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Case Study – Spantech

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Case Study – Spantech
You are the newly appointed Human Resource Manager at Spantech. You are concerned about the levels of work-related illnesses and absenteeism and want to make improvements. Write a report to the Managing Director in which you outline your suggestions for improving both health and safety in the workplace and in which you also draw the Managing Director’s attention to relevant legislation relating to this.

The best way to sort out effectively a problem is for sure identify the causes, analyse the situation and eventually find a solution. The main problems Spantech has to face every day are linked to the absenteeism of the workers, the lack of communication between employees and managers-supervisors, the huge amount of work and stress and finally the unappropriated way of giving appraisals. The workforce is not motivated to improve its own performance and there are discipline problems, no morale and grumbles about the job conditions. Disciplinary procedures are ineffective and a lot of managers/supervisors, left their workplace to join competitors. All these factors indicate that there’s a huge problem at the basis of the system that has to be sorted out. In order to improve the performance of the company and save the situation, the only solution is the one of improving morale and discipline between workers and finding ways to motivate them. A stressful atmosphere can motivate the workforce, which is put under pressure and pushed to perform at the best of its abilities; by the way an excess of stress is dangerous both for the well-being of the potential employee and for the work atmosphere. It leads to an insane competition and a negative communication between employees: absenteeism is one of the natural consequences of stressful work conditions.
In Spantech workers live an inconvenient, discomfort situation, where more that he 80% of the employees are hired part-time and payed on the basis of the quantity and quality of their phone calls. In the past few years the work has doubled and the workforce trudges to face effectively the huge amount of work, causing an accumulation of stress. Furthermore, some random phone calls are controlled and registered and this put the employee in a condition of constant anxiety, also because the feedbacks are given in a harsh and rude way, that for sure do not encourage the workforce to improve its performance.
First of all is important to address some amelioration to employees’ conditions providing relaxation training, resilience training, psychological counselling, time management skills and stress management training; those treatments can help staff to find solution to stress management and better deal with work and personal issues. Those programs inform workers on the nature of stress, and the possible forms under which they can bump into it, the effects of stress that could affect the health of workers, and provide advices/skills to reduce it. The main purpose of those course is for sure reducing quickly the condition of stress that could appear under the shapes of bad temper, sleep problems and constant anxiety. Those methods are hyper effective and easy to implemented in the workplace.
Then it’s important to focus over the working atmosphere and its climate conditions. Identifying which are the sources of stress and reducing or eliminating them are the better solution to sort out directly the problem. In this way the problem would be solved from its roots and would not occur again in the future. Even if this method more effective is less appreciated by managers which would be directly involved in changes such as work schedules and routines or modification of their roles in the organisational structure.
Managers should do everything in the limits of their capabilities to prevent extreme stress condition in their workplace. Competent managers are aware of the fact that a good work climate would improve the performance of the organisation. (University, Deakin, Last updated: March 7, 2016 (10:08am))
For instance, providing some training course to manage huge amount of work and re-distribute in a more efficient way the work between the employees would reduce and in some cases avoid at all stress and injuries caused by repetitive movements such as strain injuries.
What can they do practically to avoid stressors? First of all, identifying those factors that could be harmful for the wellbeing of the employees and promote the wellbeing of the workforce.
Managers should treat respectfully the employees, monitor their performances and reward them when necessary, review what can be implementation and provide continuous improvements. If employees are motivated and are given an adequate feedback from someone competent and respected by the work force, this would push them to perform always better. Improved communication channels between employees and managers/supervisors and mutual esteem between co-workers implement the successful outcome of the performance.
Spantech has a huge problem to face. managers are failing to manage adequately the workforce who finds herself in a stressful climate. This is due to the fact that supervisors and managers do not have the adequate knowledge to sort out those kinds of problems cause of the fact that they didn’t attend training courses over the revision of performances and the formulation of good appraisals, necessary for the good outcome of the employees and about the right way of communicating those feedbacks. They are underestimating this this issue and they are convinced not to be the primary cause of the bad outcome of the workforce and of the entire organisation. For this reason, managers should be trained and take care of the health condition of their employees. Then it could be crucial also to provide coaching courses of communication for managers: supervisors would find inspirational how effective their performance could be with the right tools and channels of communication. This would limit conflict inside the organisation. Then, improving the communication between managers and workers, could ameliorate the work climate, reducing the stress. Employees has to be given the possibility of give feedbacks about their bosses and is important that they feel themselves integrated and a fundamental part of the organisational structure of the company: in this way they will be convinced that good outcomes for the company mean good outcomes for themselves and this can push them to perform at the best of their abilities.  Motivation
Managers in Spantech have to respect the staff, to involve them, in the limit of possible, in future decisions, to make them feel a sense of belonging to the company, reward them appropriately, give them appropriate appraisals, tell them your plans and collect their consents, gather feedbacks and advices from employees that should have a clear communication channel, such as a bowl where to put advices written on pieces of paper and eventually monitor and revise the performance of the company periodically.
Managers should pay attention to the staff habits and notice unusual behaviours such as absenteeism; they should be open to listen to the workforce, above all if they’re complaining about the work condition (otherwise if they have the chance they would leave their job position, as some managers and supervisors has already done in Spantech to join the competition). They should pay attention also if they notice that the climate between the co-workers has become conflictual or stressful. Try to find put the causes of these unusual situations and do not ignore them. Be true to yourself and accept that those misbehaviours could be caused because of you. Discuss those problems with you staff as a team or individually if you’re able to identify the elements who are finding themselves in stressful conditions. Provide training course to manage stress and give to the employees the possibility to express themselves. Once identified the stress sources, do what’s in your ability to reduce the stress conditions as much as possible. Offer support or assistance to your workers if necessary: this could really make the difference!
The main existing causes of absenteeism are an abnormal amount of illness or an abuse of the system: workers declare themselves sick to avoid work even if they're perfectly healthy. This second cause is the one which is occurring in Spantech and is caused because of the high level of stress at work. In the case of Spantech the main reasons of absenteeism could be: Personal issues caused by stress; issue and conflictual climate in the workplace, which could also cause stress-related illness; inexistent satisfaction and motivation for the work they’re supposed to do and disengagement; absence of rewards which stimulate the good outcome of workers. (Reducing Sick Leave: Decreasing Absenteeism… and its Costs, s.d.)

