first_img New research claims the British are getting angrier. Road rage is now only one symptom of a nation increasingly prone to red mist. Not surprisingly, work has not been immune from the trend, although fury does not always surface in the most predictable situations. Who would have thought, for instance, that to some of the nation’s workforce an employee attitude survey can be the equivalent of a bad jam on the M25?Staff surveys have made the art of listening to employees easy. Attitude surveys just about guarantee reliable, objective feedback to what staff are thinking ñ an invaluable foundation for future strategy. But spare a thought for those opening the reply-paid envelopes. Because every staff opinion poll is likely to carry startlingly physical evidence of an often ignored dimension of attitudes ñ rage. Take the experience of a seasoned member of The Industrial Society’s staff surveys team, specialists who poll employee attitudes for a wide range of organisations. Properly completed questionnaires have not been the only things to emerge from the thousands of reply envelopes in recent months. A small but unforgettable number of envelopes have also produced a packet of condoms [unused], a razor blade [unguarded], syringes, pornographic pictures, and a collection of short, curly hairs that might just have been canine. Other employees opt for straightforward abuse. Despised managers, unfair treatment and inadequate pay seem most likely to spark the staff surveys’ equivalent of hate mail ñ angry comments added as replies to “open” questions that typically round off a questionnaire. Expletives, racist or sexist language, and personal insults about colleagues ñ usually managers ñ all feature regularly in a minority of responses. Arguably more deadly are the survey responses designed to settle a score, rather than simply register anger or resentment. The knowledge that “insiders” won’t see the response regularly prompts a minority of those surveyed to reveal or claim cases of personal harassment, bullying or discrimination that they’re unwilling or unable to raise elsewhere. Even more explosively, be prepared for staff surveys to throw up allegations of actual corruption. A recent such case to emerge during one of our surveys uncovered major theft and led to police intervention and eventual imprisonment for the offender. The hardest symptom of survey rage to interpret is silence. How angry are the staff who choose not to respond at all, or are they simply too contented to bother?Luckily, however chilling some of the responses are, opinion surveys remain a useful safety valve for employee anger, quite apart from being a vital communications asset. And razor blades notwithstanding, pollsters agree on one key piece of advice for organisations considering a survey ñ don’t do it unless you’re prepared to act on what it tells you. By Patrick Burns, policy director, The Industrial Society Previous Article Next Article Our survey said: staff surveys are usefulOn 16 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Motorola to hold forum on futureOn 27 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Motorola’s HR team is creating a consultation forum withunions and staff to discuss efficiency savings and possible job cuts at itsSwindon plant.  HR manager Dyfed Evans told Personnel Today that he wants toinvolve staff in the debate over productivity. Evans said, “Reducing theheadcount is only one of the options that we are looking at as a company. Theforum will look at ways to improve em-ployee productivity.”Last week Motorola ann-ounced 4,000 job losses worldwide inan attempt to boost profits. The forum will be made up of 15 employees elected by theSwindon workforce as well as three or four management representatives. Evanssaid, “Key to the discussion will be how we can face the challenge of remainingcompetitive in our marketplace.”Evans, who will chair the forum, claimed that the results ofthe discussions will be filtered through the rest of the company. It will becommunicated through “round-tables” of site directors sitting down with arandomly selected group of employees. He said, “We don’t want employees tothink deals are being done in smoke-filled rooms.”The Swindon plant employs 1,600 staff and throughout the UK,Motorola employs 10,000 employees and had sales of £3.9bn in 2000. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


first_imgThe charity Campaign for Learning isorganising a national Learning at Work Day on 17 May to encourage employers andemployees alike to learn to love learning. Follow our guide to making the mostof the opportunity. By Stephanie SparrowTuesday 8 May Make that callIf you haven’t already done so, youshould be calling the Learning at Work Day information line on 0117 966 7755 toregister and to request free planning and publicity materials. Campaign for Learning suggests thatthe free posters are placed in staff restaurants, smoking rooms and other areaswhere employees congregate, such as the washrooms.Involve senior managementA key factor is to get the seniormanagement on board. Real inspiration for learning starts at the top, says thecharity. On previous Learning at Work Days, business leaders have job-swappedwith their staff or customers to learn more about working life in the otherperson’s shoes. Job-swappers have includedemployment minister Baroness