Category Archives: Employee Wellness

Avoiding Holiday Workplace Stress

‘Tis the season……to stress out?

It’s no secret that the holiday season is one that is met with both joyful anticipation and overwhelming stress. It is not unusual that this time of year also brings additional stress into the workplace. Here are some tips to help alleviate the holiday blues and keep your company productive and your employees engaged.

  • Keep things in perspective. Not everyone celebrates the holidays. Not everyone that does celebrate the holidays cares to do so at work. Make it fun for those who want to participate but don’t make people feel obligated to participate in workplace gift giving or attend the holiday functions with a guest.
  • Be respectful of your employees’ time. It’s easy to think your employees will really appreciate an evening or weekend holiday function, but the reality is, they might not. Survey your staff and offer options. Maybe a simple luncheon followed by an afternoon off would be more welcomed, cost-effective and appreciated than a weekend event at a fancy venue.
  • Understand that the year is not defined by one month of results. So many employers wait until the end of their 4th quarter to talk to their employees about a company’s financial goals and where they stand relative to “year end.” Communicate throughout the year so that everyone is on the same page and doesn’t feel stressed by a sudden obsession with numbers.
  • Get some help! This is especially true if you work in the retail industry, or anything that supports the retail industry (transportation, shipping, manufacturing, etc.) Your workers are stretched, you are busier than ever and sooner or later, people reach their breaking point. Plan early and get extra help to meet your customer demands.
  • Focus on the Short Term…for the sake of the long term. Sometimes your workforce just needs to know that you see them. You see the extra efforts, you see the added stress and you appreciate them making their jobs a priority during a very busy time. Employees that feel valued and appreciated in the stressful times tend to remain loyal when the going gets rough.
  • Get Creative! Think of fun and inexpensive incentives that would both relieve stress and provide some sort of helpful service. Chair massages, free gourmet coffee bar, impromptu breakfast or lunch buffets, an extra-long paid lunch to accomplish necessary errands, a little extra unpaid or paid time off or even the services of a personal shopper are little things that companies can do to make the holiday season a little less stressful.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum can assist you in finding great employees in Wisconsin for both your short-term and long-term needs. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

Today’s Employment Market Forces Employers to be Creative

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development just released February unemployment numbers and the results aren’t surprising area employers:  The State’s unemployment rate has declined to 3.7%, the lowest since 2000.  Pick up an issue of any business-focused magazine, HR-related journal or Google “how to find and keep employees” and you’ll see article after article about the talent shortage. While finding new talent is part of the challenge, keeping that talent is equally as difficult.  While employee recruitment and retention is a huge challenge for employers, it’s a huge opportunity for job seekers.

Employees are no longer lured to a company just by a decent salary and benefit packages.  This generation of our workforce has different ideas and the current employment market is only adding to their cause.  Companies are offering things like unlimited vacation time, flexible work schedules, paid volunteer time and employee wellness programs. Employers are getting creative, doing things like providing free lunches and breakfasts and offering family friendly policies that employees are encouraged to take advantage of.  Some are even allowing employees to bring their pets to work. Today’s employers have had to get creative.

This work environment has made us pause and take note and we wonder, what is your company doing about the talent shortage?  What types of recruitment programs and employment offerings would you consider if it helped you find workers and talent in Southeastern Wisconsin?  What type of creative benefits is your company offering?

Sound off!  We want to hear from you!  Let’s get the dialogue going!

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to capitalize on every employee’s strengths.  As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing with our team of recruiters that are supported by a full-time sourcing department.  For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

Source:  https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2017/unemployment/170323_february_state.pdf

 

Worker’s Compensation Rule Changes May Impact Area Employers

On Wednesday, January 11th, 55 members of the Waukesha Area Safety Council gathered for their monthly meeting. The group welcomed Attorney Charles Palmer from the law firm of Michael Best & Frederich, who discussed updates to Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation Laws that were passed by the State legislature earlier this year.  The lunch and learn format lent itself to a succinct presentation and opportunities for questions.  Attorney Palmer reiterated the importance of these laws and their need to balance the interest of both Labor and Management.

Specifically, three major changes to these laws impact Human Resources & Safety Professionals and how they should handle specific worker’s comp situations.  The areas impacted by the changes include:

  • Violations to the Drug and Alcohol Policies
  • Misconduct or Substantial Fault
  • Pre-Existing Conditions

Violations to the Drug and Alcohol Policies

Under the changed laws, if any employee violates an employer’s policy against drug and alcohol use AND the violation causes the employee’s injury, THEN the employee nor the employee’s dependents may receive any compensation under law, including no benefits for temporary or permanent disability.  (This had previously read that they would receive a 15% reduction in benefits).  In order to make the law work effectively, Attorney Palmer suggested that employers need to make sure that their policies are clear, that they can prove the injury was caused by a violation of the policy and that documentation is done correctly.  He also suggested that an employee’s behavior prior to and after the injury should be clearly documented, as well as having adequate documentation that the employee was aware of and had received written documentation of the policy.  Finally, he encouraged that all employers make sure their policies are clear and up to date, including verbiage concerning illegal and legal (over the counter and prescription) drugs.

