 1 in 4 considering their job is at risk in Canada, Australia, Japan and Switzerland. Overall, the majority of employees surveyed are not optimistic that a laid off worker could find a comparable job.
New survey of employee commitment in 33 countries
(Apr. 20 '03)
Global Employee Commitment Report 2002, released by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), examines employee commitment to their job and their employer and offers interesting cross-national comparisons. Some 35 per cent of the full-time employees survryed reported having low levels of commitment to both the job they do and the company they work for.
Workplace friendships contribute to satisfaction and retention
(Apr. 20 '03)
A study of health care employees, mainly female nurses, in New Zealand examined the importance of workplace friendships.
Group of US health care providers launch employer of choice strategy
(Apr. 20 '03)
Tomorrow's Work Force is a collaborative among VHA Inc., a nationwide network of 2,200 leading community-owned health care organizations and Quantros, a consulting firm, that helps VHA members achieve the Employer of Choice(TM) certification in their local markets by focusing on enhancing leadership, culture, job design and human resources processes.
UK study examines employer motivations for offering flexible work
(Apr. 20 '03)
Under four in ten UK employers surveyed by Deloitte and Touche see introducing flexible working as a way to comply with new legislation while only a quarter see it as a way to cut down on costs, according to new research . The key driver for firms adopting flexible working is the need to be seen as an 'employer of choice' followed by the need to meet the changing demands of employees, suggests the survey.
Canadian Labour and Business Centre survey examines healthy workplace practices
(Apr. 20 '03)
CLBC's report, Healthy Workplace Practices, summarizes key findings from the CLBC's Viewpoints 2002 Survey of business and labour leaders. The survey supports the notion that psycho-social factors such as morale, trust and good working relationships play an important role in maintaining or improving workplace health, and that their absence can be costly.
Starbucks' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Annual Report covers employment practices
(Apr. 20 '03)
Starbucks' Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Annual Report includes expanded content on partner (employee) programs that highlight Starbucks approach to workplace culture and practices.
Retention problems in Canada's bio-tech sector
(Apr. 16 '03)
A 2002 job satisfaction survey conducted by Canada's Biotechnology Human Resource Council found that 27% of biotech employees surveyed are "looking for, or thinking of accepting a job with another employer."
Job satisfaction survey documents human resource challenges in US government
(Apr. 16 '03)
In a survey entitled "What Do Federal Employees Say?" Personnel Management asked over 200,000 US federal government employees about job satisfaction and working conditions. The study identified concerns about career opportunities, skill utilization, performance management and recognition.
Workplace literacy programs build skills and productivity
(Apr. 16 '03)
The Jobs Letter in New Zealand reports that workplace literacy and numeracy programmes are being used by companies in NZ to address skill shortages and improve productivity. Details
Middle managers play a key role in organizational change and renewal
(Apr. 16 '03)
The Conference Board of Canada's new report, Leading From the Middle: Managers Make the Difference, documents that middle managers are playing increasingly central roles in organizational change and renewal, and therefore must be supported in these roles. The study examines four Canadian organizations: Dofasco, TELUS Corporation, Fairmont Hotels, and RBC Royal Bank.
Study shows that work commitment in the United Kingdom is low
(Apr. 16 '03)
According to the Global Employee Commitment Report 2002 by Taylor Nelson Sofres, up to 34% of workers in the UK report having low levels of commitment to their jobs and the companies they work for. Interestingly, employees of large multi-national companies report the highest levels of commitment.