The 2016 Presidential election continues to be a topic of great debate whether it is at home, in the community or at work. Sometimes differing opinions can create conflict, tensions and downright hostility. These issues can arise when discussing politics in the workplace and can affect productivity, morale and performance.
The American Psychological Association recently published the results of their 2017
Work and Well-Being Survey with a special focus on politics. Here are some of the key findings:
According to the survey, 26 percent of full-time and part-time employed American adults said they felt tense or stressed out as a result of political discussions at work since the election, an increase from 17 percent in September 2016 when they were asked about political discussions at work during the election season. More than one in five (21 percent) said they have felt more cynical and negative during the workday because of discussing politics in the workplace, compared with 15 percent before the election.
Half of the post-election survey respondents (54 percent) said they have discussed politics at work since the election, and for 40 percent of American workers, it has caused at least one negative outcome, such as reduced productivity, poorer work quality, difficulty getting work done, a more negative view of coworkers, feeling tense or stressed out, or increased workplace hostility. This is a significant increase from the pre-election survey data, when 27 percent reported at least one negative outcome.
Nearly one-third (31 percent) said they had witnessed coworkers arguing about politics, and 15 percent said they have gotten into an argument themselves. More than 24 percent said they avoided some coworkers because of their political views. About one in six experienced strained relationships as a result of political discussions at work since the election: 16 percent said they have a more negative view of coworkers; 16 percent felt more isolated from coworkers; 17 percent said team cohesiveness suffered; and 18 percent reported an increase in workplace hostility.
If your employees are experiencing conflict at work and political debates are affecting work performance, the EAP can provide confidential assistance.
From the American Psychological Association.
Rude behavior at work tends to have a contagious effect and spread from one employee to another, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Incivility can leave employees feeling mentally fatigued, thus reducing their self-control and leading them to act in a similar uncivil manner.
Researchers also found that rude behavior is more common in workplaces that are perceived as political, defined as employees doing what is best for themselves and not the organization. In highly political environments, motives and actions are less clear so employees have to try and figure out why they are being targeted and how to respond. This mental fatigue saps energy and makes it difficult to control negative impulses. Other situations may also contribute to rude behavior such as workload, industry competitiveness, and whether employees have enough time to do their work. Even when employees want to be civil with their co-workers, rude behavior can make these employees lash out, as well.
Rude behavior qualifies as a performance problem. To help stop condescending behavior, the study’s authors suggest offering staff clear feedback on acceptable behavior in either a formal or informal manner. For more information about dealing with this issue at your workplace, please contact us.
An EAP helps increase your bottom line while building morale, and support for employees and their managers.
According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, anxiety and depression rank among the top five reasons for absenteeism. The National Mental Health Association reports this problem costs American companies more than $200 billion each year. Stressors such as family problems and financial crises are often at the very core of these concerns. A high quality EAP can provide a multifaceted approach to improving the life of employees and by doing so, employers can save significant amounts of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, turnover and poor performance.
Fully Effective Employees provides the following employee assistance services:
There are a lot of companies that offer Employee Assistance services, so why choose Fully Effective Employees?
An Employee Assistance Program offers an excellent return on your investment.
Contact us for more information!
Negativity is a habit. It is contagious and quite common in many workplaces and can easily become part of a company’s culture. Negativity can include gossiping, poor morale, badmouthing management or the company, lack of enthusisasm, bullying, harassment, and lack of loyalty to the employer. Restructuring a negative workplace can take years. Therefore, it is better to prevent negativity from occuring in the first place and when it does arise, recognize it and nip it in the bud.
According to Cheryl DeMarco http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cheryl_DeMarco, some business consequences of workplace negativity can be:
Errors and poor work quality
Increased employee turnover
Absence and tardiness
Loss of loyalty to the organization
Negativity has a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom line. It will also affect the worker, emotionally and physically and when employees work in a negative environment, it is hard not to take it home with them.