Blackstone, B&Q managing director Martin Toogoodand Warrington Borough Council chief executive Steve Broomhead. This year the Campaign for Learningis inviting leaders to complete a week’s learning diary to illustrate how weall learn every day.Keep staff in the pictureMake sure that all employees knowabout Individual Learning Accounts. The incentive behind them is to overcomefinancial barriers to learning.If an individual invests £25 oftheir own money the Government will make up the account to £150 that can bespent on learning. Call the Individual Learning Account Centre on 0800 072 5678for more information.Wednesday 9 May Plan a job-swapJob-swapping and job-shadowing aregood, informal ways of learning. Benefits include improved communicationsskills, support for career planning and experience in coaching and mentoring. Examine information flows in yourorganisation and suggest that departments who rely on each other forinformation organise job-swaps on Learning at Work Day.Thursday 10 May Promote language learningThis year has been designatedEuropean Year of Languages. Why not introduce the concept of language learningin a non-threatening way? Ideas from the Campaign for Learninginclude contacting the catering manager to offer a themed menu on othernational cuisines on 17 May and backing up this initiative with a display inthe staff restaurant on course information from local providers on where staffcan learn the related languages locally.Friday 11 MayPublicise your eventsMake sure that you have told theCampaign for Learning that you are getting involved in Learning at Work Day.The planning guide has a faxback form you can use. If you do not have a copysimply fax your organisation’s details to Learning at Work Day on 020-79301552, saying what you are doing to support the day. The campaign is targeting both localand national media to generate publicity for Learning at Work Day and will behighlighting the organisations that are taking part.Monday 14 May  Run a culture checkFind out if your organisation reallysupports learning as part of everyday working life. Check out the LearningClimate quiz on the campaign’s website. Invite colleagues to do that quiz andfind out the reasons behind any scores vastly different from your own.Tuesday 15 MayLook out for special offersMany providers are joining in, suchas e-learning provider iLearn.To, which has offered a free corporatee-university to every organisation getting involved. See our guide opposite. Wednesday 16 MayDiagnose your learning style and improve itVisit Peter Honey’s website atwww.peterhoney.com to discover what sort of learner you are. Understanding yourlearning style can make you become a more effective learner.Thursday 17 MayStudy what works Find out what suits the people inyour organisation and apply it throughout the year. At least one of thefollowing themes should be in evidence at your organisation today:– Creating a learning climate in theworkplace to enable informal learning that is integrated to people’s real work– Encourage leaders to be learnersby including job shadowing– Look at low-cost learning,including e-learning – Learning how to learnWhichlearning areas can you promote?Kick-starting an enthusiasm forlearning depends on how you present the concept to staff. Here are somesuggestions that should encourage their buy-inImprove communication Skills such asgiving clear explanations and listening are still overlooked in organisations,but are essential to making working life run more smoothly.  Try running a training session where anexpert explains a task to a non-expert who then has to pass on the instructionto another non-expert.  If communicationbreaks down, try to analyse the language that may be causing the problem.  Free access to online communication courseswill be available on the day from Skillsoft. For more information visitwww.skillsoft.comTackle stress managementA recent survey commissioned by theInternational Stress Management Association and Royal Sun Alliance suggeststhat 70 per cent of adults experience stress at work (compared with 60 per centin 1999).  Imaginativeideas from the Campaign for Learning include inviting a feng shui consultant into advise on creating a stress-free work environment and on how to conduct theart at home, and running a lunchtime workshop on dealing with stress.Encourage learning skillsUse Learning at Work Day to helpemployees recognise how they learn best. The Campaign for Learning recommendsusing its Learning Climate quiz to assess the learning culture within anorganisation. More information is available from the Campaign’s Call Centres.  It also wants to see a greater emphasis onindividual learning plans and learning diaries.  Boost computer abilitiesThe day brings a useful opportunityto encourage competence and confidence in computer skills.  If you have a systems department, hold atraining event on how your organisation’s systems work or you could try alunchtime skill-swap session at which people share useful  techniques. Organisations that benefited from this approach in the past includeCoventry City Council, whose staff were offered free taster sessions by ICTCentre at Coventry Central Library, and the Benefits Agency, which organisedsessions including learning about the internet.Coach financial awarenessMany people lack confidence aboutfinancial matters, whether its calculating VAT or balancing budgets.  