Friday, March 25, 2016

The safety evolution – the wheel just keeps on spinning

Safety in the workplace is a process not an event. It’s something we work on every day to ensure that our employees are in the safest environment possible every time they enter our front doors. As much as the need for safety remains a priority, the pieces/parts that combine to create a comprehensive safety program continue to evolve. To keep pace with these changes requires being aware of new trends, new methods and new regulations on everything safety.

For example, slips, trips and falls are always high on the list of on-the-job injuries. Though it’s not likely that any methods used to avoid these accidents will be totally fool proof, there’s an increasing demand to find new and creative ways of prevention – not only because they affect the well-being of our employees, but they are costly. In fact Occupational Health & Safety magazine cites industry statistics that “one million Americans suffer from a slip, trip or fall injury every year, costing employers up to $40,000 per incident.”

New regulations, like the one requiring companies to assume workmen’s compensation risks for temporary and contract employees, have a significant impact on companies and their safety initiatives. In addition to trips, slips and falls, organizations now need to closely look at how employee physical and emotional issues influence job performance and how that can increase the possibility of accidents and injuries. Things like depression, obesity, medication addiction and others are on the safety radar of things that need to be monitored and require preventive solutions.

So, is your head spinning yet? You know how they say that the only thing constant is change? That’s safety; evolving, changing and requiring new and inventive ways of keeping your workplace safe.  It requires, time attention and a strong commitment, but it’s definitely worth it.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, March 18, 2016

Does it make you feel like dancing?

It’s that time of year again; March Madness, the NCAA Men’s Division Basketball Tournament, or as it’s also called – the Big Dance. Sixty-eight teams participate in this single elimination tournament with the hope of emerging as the national champions.  Most of us will tag along on this quest; picking our favorites, intensely watching game after game and cheering from the sidelines. Along the way, there will be some heroes and some heels; we’ll hear the Cinderella stories and stories of the comeback kid; we’ll experience the defeats and the upsets. We’ll become part of the team.  And to me, more than any athleticism displayed or who wins or loses, what stands out in this event is the power of teamwork.

There’s just something about being part of a team – the bonds
it creates, knowing someone has your back, learning new things, working hard, feeling strong, confident and owning it (whatever “it” happens to be at that moment): one group with a single purpose, willing to take risks, venture into unmarked waters and willing to give it their all to accomplish the same goal – together. Wow.

Okay, not all teams are this good. In fact some are downright dysfunctional, some personalities just don’t mesh at all and some can be counter-productive.  Just like coaches, strong leaders know what it takes to make a team great; they know when to make adjustments and replacements, when someone needs to sit the bench, how to bring out the best in people, how to keep the team motivated and how to prepare them for the Big Dance.

Are you that kind of leader? Think about the possibilities. Now, let’s dance.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, March 4, 2016

Say it like you mean it

It’s blog time again. There were a couple of things I had in mind to talk about this week and then – by chance – I came across the fact that today is National Employee Appreciation Day. It also happens to be National Salesperson Day, National Pound Cake Day, National Hug a G.I. Day, National Grammar Day and National Unplugging Day. In fact, when you start looking a little further, there seems to be a “day” for everything you can imagine. I get it. Everyone wants to be recognized for something; and that’s a good thing. But, let’s get back to National Employee Appreciation Day.

This day was created to spotlight the importance of employee recognition in the workplace to employers in all industries; and it is important. In my opinion, it warrants more than just a day. Employees are one of the most important assets of a company and appreciation and recognition should be part of the company culture.

Consider this. Studies indicate that more than 80 percent of employees were motivated to work harder when shown appreciation for their work by their boss, compared to less than 40 percent inspired to work harder when their boss is demanding or they fear for their jobs. (Glassdoor) Added benefits of valid recognition and appreciation are happier employees, fewer turnovers, repeated good behavior, increased productivity and in the long run, a better and stronger company. Not to mention that it’s the right thing to do.

Here’s the catch. Before you start running off thanking everyone and showering appreciation like you were dropping it from a helicopter, remember this – make sure that the recognition you give is genuine, valid and truly has meaning. You can do just as much damage by thanking everybody for everything as you can by not thanking them or recognizing them at all. Too much of anything is not a good thing. Superfluous appreciation soon loses its meaning, employees see right through it and it loses all value. Save it for when you MEAN it and then act on it. A kind word, a handwritten note, a lunch, a small gift can all go a long way in cultivating a culture of appreciation. That’s priceless.

Thank you!

Posted by MJ Thomas