As a manager, be consciously aware of someone’s attitude when determining if you wish to hire them. Look for hints of negativity and if you pick it up, listen to your gut and don’t hire that person. Also, carefully listen for negativity when requesting references. If you have an employee who has become negative, react quickly. Meet with the employee and discuss your observations and concerns. Sometimes the reasons may be justifiied and you should acknowledge that and help find ways to resolve the cause, if possible. Help this person take responsibility for their negativity. Even if there are valid concerns for one’s feelings it is not appropriate to express them negatively at work. You may not be able to change someone’s point of view but you can influence behavior during work hours. Describe exactly what you expect. Tell the employee exactly what you have observed and how if has affected the company and co-workers. Help the employee replace negative behaviors with more positive ones. Negative behavior is a performance issue and it may be very approprate to refer the individual to the EAP as a management referral. When you use the EAP as a partner with management, you can monitor an employee’s motivation to improve and their progress, while staying out of the personal issues or details.
If the behavior has been ocurring within a group of employees, it would be advisable to consult with the EAP about how to handle the situation. Depending on what is happening and the causes for the negativity, it may be appropriate to meet with the group together or to meet with individuals separately.
Unfortunately, sometimes you will have no choice but to fire a really negative person. As a leader, you model by example and if you allow a negative or inappropriate employee to remain, it sets a bad tone. Be the change you want to see.
For information on preventing or dealing with negativity in your workplace and how the EAP can help, contact us at 425-557-0907.
Anger is a normal human emotion. However, when it is expressed inappropriately or when it involves threats, intimidation or acts of verbal or physical aggression, it is a significant workplace and societal issue. Often the first response an employer may take with an angry employee is to refer him or her for anger management counseling. However, each situation should be assessed individually to determine how an employer should proceed. An employer must determine if the individual is prone to outbursts of anger at work or if, believe it or not, the person may have significant anger issues that may be protected by various laws, if the anger is caused by or related to a medical condition.
Some employees may have angry outbursts that are not directed at anyone but they are still intimidating and inappropriate. Others may be harassing or bullying co-workers. This behavior may have been occuring for a long time because co-workers are afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation.
Workplace bullying as defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute is …”repeated, health harming mistreatment of one or more persons… one or more perpetrators… in the form of verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating or work interference-sabotage- which prevents work from getting done.” Obviously, this definition covers someone who behaves badly at work but also may describe someone with a serious psychological problem.
So, what should an employer do?
First of all, someone who has an inappropriate or unpleasant demeanor at work should be confronted as soon as possible to prevent escalation in the future. The longer an employee is permitted to get away with negative behavior, the harder it will be to confront. It is crucial that employers have zero tolerance policies for harassment, bullying, threats, or acts of physical or verbal aggression toward anyone at work. Clear expectations should be given about interpersonal interactions and behavior at work. Consequences for failing to improve negative behavior should also be addressed. If an employee makes threats of violence, these threats should always be taken seriously and investigated immediately. It may be necessary to call law enforcement or remove the individual from the workplace until the investigation or assessment has been completed.
It is also not advisable to refer an employee for specific treatment, anger management or counseling because creating a diagnosis or the inference of one, could trigger certain issues and protections with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). According to Sara J. Fagnilli, an attorney with Walter & Haverfield LLP in Cleveland,OH, requiring an employee to obtain counseling could be found to be equivalent to requiring a medical exam. In order for an employer to avoid a violations of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA), it must demonstrate that such an exam (or counseling) is job related and a business necessity.
We are always available to consult with you about angry employees and to assist you with a management referral to the EAP based on performance. In certain situations, we may advise you to consult with legal counsel early in the process.
Stay tuned for our in-person harassment training in early February!
As a manager, one of the most difficult situations you may face in your career is managing the aftermath of the death of an employee and the multiple repercussions that may affect your work group or department. Because a critical incident of this nature may be traumatic for co-workers of the employee, it is recommended that you, or your Human Resources support person contact your Employee Assistance Program to assist you. It is helpful to schedule a debriefing session after news of the employee’s death has been received. Your EAP specialist will be available to facilitate the session once it can be arranged. Research has shown that early intervention with the affected work group, within 24 to 72 hours after the word of a death arrives, reduces the stressful impact of the news. Co-workers have the opportunity to volunteer expressions of grief and time to share thoughts in remembrance of the person. Plans for gestures of condolence to family members can be completed and satisfy the general need to do something to commemorate the loss. Effectively managing what may be an extremely emotional situation for you and your work group may mean delegating certain duties associated with the death to those who are more detached from the situation.
