Risk Management in Human Resources An observers view of today’s issues Research and observation obtained in: Development and delivery of training and resources in OSH and injury management, Stress Management, Performance Management Organisational Communication, Change Management and General Risk Management to over 2000 Local Government executives, managers, staff, elected members and volunteers Extensive experience in healthcare in the areas of accident and emergency, psychiatry and general nursing involving many cases with a link to poor HR management or employer negligence. Personal experience in management at all levels including managing own staff Presentation Outline Introduction Areas of potential risk Achieving goals and objectives Legislative compliance Employee / Employer relationships Handling HR Issues Signs of things going wrong Stress and the workplace Where to from here Areas of Potential Risk Failing to meet goals and objectives as set down in policies, plans and procedures Failing to comply with legislative requirements relating to the employment of staff and management of personnel Failing to manage the relationship between employee and employer based on the in-house governing policies, procedures and employment contracts Failure to handle human resource issues correctly at all levels Achieving Goals and Objectives Strategic HR Plan Appropriate staffing levels Appropriate skills and knowledge mix Up to date position descriptions and KPIs Effective Recruitment Pre employment checks – health and references Complying with Legislation For example ….. Local Government Act Industrial Relations Act OSH Act Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act Equal Opportunity Act Ability to prove that you have complied is the key issue in HR Risk Management Employee – Employer Relationships Based on policies, procedures, operational plans, understanding employment contracts, employee expectations and TRUST! All employees need to know what is expected of them and how they are doing. All managers need the above as well as knowledge of how to manage people and performance, within organisational and legislative frameworks. Handling HR Issues Ground rules and expectations set Comprehensive orientation ( particularly in promotions from within) Skills and knowledge in all management areas Strong performance management focus Constant monitoring and review Early intervention for change management Effective communication at all levels Sound feedback process Workload assessment processes in place Signs of things going wrong Active grapevine Industrial disputes or increased union activity Increased absenteeism Increase in incidents or accidents Workers compensation claims Conflict in the workplace Increased turnover against industry trends Poor morale Low productivity Stress in the workplace – real or perceived Psychological Illness The emerging HR issue for Organisations in the 21st Century The Changes Organisationally New technology More rapid communication Downsizing Multi skilling of employees Reduced no. of „floating‟ positions Expectations higher More accountability The Changes Individually More informed /educated workforce Overqualified staff Greater job mobility Job insecurity Diverse job roles / unclear boundaries Dual working parents Less social infrastructure eg extended families, local pub The Numbers • ComCare stress claims (1993) 4.3% claims / 18% costs • Workcover WA ( 2000 /01) 2.02% claims - aver cost 44% • MWS (2001 / 02) 2.67% of claims – 9% costs Warning Signs Unplanned absences for Workers Compensation stress related claimants in one year was 3.8% higher (34.4 days compared 9.1 days per year) ComCare Quality of Life Study Findings 1990 – 1993 An unrelated 1996 study showed that 42% of the surveyed workers reported taking time off in the previous 12 months due to stress. WA Local Government Stressors 2003 Espire (JLT) survey results Organisational Critical Performance Increased w orkload / Structure & Incidents Management Performance Pressure Morale Organisational 4% 6% Change/ 22% Restructure 10% 11% 22% 12% 13% Conflict at Work Family / Work Conflict Poor Communication styles Predominately Management System Issues – only 16% are individual‟s issues Areas Perceived Most Affected by Stress by WA Local Governments Waste Library & Others Management Management Parks & Gardens 4% 3% 4% Community 7% 27% Services 9% 12% 13% 21% Building & Construction (Road Workers) Administrative w orkers Ranger Services Vulnerable groups who direct other areas Increased Workload / Performance Pressure Physical Health • Higher blood cholesterol levels • Coronary heart disease / heart attack • Escapist drink and drug abuse (liver dysfunction) Psychological Health • Lowered confidence • Decreased work motivation • Deterioration in interpersonal relationships Job Performance • Increased absenteeism • Increased accident rates • Decrease in decision making quality • Decreased productivity Two Perspectives Quantitative Overload • Perception of too much to do • Too many different things to do • Insufficient time • Too many interruptions Qualitative Overload • Lacking ability / skills / training to complete their jobs • Performance standards set too high, taking work home • Poor time management practices Conflict at Work • HR management systems control this if internal • External stressors come from client interface – protocols, skills and training required to address this • Interpersonal skills at all levels needed Poor Communication Styles • Two way communication between management and staff • Clear communication of tasks and expectations • Clear lines of accountability and responsibility Family / Work Conflict • Requires trust, confidentiality, empathy and early action • EAP services • Reduce impact on employees acting as “pseudo” counsellors • Trained managers Organisational Change / Restructure • Causes uncertainty • Threat to job security • Threat to comfort zone • Increase in „Grapevine‟ traffic • Perceptions become fact if not addressed Performance Management • Devolved responsibility for performance management • Limited manager training • Unclear objectives in performance management (PM) • Increased manager stress in doing PM • Lack of skills / knowledge in industrial relations issues • Can lead to stress claims if poorly managed and documented Organisational Structure and Morale Key issues Low morale affects stress outcomes more than high distress Roles and ORG structure not clearly defined Unclear accountabilities and responsibilities Appropriate recruitment and sound orientation processes Effective management systems with staff interaction Outcomes Enthusiasm and pride in the workplace Increased team spirit and psychological health Increased productivity Critical Incidents • Debriefing within 3 days to relieve stress and prevent potential long term psychological effects • Investigation for causative or contributing factors and potential impact on other staff • Preventative strategies explored and actions taken Summary Psychological health at work needs: • Strong Framework • Functional Systems • Reduced Exposure • Commitment In Case of Stress BANG HEAD HERE Where to from here Do a risk audit on your HR systems and processes Consider an employee satisfaction survey Keep an eye out for signs of things going wrong and address as early as possible Seek help from peers and peak bodies to identify areas of concern and early intervention strategies Keep your ear to the ground and don’t presume that if a policy or procedure is in place it is being followed!