The power of pos­i­tiv­ity

Staff mem­bers are at the heart of any suc­cess­ful busi­ness and cru­cial to a healthy work­place, writes Nikki Brouw­ers

ABC (Australia) - - HEALTH AND WELLBEING - Nikki Brouw­ers The In­ter­act Group founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor p: 02 9460 2444 f: 02 9957 1000 e: nikki@ in­ter­act­

As busi­ness own­ers and man­agers, you will no doubt be aware of the cur­rent buzz around Net Pro­moter Score (NPS) and the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing a pos­i­tive cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

I know I cer­tainly am. An of­ten over­looked com­po­nent in this com­men­tary is the im­por­tance of start­ing with a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for staff.

As the say­ing goes, ‘home is where the heart is’, re­fer­ring to the af­fec­tion we have for a par­tic­u­lar place. I’m not pre­tend­ing that the work­place is a home, but we do want to en­gen­der pos­i­tive feel­ings in our staff when they think about their work­place and col­leagues. A happy team un­doubt­edly leads to a healthy busi­ness.

From a work­place health per­spec­tive, the im­por­tance of the work en­vi­ron­ment it­self, in­clud­ing col­leagues, su­per­vi­sors and job sat­is­fac­tion, is crit­i­cal to en­sur­ing pos­i­tive re­turnto-work out­comes for in­jured work­ers.

Ear­lier this year, I was in Can­berra pre­sent­ing at the Na­tional In­dus­trial Re­la­tions sem­i­nar hosted by the Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion on this very topic.

My pre­sen­ta­tion fo­cused on the im­por­tance of build­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of su­per­vi­sors and man­agers to im­prove re­turn to work out­comes fol­low­ing in­jury. It was based on Aus­tralian re­search from 2016 high­light­ing the huge in­flu­ence em­ploy­ers have on help­ing get people back to work and ul­ti­mately driv­ing good work­place and busi­ness out­comes.

This ground­break­ing re­search iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing fac­tors as key to im­proved re­turn-towork out­comes: • Sup­port­ive col­leagues • Timely con­tact from the em­ployer fol­low­ing the

in­jury • Un­der­stand­ing and sup­port from su­per­vi­sors.

All of these fac­tors speak to the fun­da­men­tal im­por­tance of re­spect for the em­ployer and the work­place, and much of this is re­flected in the be­hav­ior of a worker’s im­me­di­ate su­per­vi­sor or man­ager. The ques­tion we all need to ask our­selves is this: What do we do to iden­tify and fo­cus on these as suc­cess fac­tors?

For me, it’s the im­por­tance of do­ing the ‘lit­tle things’ right and putting my­self in the worker’s shoes to gain an un­der­stand­ing of what I would ex­pect if I were on a re­turn-to-work jour­ney. This means tak­ing the time to ex­plore what the per­son may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, be­ing open and trans­par­ent and dis­cussing what people can ex­pect, and keep­ing people in­formed and up­dated.

At In­ter­act, we call this a hu­man-cen­tered ap­proach with a fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing the right ser­vice, at the right time, in the right way. This ap­proach to work­place re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion has held us in good stead for the past 23 years and it’s all founded on get­ting the ba­sics right.

I would en­cour­age all of you to take this ap­proach with your work­ers fol­low­ing an in­jury. Not only will it con­trib­ute to a pos­i­tive work­place en­vi­ron­ment, it will give work­ers the con­fi­dence to re­cover at work know­ing they are sup­ported ev­ery step of the way.

“We want to en­gen­der pos­i­tive feel­ings in our staff when they think about their work­place and col­leagues”

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