Because an incident of this nature can result in a traumatic stress response, it is recommended that you or Human Resources contact the EAP to facilitate a debriefing session for all affected employees within 24 to 48 hours after learning of the death. Research has found that early intervention with a work group reduces the possibility of delayed stress responses and enables the work group to return to their normal level of productivity sooner. Another benefit of the debriefing is that the organization and its management staff are viewed by employees as responsive and caring people.
Since each member of the work group may grieve the loss of their co-worker in individual ways, it makes sense to recognize that need. Provide ways for these emotions to be channeled and recognized. There is a wide range of normal and appropriate reactions to grief and loss.
When you contact the EAP, you will be asked to provide whatever relevant information is available regarding the death of the employee and your assessment of the work group’s reaction to the situation. A one to two hour debriefing session or meeting for employees should be scheduled as soon as possible. This meeting should be voluntary; interested employees are encouraged to attend. Individuals may choose to speak or not speak. There may be individual employees, identified by you or by the EAP counselors, who may need one-on-one attention, due to the severity of their grief reaction.
Listed below are subject areas to be considered when trying to effectively manage this kind of workplace situation. You will not be able to think of everything or meet every need – this is an unusual work situation where there are few protocols. You will, however, want to thoughtfully consider the following steps:
First Things First
Get all of the assistance you feel you will need to effectively manage the situation. Assess your own reaction to the news in order to anticipate the need to involve other resources within the organization.
There is no way to anticipate how you will learn of the death of one of your employees. You may be the first to know from the family, but often the news will travel a more circuitous route and another employee may alert you. No matter how you learn of the incident, react quickly by notifying immediate staff and close work friends directly, and the rest of the company through written communications, such as an email or memorandum. Remember to contact staff who are away or on leave. Share whatever information you have and explain that more details will be forthcoming.
Attending the Funeral or Memorial Service
Arrange time for your staff to attend the funeral or memorial service if they would like to do so. You may need to hire a temporary worker to answer phones for a few hours so that everyone can attend. Attending the memorial service is an important part of the grieving process.
Remembering the Deceased Employee
The relationship the employee had with co-workers will often determine how the workplace decides to remember the deceased. Examples of work group responses include: creating a memorial bulletin board with photos and other meaningful images, holding a workplace event such as a luncheon or reception to honor the deceased employee. Invite family members and close friends outside of work to share their memories with the group. You might also: create a memory book filled with stories and sentiments from co-workers to give to the family, have a fundraiser to give a financial donation to a chosen charity organization, or write an article about the employee for the in-house newsletter.
Other Workplace Issues
Some of the more concrete issues which you, as the manager, will need to address are:
Desk and personal belongings.
Family members or a close work friend may want to handle the task of boxing up the in dividual’s personal belongings.
Changing the voice mail message, retrieving messages (voice mail and email), handling inquires intended for the deceased employee.
These tasks could be shared or rotated among staff to ease the emotional burden of having to tell callers that the employee has died. Prepare a brief statement to assist those who reply to calls.
Staff coverage for unfinished or future work assignments.
A temporary, short-term plan can be put into place until a more permanent decision can be made. It is best to put a temporary plan into action as soon as possible to lessen the level of anxiety that is already present among the staff. Make it clear what is needed and who is responsible.
It is best not to make any abrupt moves in regard to space changes; people need time to grieve the loss of their co- worker before seeing his or her workstation dismantled. In a month or so, there will be more acceptance of the changes which come from the loss of the co-worker.
The replacement employee.
Under the best of circumstances, a new employee needs to be prepared for possible negative comparisons with the deceased employee. If the deceased was particularly well-liked, the transition will be even more difficult. It is advisable to give staff notice of the new employee’s start date, relevant work background and to prepare them for the change. It is a normal part of accepting a loss to welcome someone new.
Loss of work productivity and motivation.
As the manager, expect the death of an employee to result in lower productivity and motivation for a brief time. The debriefing held soon after the announcement will ease the impact of loss, but it cannot be avoided entirely. Eventually, the work unit will return to its normal level of functioning.
Referring to the EAP.