The Campaign for Learning suggests offeringguidance to savings, investments, insurance and tax or even facilitatingnumeracy with taster sessions such as Working With Numbers and BudgetingBasics, which can be found on the learndirect website, www.learndirect.co.uk  Last year some companies held lunchbreaksessions for their staff such as “Payslips Explained”.Easyaccess to learning resourcesLanguagesFree online French, German andItalian language courses will be available from iLearn.To on Learning at WorkDay.  Online French andSpanish courses are also available from Encarta Language Learning.  www.iLearn.Tohttp://languagemsn.com/learn_main.aspCommunication coursesFree access to online communicationand interpersonal courses is being offered by Skillsoft on Learning at WorkDay. The e-learning provider is offering free access to courses such as TheMany Faces of Communication and The Customer-Driven Organisation.Free guides oncommunicating in plain English are also available from the Plain English Campaign.  www.plainenglish.co.uk   www.skillsoft.comFinancial awarenesslearndirect and the Plain EnglishCampaign offer activities in this area, including budgeting and pensions.  www.learndirect.co.uk  www.plainenglish.co.ukComputer skillsBBC WebWise is an online,step-by-step guide to the basics of the Internet. It is a comprehensive 10-hourcourse with in-built, online assessment .  www.bbc.co.uk/becomingwebwise  www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/campaign/learningLearning abilityThe Campaign for Learning offersmaterial such as The Smarter Learning Guide and A Learning Diary Template,based on Peter Honey’s Learning Log. These are available from the Campaign’scall centre on 0117 966 7755. The charity is also making its Learning for Workseries of work books available at 40 per cent off the normal prices and thisspecial offer is accessible through the website.  www.campaign-for-learning.org.ukVirtual universitiesEmployers who are interested inexploring the potential of e-learning can take advantage of Learning at WorkDay sponsors iLearn.To’s special offer to create their own virtual university.Once organisations have set up their own online corporate university, employeeswill have unlimited access to all iLearn.To courses for a fee of just £25 each.Trying for a job-swapFor tips on getting involved in ajob-shadow or swap contact Webswappers.  www.webswappers.comStress managementOpportunities for stress managementsessions throughout 17 May are being offered by friendly-ear.com. Channel 4 isdiscussing the origins of stress during the week.  www.friendly-ear.com http://stress.channel4.com/ Previous Article Next Article Countdown to Learning at Work DayOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. UK tackles skills shortages with refugee programmeOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Managed migration is the key to meeting skills shortages and developing aneffective asylum system in the UK, Home Secretary David Blunkett has announced.The UK government launched its Highly Skilled Migrant programme on 28January, which will increase the number of well-qualified staff permitted towork in the UK. Blunkett said: “We must have managed migration and inward migrationpolicies to make sure those seeking work here or escaping persecution elsewhereare manageable within the social cohesion of the UK.” He added: “Offering alternative routes [to claiming political asylum]seems to me a prerequisite to getting the rest of the programme right.” Other economic migration initiatives include changing work permit proceduresto make extension easier, and increasing the period of validity of the permitsfrom four to five years. A new scheme will allow seasonal and less skilled workers to secure permits,and overseas graduates will now be able to apply for a work permit directlyfollowing their studies. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more


first_imgBack problems have a nasty tendency to become chronic and the outcome isheavily dependent on the attitude of the patient and the healthcareprofessional. Unhelpful beliefs must be challenged and individuals involved intheir own recovery programme, by Dr Grahame Brown Disability attributable to back pain in people of working age is one of themost spectacular failures of modern health care in the industrialised world.Its greatest impact is on the lives and families of those affected. However, italso has a major effect on industry through absenteeism and avoidable costs, onsocial security costs and on pension schemes. This article looks at ways inwhich health care professionals can reduce the risk of adding to this massivepersonal, social and economic burden when individuals present with thecomplaint of back pain. All healthcare professionals involved in managing people with back pain mustbe familiar with a paradigm shift in thinking about this problem with thepublication of Waddell’s The Back Pain Revolution.1 However, attitudes, beliefsand behaviour must change in healthcare professionals as well as patients, andfrequently it is the former who are more resistant to change. A recent evidence review from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, London2highlights our current state of knowledge and makes recommendations that areessential reading for any OH professional. It is clear that attempts over the past