Friday, December 23, 2011

Presenteeism and Workplace Well-being

Presenteeism — being at work when you shouldn't be, because although you are too tired or ill to be effective, you are too insecure about your job to stay away — is nearly as big a problem as absenteeism.

— Lisa O'Kelly, "Lonely life on the British treadmill," The Observer, July 31, 1994

What is presenteeism?

Some would argue that presenteeism can also be linked to compulsive overwork and workaholism, job security or rather job insecurity (concern about being replaced), and work devotion (organizational or company loyalty).

It may also be present in positions with heavy or increasing workloads and demands.

Whatever the cause, it affects both employee and organizational well-being and productivity.

Just as absenteeism has been a cause of concern for employers so too presenteeism is increasingly being recognized as an area requiring attention.

Wellness programs: What can they do?

Both public and private sector organizations should consider developing and implementing wellness programs for their employees which are aimed at increasing health and productivity, and reducing psychological distress and ill health.

Looking after your mental and physical health and achieving work-life balance can be difficult, and seemingly impossible at times.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Communicating When Stakes are High

Communication is easy when the risks are low but when the stakes are high, effective communication may be difficult and challenging.

What is high stakes communication?

We believe high stakes communication takes several forms. In a government context, it could involve communicating the benefits of a new policy that is viewed negatively by the public. It can also include the communication of a government position to the media in a crisis or high-profile situation, or it could mean having exchanges with stakeholders who are not pleased with a change in policies or procedures related to project funding. Whenever there is an issue that is difficult or the focus of attention, communication can involve high stakes both for organizations and for the individuals who work in them.

In many government departments and agencies, the workforce is experiencing rapid change, becoming even more diverse, experiencing a growing rate of retirements, and witnessing the quick movement of individuals into management positions.

In the context of strengthening and enabling leadership and of investing in the career development of employees, Y2CP believes that departments and agencies may wish to focus on talent management:

  • expanding and strengthening the competencies of their employees; and
  • facilitating the development and empowerment of the leaders of today and tomorrow.

We believe that the focus of high stakes communications training and development should be based on the following objective:

  • to allow employees to further develop and diversify their skills and knowledge through a well structured, competency-based development process — whether it is to assist them to reach more senior level positions or to become even more skilled at their substantive levels.