Become aware of the problem and offer solutions such as offering certain rewards for those employees who have a perfect attendance and avoid absenteeism. Educate new employees about company policies and make them respect the rules. If some changes in the existing policies occur, educate every member of your association to the new rule.
Provide training for managers who would be able to manage absenteeism and educate at the best of their ability the staff.
Consider the possibility of provide to workers some more days of vacation, as part of their annual benefits, if they perform appropriately over the year.
Let you workers be convinced that you care about their situation and listen to them if needed. Use a compassionate approach so that you will able to manage effectively employees’ absenteeism. Be available to answer to questions and make polices clear. Then it’s important that polices are applied and respected equally by everybody. Work together with your staff to find potential solution to absenteeism problems.
Take in consideration your workers' needs, so that the entire workforce would be more dedicated and committed.
If workers are aware of their rights, have the possibility to complain through communication channels and receive rewards for good performances and not just harsh feedback, they would behave in a more disciplined way: they would feel the sense of belonging who would push them to perform at the best of their abilities, avoiding disrespectful behaviours such as working under the effects of alcohol.
If the work climate and condition are good, workers would be happy to work together and a peaceful environment would be established inside the company. Furthermore, if both the company and workers share the same values such as respect between each other and loyalty, soon the moral behaviour of the employees would increase. If the worker is happy in his condition and find themselves in comfortable situation they will behave in an appropriate way that would benefit the company’s performance.

Suggested ways of reward:
 Give employees the possibility to expose to the bosses a personal project to improve the job conditions.
 Write a handwritten note where you thank the best employees for their performances
 Provide some extra vacation days to the ones who never miss a workday
 Give to the ones who performed well a public thank you in front of their colleagues
 Allow them to be flexible with their timetable if they do deserve it
 Create a honour list to show on a “Wall of Fame” where the names of the most deserving are written.
 Provide promotions and new job titles
 Offer a relax-room, where meritorious employees can go on their break to relax and have fun
 Provide interesting training courses to those who perform well.

All those methods are cheap and easy to be realized, but eventually will be crucial for the good performance of the employees of Spantech and their motivation!

Reducing Sick Leave: Decreasing Absenteeism… and its Costs. (s.d.). Tratto da
University, Deakin. (Last updated: March 7, 2016 (10:08am)). Managers role in the risk management of workplace stress. Tratto da

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