Misconduct or Substantial Fault

Under the changed laws, any injured employee could be denied temporary disability benefits if they’ve been suspended or terminated due to their own misconduct or substantial fault.  (Previously, a terminated employee would be paid disability while not working until end of healing.)  If an employee is suspended or terminated for safety violations, ignoring employer directives or has a post-accident positive drug test, the employer may deny him/her benefits.  Attorney Palmer encouraged members to be sure that their disciplinary rules and procedures are up to date, and enforced consistently – do not discipline or terminate only the employee who is injured, while not applying the same discipline to those who commit the same violation without being injured.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Under the new rule, an employer may submit evidence that an employee’s permanent disability was only partially caused by an injury sustained at work.  Old laws held an employer responsible for an employee’s full disability, even if they had a pre-existing condition related to the new injury.  So long as the pre-existing injury was aggravated beyond normal progression, the law had held the employer fully responsible.  Under the new law, in order to separate the pre-existing disability from the disability caused by the current job, a doctor must determine the percent of disability assigned to each.  Again, Atty. Palmer encouraged employers to work with their insurers to make sure that documentation is clear, and supplied to the doctor including: prior work history and medical records, specifics of the current injury claim, witness statements regarding the current claim, details of the current job, and other information that will allow the doctor to compare the level of exposure in the current job, to past exposure, and compare the pre-existing medical information to the current medical information.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to safety.  We maintain an active role as the Outreach Coordinators on the Waukesha Area Safety Council and welcome the opportunity to learn from the great speakers that present to the organization.  As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing. Our recruiters are supported by a full-time sourcing department dedicated to finding great employees for our clients. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!

 DISCLAIMER:  This article is meant to be a brief summary of the major points covered in the meeting presentation and is not meant to provide legal and/or medical advice.  As always, we suggest you consult with your medical or legal professional when dealing with any workplace injury or worker’s compensation issue.  Don’t have legal representation and need to retain an expert?  Atty Charles Palmer (Michael Best & Frederich) can be reached by email at cbpalmer@michaelbest.com.

Interested in joining the Waukesha Area Safety Council and taking advantage of learning from our great speakers, while networking with other HR and Safety Professionals?  Please contact Jean at Jean@nissenstaffing.com for more information!

IMPROVING THE HEALTH OF YOUR STAFF AND YOUR BOTTOM LINE

Would you like to retain great talent, improve employee productivity, boost company morale, and decrease costs associated with absenteeism, workplace injuries and the rising cost of health care?

If you are like the majority of US companies, you answered yes to all of the above. In fact, some of your most important short and long term initiatives center around one or more of these very topics.  What if we were to tell you that ONE simple action could positively impact ALL of these important company goals and objectives?  We can: Implement an Employee Wellness Program.

Everyone knows that our country is in the middle of an epidemic of sorts:  we are sitting more, moving less, eating processed and unhealthy foods, gaining weight, and being diagnosed with chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems and high blood pressure.  Our obesity levels are rising and the ages that we are seeing the long term effects of unhealthy lifestyles are getting younger and younger.  Some employers might say that it’s none of their business.  But, that is where they are wrong.  It absolutely impacts their businesses and therefore it literally IS their business.

Like most things in life, there is a domino effect to bad choices.  An employee sits at a desk all day in a high stress job and rarely moves.  He eats fast food for lunch and sips on high calorie soft drinks.  He feels sluggish by late afternoon and reaches for a stimulant, be it a high calorie coffee drink, sugar or a cigarette.  He leaves work late, rushes home to figure out dinner, and ends up at a drive thru or ordering a pizza.  He doesn’t take time to exercise, falls asleep watching television and drags himself to bed only to start the whole cycle again in the morning.

Sound familiar?

An employee that lives this lifestyle has increased his chance of developing a number of chronic conditions, which increases his likelihood of missing work due to illness.  Some research even shows that unhealthy employees have a higher occurrence rate of workplace injuries due to poor body awareness, worn joints, and an inability to correctly lift, move, bend or balance.  Unhealthy employees often suffer from sleep issues, which impacts their daily productivity. Poor lifestyle choices also contribute to mental health issues, including depression and a person’s sense of well-being.  All of these choices can lead to an increased number of doctor visits, prescription costs, and the like.  In addition, a company full of employees as described can have a significant negative impact on morale.  The cycle is difficult to stop once it starts.

What can an employer do to encourage healthier employees?  There are many options, but some include:

  • Create an environment where people are encouraged to move by integrating things like stand up desks, stability ball chairs, exercise areas or walking paths. Even motivational signage and scheduled “brain breaks” can be helpful.
  • Provide healthy choices in your vending machines and cafeterias. Be sure lunches, etc. that are brought in have available healthy alternatives.  Offer free water.  Do not build incentives around unhealthy foods or habits.
  • Hire someone to manage a Wellness Program that encourages a healthy lifestyle. Or, if you cannot do that immediately, find out if there is someone already on your staff that is knowledgeable in this area and start small.
  • Consider making your workplace smoke free, and offer programs that encourage smoking cessation.
  • Motivate employees by incenting adherence to healthy lifestyle choices by creating fun contests, programs and initiatives that employees can participate in.
  • Offer free or discounted wellness screening, fitness testing, health club memberships or the like.
  • Model healthy behaviors.

While there will be costs associated with implementing a wellness program, the returns on such an investment can be significant and, in many cases, immeasurable.

An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to improving the lives of both our clients and associates. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing with our team of recruiters that are supported by a full-time sourcing department.  For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!