Balancing the Act: ADCQ newsletter -

Creating happy, safe, productive workplaces:

This article -  'Creating happy, safe, productive workplaces: tips for creating positive, productive workplaces' - first appeared in Balancing the Act Issue 27, Summer 2009/10 page 4.

Most of us have worked in 'good' and 'bad' workplaces but few people take the time to think about what has made them this way. It feels great when the workplace is humming along nicely for owners, managers and staff. People arrive on time and ready for a day's work. Productivity and creativity are high, business is booming and you have happy and returning customers. Creating a safe and happy workplace is shown to have more than just economic benefits, and the opposite is true for the unhappy workplace.

Bosses have watched productivity drop while staff turnover rises, because of unhappiness in the workplace. There are many reasons for this, with some of the more common causes being harassment or discrimination in the workplace. A recent Gallup poll showed that job satisfaction was lowest when employees experienced discrimination and showed a direct relationship between loyalty, retention, and discrimination.

Discrimination comes at more than just an economic cost, with more and more evidence pointing to the hidden costs for businesses including damaged reputation, low staff morale and loss of creativity and innovation. In many workplaces this can lead to difficulty in getting people to work for you and unhappy customers.

There are simple ways for small and large organisations to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace and build a safe, productive and happy workplace.

Tips for creating positive, productive workplaces

  • Make sure that your policies are clear, to the point and are included in a real way in induction for staff and reinforced regularly. Policies are not worth the paper they are written on if they aren't remembered and understood.
  • All levels of management need to show support for your policies.
  • Display posters and brochures that promote an inclusive, discrimination free environment.
  • Provide education and training in the workplace.
  • Ensure all employers are aware of your grievance procedures; if you don't have one, develop one.
  • Encourage diversity in the workplace through your recruitment.
  • Avoid complaints resulting from work related social events by making sure all employees are aware of expected respectful behaviour before any event.

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