It’s inevitable – if you don’t have a policy in place you will encounter a situation that calls for that exact policy. Not having a corrective action policy will probably ensure that employee relations issues will keep cropping up. If employees are not aware of the “rules of the game” at your workplace, they will in inevitably make up their own rules. With all the new legislative changes recently, including changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the new Accessibility legislation, it’s essential to make sure your employee policy manual is up to date with the latest legislative updates or changes within your business.
One important policy that employer’s sometimes overlook is smoking in the workplace. Nowadays, it is unheard of for anyone to be smoking in the workplace, however; according to CBC News Canada, as of 2012, 17% of Canadians still smoke. With almost 1/6 of Canadians smoking, Employers still need to consider designated smoking areas and smoking policies in their employee policy manual. Most businesses would already have some sort of smoking policy in their workplace, but how detailed is the policy really? How would one define your “workplace”? If your employee travels for work, are they allowed to smoke outside their office but okay in the car? How about while driving your company’s vehicle or truck? Remember to address these issues in your policies to guide you when those kinds of situations come up.
Regardless of if you have a policy or not, there are a lot of other benefits to supporting your workers with getting help to quit smoking and take up a healthier lifestyle. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety notes “it has been estimated by the Conference Board of Canada that on the average each employee who smokes costs the employer $3,396 a year (as reported by Health Canada, 2008). These costs are attributed to increased absenteeism, lower productivity, unscheduled smoke breaks, maintenance of smoking areas, property damage, and health and fire insurance costs. Other studies report that non-smoking employees have difficulty concentrating where ETS is present. Studies have shown that smoke-free environments also make for increased productivity, better morale, and lower cleaning costs. “
Check out this great link for more ideas on how to setup a smoke free workplace in your companyhttp://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/ets_resolutions.html
This is the first blog of our “Rules of the Game” series which stresses making sure your employee manual works for you. Stay tuned for more useful tips to ensuring you have an effective employee policy manual.
Looking to revise or setup an employee policy manual but not sure where to start? Check out our upcoming learning session to find out more about writing an effective employee policy manual!
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August is Employee Wellness month. Having healthy employees can lead to high productivity, low absenteeism, and a less stressful work environment. It's worthwhile to implement an employee wellness plans that encourages your employees to stay active and fit. Do you have an idea for new wellness programs but not sure how to implement it? Do you have an existing program but not sure how to measure the success of your wellness program? Every business should take advantage of the results that comes from employee wellness programs. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed useful steps to help you get started! The following quickly highlights some steps on how to get a program started:
Step 1: Take ownership and leadership and get support from the "top".
Step 2: Get support from everyone.
Step 3: Acknowledge current or informal activities and collect baseline data.
Step 4: Identify the key needs and expectations of the workplace.
Step 5: Develop a detailed plan.
Step 6: Put your plan into action.
Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and maintain the program
You can check out more useful tips by reading the full article. We also recommend taking small steps. Getting a Wellness Program started can be overwhelming better to implement small steps and measure your success then roll out a very elaborate program with no way to track engagement.
A critical piece to having a Wellness program is to track engagement. Step 7 of CCOHS's 7 step plan, "Monitor, evaluate and maintain the program" is an important one. Asking questions like is it working? Are your employees less stressed? Are your employees more productive? Is there an effective way to measure output? are great questions to measure the success of your program.
An effective way to get buy in from your executive to continue or start to support is measuring your financial results! The Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC) has suggested that you can better plan future wellness programs by calculating their financial returns! The CASHC states that employers should invest in more workplace wellness program because they reduce costs caused of providing benefits, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity. All great reasons to invest in a Wellness Program!
Read more about calculating your investments from Canadian Alliance. Got a Wellness Program? Make sure to measure your success and share your positive outcomes!