few decades (supported bylegislation) to prevent back pain occurring in the workplace (primaryprevention) have been unsuccessful. These methods have been largely based onthe injury model of back pain (for example, manual-handling training) andconcentrate on the orthodox, disease model of medicine. The only evidence todate that activity in the workplace aimed at primary prevention has had anyeffect on outcomes that matter to individuals and employers is the promulgationof information that challenges attitudes and beliefs based on acognitive-behavioural model.3-5 At present, these methods, and secondary andtertiary prevention strategies, provide the most effective means of reducingthe risk of costly chronicity and disability. Treatment aims The goals are to prevent disability and chronicity developing. OccupationalHealth professionals are in an ideal position to see workers who are havingdifficulty with back pain early in the course of events and to influencepositively the outcome. The first consultation a person troubled by back pain has with a health careprofessional is probably the most important. It will either set that person onthe road to recovery and restoration of function or, as happens all too often,it will precipitate despair, depression and disability. So, at this importantstage, it is helpful for the health care professional to have in mind a fewimportant facts and questions: – The complaint of back pain affects everyone at some time, with 90 per centof us experiencing significant interference with daily activities for at least48 hours at some time in our lives. And 40 per cent will experience recurringproblems with our backs – Psychosocial factors may operate at different stages in the developmentand perpetuation of low back pain. These factors may have precipitated thefirst consultation for the complaint. Often, unfortunately, causation iswrongly attributed to what the person was physically doing when firstcomplaining of symptoms. It is important to know the risk factors forchronicity and disability – Make an initial assessment of the clinical problem: Is it ‘simple back pain’,nerve root pain or is there possible serious pathology? If there are anysymptoms that give cause for alarm, for example, age of onset less than 20 orgreater than 55 years, or the presence of constant progressive pain, thepatient should be referred promptly to a surgeon. Referring a patient willensure laboratory tests, including full blood count, sedimentation rate andbiochemistry screen are performed to rule out occult pathology – Ask yourself the question: “What can I do right now to reduce the riskof this person becoming disabled or a chronic sufferer?” Most often thiswill not involve skilled physical treatments but will be achieved by reducinganxiety and emotional arousal, challenging unhelpful attitudes and beliefs,providing positive information and involving individuals in their own recoveryprogramme. Giving the person a copy of The Back Book4 to read is likely to bevery effective The interview with the patient is vitally important. Remember threefunctions of the medical interview: – Establish rapport: Greet the patient warmly and by name. Listen activelyand reflectively. Detect and respond to emotional cues – Collect data: Do not interrupt the patient. Use open questions first andcollect accurate information with closed questions later. Elicit patient’sexplanatory model. Develop a shared understanding – Negotiate and agree a management plan. Provide information. Usereassurance appropriately. Make links. Negotiate behaviour change An interview conducted in this way can be very therapeutic in itself. Thisperson-centred (as compared with a purely disease-based) approach improvesoutcomes that matter to patients, shortens follow up and reduces unnecessaryinvestigations. Physical treatments OH departments do not normally provide physical treatment services, but someuse in-house physiotherapists, or osteopaths. It is important to target thisservice where it is most likely to be effective for the patient andeconomically viable for the organisation. For example, after 12 weeks’ sickness absence, figures show that 25 per centof workers with low back pain will never return and this figure increases to 50per cent by 26 weeks off. When the goal is to reduce long-term sickness absence, it therefore appearsthat the group of workers to whom available resources are best targeted arethose who are off work for between four and 12 weeks. Interventions provided tothose who are at work but struggling are arguably no less important to helpthem remain functioning. Those at work and coping with nuisance symptoms notinterfering with their ability to work are a low priority. Some form ofpriority has to be given when resources are insufficient to meet demand. Whatever the course of treatment for low back pain, or any other regionalpain problem, it is worth remembering that if it is not beginning to make anyuseful difference to the patient, as shown by improved function, by, at themost, six treatments, it is not working. Reassess, review the obstacles torecovery and do something different. Prolonging ineffective treatments is verydamaging to the psychological well-being of the patient. Much can be done and begins at the first consultation. Some important pointsare: – Encourage a return to work as soon as possible; there is no need to