If one to two months pass and you notice that one of your employees has not returned to his or her normal level of functioning and appears to still be grieving, talk to that employee, give them feedback on what you have observed and share your concerns about them. You may suggest that they seek counseling from your EAP. Often, a loss in one area of someone’s life, as in the loss of a co-worker, triggers unresolved feelings about previous losses or anticipated losses. This person may need extra assistance in coping with these feelings.
This article was written by Nancie Bowes Kenney, M.S.W. Edited by Mary McClain Georgevich
CopeLine is published by: COPE, Inc. 1120 G Street, NW Suite 550 Washington, DC
Necessary Losses, The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow, Viorst, Judith, Fireside, 1998. Section IV, Chapters 16 through 20 are particularly significant in regards to loss and grief.
Death and Dying, Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, Scribner, 1997.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Kushner, Harold, Avon, 1997.
As our aging population grows, the number of working caregivers does as well. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are 10 million caregivers for those affected by this disease, and most of these caregivers are in the workforce, and this is for Alzheimer’s only! Many times during the workday, a caregiving employee may need to drop everything to deal with a loved one’s health crisis. A friend of mine has gotten 3 calls in the last month from the emergency room regarding her mother, each time she was at work and had to leave to address the emergency. Luckily she has a flexible job. We have talked about some things she can do to be more pro-active with her employer.
As an employer, the following are some things you can share with your employees;
1. Talk to your employer about the situation, familiarize yourself with company leave policies and state/federal laws for family leave. If appropriate also discuss with co-workers as oftentimes, your workload may fall to them in your absence.
2. Since you cannot predict a crisis, make sure that you are up-to-date on your assignments, maybe work longer hours in anticipation of leaving suddenly, and also communicate with your co-workers anything that will involve them.
3. Have medical and contact information at the ready. This will allow for smooth admissions and access to services.
4. Set boundaries! Know yours! Oftentimes, caregivers will take on more than they can handle. Overdoing it can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed and quite honestly, not doing everything well.
5. Have backup plans- while some elderly parents may deteriorate quickly or require acute care due to a sudden serious illness or fall, others slwly decline and may need caregiving for a longer time. If so, it would be a good idea to have respite care, other family members or family friends who can share the work and information on nursing homes or other facilities if you can no longer do it on your own.
6. Take care of yourself- if you don’t you won’t be good to anyone. Be sure to balance your work and personal responsibilities. Take time to rest, exercise, eat well and do some enjoyable activities.
7. Seek profesional assistance if needed- sometimes the stress of caregiving, work and other family responsibilities can be too much. If you find yourself being irritable, depressed or not doing as well as you should, contact a professional counselor or the EAP for confidential assistance.
In addition to the above tips, the employee assistance program can be an invaluable help to your employees. The EAP can provide the needed emotional support, and assist with resources and referrals. If you don’t have it already, consider adding the Worklife Program to your EAP services. The additional program provides a well of information, resources, and referrals for all aspects of caregiving and dealing with ill or aging family members.
For more information about Fully Effective Employees or our services contact us at email@example.com
While most of our blog posts are geared toward Human Resource Managers and company owners, we feel this blog has tips that can be useful for employees as well. While the holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration, it can also be an extremely stressful time of year for others. While some people can celebrate and engage in parties and family get togethers, others struggle with depression, addiction, financial difficulties or family problems that can be intensified over the holidays. Some employees may have suffered a loss of a loved one or gone through a divorce during the year which can make the holidays very difficult. Employers should be sensitive to theses issues and ensure that employees are aware of the Employee Assistance Program which can offer them resources, brief counseling and support during tough times. If you feel stressed out by the thought of holiday chores, obligations, and the clan dropping in for a spell—or if this year’s circumstances make the holiday season difficult for whatever reason—start preparations now to manage your holiday stress.
The following tips were written by Dan Feerst, LICSW-CP of WorkExcel.com .
Holiday Myth Busters —Along with good tidings come high expectations based on the commercialization of the holiday season, past childhood memories we may long to duplicate, and the expectations of others.
If family members count on your “holiday magic” to make every year special—the cooking, cleaning, baking, decorating, and gift-wrapping—you face a bigger challenge letting go or finding balance.
Here’s how to cope better with expectations, demands, and added pressure during the holidays.
We wish all of our clients and their families a very Happy Holiday Season.If you are interested in learo
Decision Time —Make a decision to take charge and tackle holiday stress. This mentally prepares you to enjoy the time while facing demands of the season with better endurance.