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Have you kept up to date with AODA requirements? Statistics show that one in seven citizens of Ontario has some sort of disability; not only is it essential for businesses to become accessible - it's now law! The Customer Service Standard came into effect in 2005 in the public sector as of January 2012 private sector organizations needed to be compliant with the Customer Service Standard, You may ask - does this standard apply to me? The answer is YES! ALL organizations in Ontario are required to be compliant with the Customer Service Standard (including consultants, manufacturers and wholesalers). Not complying with this standard can trigger government investigations and financial penalties.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services is encouraging a more collaborative approach to get this standard implemented as compared to the more forceful penality driven introduction of recent Bill 168 Workplace Violence and Harassment legislation.
As of December 31, 2012 all organizations are expected to have reported their progress in implementing the AODA Customer Service Standard. Depending on the size of your business the Ministry of Community require employers to submit reports regarding their progress on AODA standards. The exemption borderline of this requirement is under 20 employees (including part time, full time, and sub contractors). If your business currently holds under 20 employees, there are two simple steps to follow: create a plan and train your employees! Find out more about creating a plan by clicking here.
According to the Ministry, businesses with over 20 employees should following these steps to ensure they are in compliance:
Filling out this report isn't difficult! Click here to find the type of questions you will be asked, walk through the application process. It is recommended you schedule 1-2 hours to complete this report.
You filled out your report? Now what? Here is a checklist to make sure you completed the required steps!
We also suggest that you stay on top of your new plan! Keep updating your policies and procedures on a regular basis to accommodate for new trends. Schedule an hour of your time each month to update your books. Remember to keep your employees informed with changes and ask for their feedback on complying with accessibility. Keep the Ministry of Community and Social Services updated with your results and ask questions if you are unclear. Improved accessibility can help Ontario generate up to 9.6 Billion in new retail spending and 1.6 billion in new tourism spending!
Check out the links before for more information about the AODA and Ministry of Community and Social Services:
Ministry of Community and Social Services Home Page
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07)
Accessibility Standards for Customer Service - Exemption from Reporting Requirements
Not sure where to start? Join us as we discuss the new AODA Customer Service Standard and upcoming additions to the AODA legislation in our next workshop!
Intro to AODA Legislation
October 16th 2012
Kitchener Holiday Inn 1:00pm-3:00pm
Investment: $99+HST (Register two weeks prior only $75+HST)
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Social media has taken the world by storm and developed into an unbelievable method of communication. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram etc. have expanded our approach to sharing thoughts, ideas, opinions, blogs, videos, and photos. These resources allow us to stay updated through a push of a button and get connected with one another in new ways. Businesses are starting to take advantage of these platforms to connect with customers and get real-time thoughts and opinions about their company and their employees. As Social Media redefines the future of business, savvy employers are staying ahead of the game by adding the specifics about Social Media use to job positions and procedure manuals.
Younger workers are most likely going to have their own Social Media accounts that allow them to connect with their own friends and family and they will be very comfortable translating this over to their work life. Developing your expectations regarding when and how Social Media can be used in the workplace is a must. Unmonitored Social Media use can result in an unfocused workplace and declining productivity. The language of Social Media is also very different and should be considered. Should the use of jargon which is becoming more and more embedded in today's social culture, phrases like "omg" (Oh My Gosh), "lol" (Laugh Out Loud), "nbd" (No Big Deal) be used in the workplace? Some may argue it is appropriate to be current and fully connected, others may argue it is unprofessional. How about sharing photos with peers and customers? What about the type of content your employees may be posting for example to company Facebook pages? Should Social Media usage be tracked? Have you updated your employee policy manuals with respect to Social Media recently? With your employees connecting with potential customers or each other on these various platforms, it's critical to establish your expectations along with procedures surrounding appropriate use.
As Social Media continues to change the way we communicate, remember to customize your policies to fit with your company's potentially changing goals and objectives. Staying on top of your employee policies and update your books may be a daunting task. Need assistance with revising an existing or developing an employee policy manual? Clear Path can help! Check out our workshops for more details or give us a call to discuss your specific questions.
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