waituntil all the pain has gone – Make a return to normal work the goal: this reinforces the belief in thepatient that normality can be achieved. It also, and vitally, reducesfear-avoidance beliefs and behaviour – Use a fixed period for return to work, with a gradual increase in activityand responsibility to help achieve a return to normal activities. This must betime-limited, with goals set and reviews arranged. Some form of temporaryrestrictions may be helpful, but must be time-limited. It is a mistake to allowrestrictions to depend on ‘how the patient feels’: this encourages pain andillness behaviour and only creates more problems in the future, which are evenmore difficult to solve – Use treatments that facilitate active rehabilitation and that do notinterfere with it – Consider short spells in functional restoration programmes for those whohave demonstrated a commitment to work hard to improve their functionalcapacity, but are having difficulty. These excellent (but expensive) programmesshould not be used, however, in the hope that they can magically motivate aperson who has learned helplessness, is depressed, is focused on compensationissues of whatever nature or who has no belief that their quality of life oroccupational status can be improved – Support and encourage the person through the difficulties and setbacksthat will inevitably occur. OH professionals are in an ideal position to dothis – Consider redeployment or severance only when all reasonable attempts havebeen made to rehabilitate to normal work. Healthcare professionals not trainedin OH frequently advise patients, who mention during a consultation that theyare experiencing difficulties at work with back pain, to give up or findalternative work. The consequences are not discussed and are often devastatingto the individual, especially those with limited transferable skills – Liaise with all health care professionals involved in the case. Beprepared to take a lead in case management. Seek other opinions if you believe thepatient will benefit Summary The causes of low back pain are multifactoral, and management is multimodal.Psychosocial factors strongly influence presentation and outcome at all stagesand are no less important, even in the presence of clearly identifiable spinalpathology. These psychosocial factors, particularly, are amenable to intervention inthe occupational setting. Excellent communication and consulting skills must bea goal for all healthcare professionals. Learning the skills of brief, solution-focusedcounselling will improve your outcomes and job satisfaction. References 1. Waddell G (1998) The Back Pain Revolution. Churchill Livingstone, London 2. Occupational Health Guidelines for the Management of Low Back Pain atWork: Evidence review and recommendations. (2000) Faculty of OccupationalMedicine, London. 3. Buchbinder R, Jolley D, Wyatt M (2001) Population-based intervention tochange back pain beliefs and disability: Three part evaluation. BMJ,322:1516-1520. 4. Symonds TL, Burton AK, Tillotson KM, Main CJ (1995) Absence resultingfrom low back trouble can be reduced by psychosocial interventions at theworkplace. Spine, 20: 2738-2745. 5. Roland M, Waddell G, Moffett JK, Burton AK, Main CJ, Cantrell E, (1997)The Back Book. The Stationary Office, Norwich. Further information Musculoskeletal (orthopaedic) physicians: The British Institute of Musculoskeletal Medicine, 34 The Avenue, Watford,Herts, WD17 4AH 01923 220999, www.bimm.org.ukPhysiotherapists and doctors The Society of Orthopaedic Medicine, 6 Court View Close, Lower Almondsbury,Bristol, BS32 4DW 01454 610255, www.soc-ortho-med.orgWorkshops, seminars and courses on brief, solution-focused effectivecounselling and communication skills: suitable for all healthcareprofessionals: MindFields College, Church Farm, Chalvington, East Sussex, BN27 3TD 01323 811440 www.mindfields.org.uk/humangivensDr Grahame Brown BSc MRCGP DipSportsMed AFOM HGdip FFSEM(RCSI)is amusculoskeletal (orthopaedic) and sports physician and specialist inoccupational and psychological medicine at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHSTrust, Birmingham. He is hon. senior clinical lecturer at The Institute of OccupationalHealth, the University of Birmingham, and consultant to the occupational healthteam at Land Rover vehicles and to a number of professional sports teams andmusicians. He integrates a variety of orthodox and selected complementary treatmentsand therapies into patient management. [email protected] 1: Psychosocial key points– Psychological factors have aconsiderable influence on pain and disability, and a stronger influence onoutcome than biomedical factors– The shift from medical to bio-psychosocial models of illnesshighlights the major importance of psychological factors– Important factors are distress, beliefs and attitudes, painbehaviour and pain-coping strategies– Psychological factors in response to acute pain arepredictive of chronic incapacity– There needs to be a redirection from investigations into thenature of pain towards obstacles to recovery– Distress at and confusion about previous treatments have apowerful influence on a patient’s reaction to pain and disability– There is an urgent need to develop the integration ofpsychological perspectives into the clinical practice of all health careprofessionals– Better management of psychological reactions at