Your Priorities —Decide on your priorities to make the season meaningful. Did you miss the tour of homes last year because the Waltons next door had their open house on the same day? The idea here is to plan a few “non-negotiable” events for yourself.
Now the Rest —What activities are important to your brood this year? Seek to trim the “idea tree” to reduce stress from trying to fit it all in. A family meeting to gather ideas can work, and chances are activities you thought everyone still wanted are no longer of interest.
Avoid the Rush —Are holiday lights on the house critical? If yes, go for it, but if it seems more like a “chore” than a pleasurable task, that’s a clue about its priority and importance to you. Activities that feel like chores get delayed. Pay attention to procrastination. It is insight to help you decide whether it’s thumbs up or down on something that seems desirable.
Fight the Blues —If the holidays are a sad time of year because of difficult memories or because a loved one can’t be there, then develop a personal intervention strategy. Volunteering for a local charity is an interactive experience, and those who’ve tried it claim it works to lift one’s mood. You’ll feel empowered and more positive, and the experience of helping others anchors you to a memory that lasts.
Navigating Family Conflict —If you can’t avoid holiday gatherings with family members who experience feuds and conflicts, try discussing with kin your desire to avoid conflict. Be up front and ask that differences be set aside. Older adults criticizing teenagers is a famous trigger. So are statements from in-laws that appear critical, interfering, or meddlesome. Self-awareness is power, so you stand a good chance of at least minimizing this behavior.
Take Care of Yourself —What improves your mood—exercise, positive affirmations, alone time? During the year, have you been promising to do something for yourself, but keep putting it off? Do it. The holiday season is a perfect time to reaffirm your love, not only for those you care about but also for yourself.
EAP Can Help —Holiday stress affects everyone differently, so suggestions here may not match what’s unique for you. Don’t face the stress alone. Instead, call Fully Effective Employees, assistance program. The EA professional will help you find the resilience and strength you need to face any challenge the holidays may bring.
We wish all of our clients and their families a very happy holiday season and all the best for the coming year.
If you would like to learn more about how Fully Effective Employees can help your business and your employees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-557-0907
Copyright 2011 WorkExcel.com
Practice the following six relationship skills and you’ll be a happier, healthier and more productive employee: investment skills, receptivity skills, connective skills, impression skills, empathy skills and repair skills.
1. Investment skills build up or nurture workplace relationships. These can include telling others they did a good job, praising your co-workers, or including them in social events.
2. Receptivity skills include being a good listener; maintaining eye contact;asking for opinions;thanking coworkers for feedback;acknowledging that a co-worker helped save you time, energy, embarrassment, etc.
3. Connection skills include telling coworkers you appreciate them, encouraging coworkers, or hooring others; choices or deferring to that they want or would like to do.
4. Impression skills get you rememebered. They are positive behaviors others don’t particularly practice. These can include sending a hand written thank you note; taking the lead to a birthday; or sharing a skill or resource to elevate the effectivementss of a co-worker, even if you create your own competition.
5. Empathy skills include the ability to recognize others’ emotions and identify unmet needs- need for a break, need for recognition, need for validation, need to be heard, or even a need for a helping hand.
6. Repair skills include the willingness to discuss your relationship, cear the air or :check in” to address misunderstandings and obstacles that prevent feeling good about the relationship.
Source: Frontline Employee reprinted with permission
I attended an HR Roundtable sponsored by Resourcefulhr in Seattle today. A group of HR professionals met to discuss challenges and ideas for enagaging and retaining employees.
The major topics that we discussed included:
Research has shown that unless the salary is very low, financial incentives are not always the way to reach the hearts and minds of employees. Appreciation, acknowledgement, and recognition will go a long way towards keeping employees motivated to perform. A sense of belonging to the community in which they work, feeling valued and supported by their employer are important to keep employees loyal to. Low- cost benefits like health club membership discounts, wellness and worklife programs and employee assistance programs can be implemented for a great return on investment.
All of these are fabulous ideas for keeping employees engaged. We all know the cost of recruitng and retraining new employees, so we need to be sure we keep our current employees happy.
Do you have any other ideas to contribute to this list? We would love to hear from you!