Worker Retention Starts with Easing Employee Stress and Strain

Worker Retention Starts with Easing Employee Stress and Strain

Employees are leaving worksites in droves—finding ways to give workers ownership of their safety and health could help retention.

Giving two-week notice is no longer a rare courtesy, it is a frequent occurrence in workplaces across America. Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shared that 4.3 million Americans, just under three percent of the whole workforce, left their jobs in August this year. Referred to as the Great Resignation, this exodus is affecting almost every industry.

Although the economy is recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic, alongside a rise in vaccinations, the number of new available jobs is in a tired slump. Employees are choosing to leave their jobs for a multitude of various reasons. Experts around the country are trying to detangle the motives behind this surging movement.

The narrative behind the Great Resignation, is not just a tale of employees leaving their job for greener pastures. It is become a story of pent-up demand for hiring new workers. Statistics show that these trends are mostly affecting blue collar workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that individuals working in trade, transportation and utilities are in the top sectors of jobs affected by resignations. Manufacturing, construction, mining and logging are not far behind.

It is also important to address the statistics we cannot yet uncover, the ones brewing in the minds of workers across the country. It is the workers contemplating leaving the job that employers need to be mindful of. Recently, CNBC and global gender equality firm Catalyst, presented a report titled, “The Great Work/Life Divide” in which they discovered that almost 50 percent of employees are thinking about quitting their job. The report also provides some eye-opening insight:

*41 percent of respondents were considering leaving their job because they believed employers did not care about their wellbeing.

*76 percent wanted their company to make work permanently flexible.

*A third of employees thinking about leaving their current job would be staying in the same industry These statistics and findings shed an informative light onto the struggles facing every employer and workplace. Amidst the tsunami of resignations, employers are beginning to wonder how they can retain employees and prevent losses. Employees who leave their job don’t simply wake up one morning and decide to quit. These workers reach a breaking point, after months of seemingly endless work-related strain and stress.

Success Starts with Discussion

Employers who hope to retain their workers need to establish an atmosphere and ethos of open communication between employees and management.  Employees want to know:

*Does this company/management care?

*Are coworkers caring?

*Does the company have values or a moral compass?

*Is my pay fair? *Is this work culture supportive?

*How can this role become more fulfilling?

Employers may believe these answers are obvious, known or unimportant. However, employees contemplating their desire to work within their current company are lacking the knowledge and support they need to continue clocking in and out.

Proactive Support

Hindsight can provide powerful motivation or guilt. Experiencing a response that is not aligned with our goals can feel devastating. Watching one of your most valued employees quit because they have experienced too much physical strain will make an employer wish they had resolved ergonomic problems before they became unsolvable.

Employers need to provide their employees with meaningful PPE. Amongst the wave of resignations, workers have an increasing desire to feel supported, seen and cared for by their managers. Catering to the wellbeing of employees demonstrates the care and compassion, many employees debate as they contemplate their desire to work.

One of the most common reasons for complaint in workplaces around the country are ailments that stem from incorrect or uncomfortable footwear. When workers are not provided the right type of shoe for the hazards present in their workplace, they can suffer common foot problems like blisters, plantar fasciitis and even arch issues that can result in long term leg or back pain.

Staying Light on Your Feet

One program that has proven effectiveness in increasing workplace wellness and safety, is an insole program. Seemly simplistic, this proactive approach to health and wellness can revolutionize a job-site, or workplace, from the ground up.

Industrial workers are accustomed to physically feeling the burden of the job. These workers are on their feet all day, working long hours, standing on hard and uneven surfaces, facing strenuous and potentially debilitating musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Implementing an insole program, offering clinically designed dual layer memory foam insoles, can give workers the necessary support that can prevent injuries, aches, pains and unnecessary workers compensation claims.

Offering employees supportive, comfortable and effective foot protection demonstrates a company’s focused desire to improve their experience within the workplace. Not only do anti-fatigue, dual layer memory foam insoles provide shock absorption and comfort, but it is PPE that acknowledges the stress and strain of the work employees face and speaks volumes about the values of the employer.

Allow for Choices

Employees are different and so are their preferences. When putting together a plan to protect workers’ feet and their overall comfort during their time at work, you will need to offer choices. Giving employees the ability to choose what works best for them, while also ensuring the types of hazards they will encounter are addressed, gives the employee ownership over their own safety and health.

While some employees will choose the original option, others may need additional protection for common foot problems like bunions, diabetic neuropathy or other underlying conditions. Be aware of these items and allow workers the ability to choose a layered protection approach that works for them.

Working Together

Leading with care and compassion is critical to successfully retaining employees. Management, HR and business leaders have a great responsibility to prevent those contemplating leaving their jobs, from actually doing so. Not only is it the only way to slow the Great Resignation, but it is a moral obligation to address the needs of a tired, over worked and stressed workforce. This is a time of great opportunity to strengthen workplace culture and change the course of a workplace to create a more meaningful experience for everyone.

This article originally appeared in the February 1, 2022 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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