early stagesof treatment has the potential to reduce distress and prevent unnecessarychronicityBox 2: Psychosocial warning signsAttitudes and beliefs about pain– Pain is always harmful– Pain must be abolished before return to activity– Catastrophising, ie, thinking the worst, misinterpretingbodily symptoms– Belief that pain is uncontrollable– Passive attitude to rehabilitationBehaviours– Withdrawal from normal activities, substituted withnon-productive time – Poor compliance with exercise. All-or-nothing approach toexercise– Reliance on aids or appliances– Substance abuse, especially smoking and alcoholEmotion– Fear of pain– Depression– Anxiety, irritability, distress, post-traumatic stress– Fear of moving (kinaesiophobia)– Learned helplessness and hopelessness– Anger– All of the above are states of high emotional arousal andwill manifest with sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment (typicallyblack-or-white, all-or-nothing thinking patterns) and physiological symptomsDiagnosis and treatment – Health professionals sanctioning disability– Conflicting opinions and advice, accepting opinions as fact– Behaviour of health professionals, dependency on treatments,over-controlling therapists– Prolonged courses of passive treatments that clearly are notworking– Advice to give up work– Over-reliance on investigations, dramatisation and medicallabelling: ‘arthritis in the spine’, ‘crushed discs’, ‘trapped nerves’, ‘giveup work or you will end up in a wheelchair’Family– Over-protective partner, emphasising fear avoidance andcatastrophising– Solicitous behaviour from spouse– Socially punitive responses from spouse, eg, ignoring– Lack of support– Cultural beliefs and behavioursCompensation issues– Lack of incentive to return to work– History of claims for other health problems– Disputes over eligibility – “How can you get better ifyou have to prove you are ill?”– Persistent focus on ‘diagnosis’ and cause rather restorationof function and health– Ill health retirement benefit issues– Previous experience of ineffective case managementWork– Poor job satisfaction, feels unsupported, frequent job changes– Poor relationship with managers, supervisors, co-workers– Belief that work is harmful– Minimal availability of selected or alternative duties, or agraduated return to work, “Don’t come back until you are totally better”– Low socio-economic status– Job involves significant biomechanical demands– Stress at work: eg, relationships, perceptions, bullyingCase historyAlison, a 50-year old lady, had beenpresenting to health care professionals with back pain and a variety ofdisturbed sensations for the best part of two years. She had had some troublewith her back for many years, but was feeling much more pain now and the painwas gradually getting worse. She was starting to take off a significant amount of time fromher job as a secretary in a large organisation. Spells of absence up to fourweeks at a time were accumulating, totalling 11 weeks during the previous year.She had no symptoms of serious pathology and no nerve rootpain. She had gained weight in the past year. Various courses of physiotherapyhad failed to make any difference to the pain or disability, and blood tests,including thyroid function, arranged by her GP, were negative. The GP did notknow what to do next and asked for an opinion. Importantly, the patient had notcome to the attention of occupational health staff.The patient had been told in the past that she had arthritis inher spine and had been advised to give up swimming, as breast stroke can onlymake this worse (another of the nonsense myths circulating about back pain).Her sleep pattern was very disrupted and she was feeling low in her mood. Heremployer was supportive, but she sensed that this might not always be the case.There did not appear to be any obvious problems at work or at home. I was curious to find out what life events had occurred twoyears ago at the time when she started to present with back pain. It did nottake long to discover that her mother her died. Non-verbal cues indicated thatshe was still grieving and her sleep disturbance had started at the time of herbereavement. Physical examination revealed nothing more than segmentalstiffness in the upper lumbar region.I explained to her that heightened emotional arousal, reflectedin the poor sleep quality, had served to raise her sense of somatic awarenessand lower her tolerance to pain and discomfort. A simple explanation of themind-body system was sufficient to reassure her. I acknowledged her grief andencouraged her to talk more about her feelings with her husband over the comingweeks. Advice to stop exercising and instilling fears of disease had only madematters worse. Her X-rays had merely shown age-related changes. Her back washurting because of excessive muscle tension crimping joints tight and her backwas out of condition. Simple and brief solution-focused counselling on that onevisit was sufficient to break the cycle of pain and depression. I advised herto return to the physical activities that gave her pleasure. I did not think thatany further physical treatments would serve any useful purpose in this case.The whole consultation took no more than 45 minutes.At review six weeks later her depressed mood had lifted, hersleep was refreshing, she was enjoying swimming and her weight was coming off.She was much more positive about her work. And coincidentally, the back painwas now only an ache she could manage with. All her other distressing symptomshad vanished. She felt confident enough to request no further follow up ortreatment.   Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Back to workOn 1 Nov 2002 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts: HR must act to sew up contracts covering employee travel abroadOn 1 Jun 2003 in Coronavirus, Personnel Todaycenter_img HR practitioners should review and reinforce their contractual mobilityclauses in light of recent world events, warn advisers. The likelihood of disputes arising from overseas travel has increased due toglobal threats such as terrorism, political instability and SARS outbreak. A poll conducted by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development(CIPD) last month found HR practitioners responsible for managing globalassignments and overseas relocation do not expect activity to stop, despitesuch threats. Less than one per cent said they would be cancellinginternational staff transfers and just six per cent would impose temporaryholds. “The key risk for an employer is of an employee jumping ship followingan instruction to travel, resigning and claiming constructive dismissal byreason of a breakdown in trust and confidence,” said David Morgan,employment partner at Burness. “They may be able to argue that foreigntravel was not, in practice, a contractual requirement.” Employers may be partic-ularly at risk from claims where employees travelinfrequently, as they could argue that “custom and practice” meansany contractual mobility clause is negated, he added. It is vital to ensure overseas mobility provisions are enshrined inemployees’ contracts with their consent, following consultation, Morganadvised, and remind staff in writing of existing contractual provisions ifnecessary. Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a…last_img read more


first_imgA phenomenal amount of blood, sweat and tears have gone into establishingdiversity and equality schemes across the UK. The effort, investment andcommitment among many public and private employers have been impressive in sucha short space of time. But what difference has it made to progressing towards more diverse andequitable workplaces? Judging by the latest damning Commission for RacialEquality report, it has had little impact on the police, with more than 90 percent of their race-equality schemes failing to meet minimum legal requirements.The private sector is also grappling with the practicalities. There has beena plethora of creative initiatives, but achieving culture shifts andmainstreaming diversity and equality into organisational structures is provinga hard nut to crack. There’s been success in getting business leaders to authorise and sponsoractivity, but we still have a long way to go in getting line managers toreinforce and own it. Chucking diversity training at the problem may have beenthe response by certain less than committed constabularies, but it is quiteobviously not the answer. Industry chiefs understandably want to know how much transformation hasoccurred down the line on race and equality because the development money theyhave put in isn’t instantly recognisable on the ground. For the police, improvements have not been substantial in the past fiveyears since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, and good intentions haven’t beenmatched by sufficient action. In the private sector, the big challenge isbuilding diversity and equality strategies into business plans and performancemeasures, and then assessing the impact on organisational results. Line managers, as always, are the key to embedding new behaviours into thewiring and plumbing of an organisation. They often want to respond positivelyto diversity and equality, but need help in addressing it properly with theright skills. Some are disadvantaged twice over when they are led by seniormanagement teams who are at best neutral about it, and at worst, see it as aload of nonsense. ‘Stealth racism’ is emerging as a new term to describe those who areprejudiced, but know how to hide it and avoid breaking the law. Clearly, we’reentering a new tough phase in tackling racism. Zero tolerance is the onlysensible response if the Race Relations Act is to mean anything at all. By Jane King, editor Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Achieving equality was never going to be easyOn 22 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_imgNibsOn 1 Aug 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. OH covers ages 16-65 In her talk on developing a work culture that supports health and wellbeing,Greta Thornbory, chair of the confer-ence and Occupational Health’s consultingeditor (above), said that OH has a captive audience between the ages of 16 to65. It must therefore make efforts to identify and work with relevantstakeholders to develop an effective health and wellbeing strategy. This meansrecognising the contribution that each person can make and leading the way forothers to follow. Go to www.healthpromotionagency.org.uk/workwell.menu.htm Individual liability If there is an action for negligence within your company, you as anindividual can be called and even prosecuted, warned Siobhan Donnelly, apartner in the firm of Donnelly and Kinder Solicitors. During a talk oncompliance with the law, she talked delegates through some of the legal issuesthat may impact on OH, ranging from workplace accidents to claims for stresscaused by work. And when it comes to rehabilitation, she advised, courts alwayswant to see if lines of communication were kept open with absent staff, whichagain, is often the remit of OH. Thousands ill in NI It is estimated that as many as 70,000 people in Northern Ireland suffer illhealth as a result of work, while 1,000 employees are off work every day, and60 per cent of adults have a weight problem, said Russell Slack, riskmanagement consultant at Ask Uz. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article Psychology: how to spot the bulliesOn 28 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today Most people in management recognise that there are times when it is necessary to pressure people and drive them to perform. But what is the difference between this kind of behaviour – which may seem harsh to the recipient – and actual bullying? Neutral observers would generally agree that ‘driving behaviour’ is often motivated by positive considerations, such as the need to deliver. Bullying behaviour, on the other hand, often seems gratuitous, with no obvious motivation other than to cause pain and humiliation and satisfy something in the mind of the bully.Bullying behaviourBased on scientific research and professional experience, the following are classic signs of bullying behaviour, as opposed to driving behaviour:– Uncontrolled anger and unpredictable irritability, frequently directed at the weakest people (‘safe targets’) or those perceived as a future threat– A sociopathic ability to control their own image – the selective ability to look like a different person to different audiences – for example, being aggressive to ‘subordinates’, while being charming and helpful to others– Having little status outside of work, bullies wield the power that their job gives them with vicious zeal– Running ‘witch-hunts’– Gratuitous domineering behaviour – sometimes physical– The ability to make the unreasonable seem reasonable, even to the victim– Projecting their own inadequacies onto others– Making irrational accusations– Publicly putting people down– Sadistic enjoyment in humiliating othersMany bullies do not see themselves as such. So what is going on in their minds, and how can organisations successfully manage this seemingly growing phenomenon?Bullying mentalityResearch and experience suggests that the following are common features of the bullying mentality:– Underlying feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and a fear of ‘being found out’– Fear that their status is based on their position, rather than their own qualities– Being in the wrong job (fearing that they are ‘not up to it’)– Authoritarian personality characteristics– Excessive use of defence mechanisms, such as projection, rationalisation, displacement and denial– An inability to accept or engage with their own shortcomings– Trying to ‘right wrongs’ – taking revenge on innocent people for perceived wrongs done to them– Boosting their own ego by undermining other people– Feeling a need to crush people whom they perceive as a threat to their precarious statusOrganisations have changed beyond recognition over the past few decades. Some of these changes can actually contribute to bullying. For example, flatter structures have led to the loss of the ‘safety’ provided by traditional hierarchies, which has created a need in some to establish their supremacy by other means.Outsourcing has caused pressure to perform, and a lack of clarity about reporting lines. Career paths are now less structured, so there can be more pressure on people to jockey for position. And virtual teams create ambiguity, which makes it easier for people to get away with bullying.What’s the solution?A recommended approach to getting the best from people and combating bullying is based on the following principles:– Create a culture that supports people, in which bullying is neither rewarded not tolerated– Drive an understanding across the organisation that bullying leads to poor performance– Sift out potential bullies during the recruitment process (by looking for the characteristics outlined above)– Reward managers for clear examples of empathy and inclusion – Coach for inclusiveness– Create open channels of communication across all levels– Encourage the most senior people to be genuinely sympathetic– Never mollify bullies.Dr Sue Henley and Ed Hurst are directors at Saville Consulting UK Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more


first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. BobWatson, group HR director at private healthcare provider Bupa, pounded the streets of Newcastleto raise money for Cancer Research at the recent Great North Run. Regular roadruns and going to the gym twice a week was Watson’s preparation for the 13.1-milerun, which he completed in a time of 2hrs 25mins. He ran alongside 47,000others at the event on 26 September.Watsonwill be speaking at the ‘HR Strategy for Competitive Advantage’ conference,sponsored by Personnel Today and LexisNexis, on 18 November.Tobook for the event at London Marriott Hotel Marble Arch, call 020 7347 3573. Bupa HR chief shows a competitive spiritOn 5 Oct 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Recent Comments