Madison Hanscom

Turnover and safety: How to prevent it

Turnover and safety


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

High turnover can be a safety concern. When there is a revolving door of employees coming in and out of the organization, this can create issues when it comes to sustaining a strong safety record. Because new employees come in without deep knowledge of the job, they are more likely to get into accidents. And it is not their fault — new hires are still gaining experience and training. You are only as good as the people on your job site, and if this is constantly changing, this can create safety boundaries. A small degree of turnover is warranted and keeps the culture stronger by weeding out people who are not a great fit, but if too many people are leaving, this is a sign something is wrong.

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Turnover and safety: How it hurts

Turnover and safety 2

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Many in safety have seen it firsthand - high turnover can be a safety concern. When there is a revolving door of employees coming in and out of the organization, this can create issues when it comes to sustaining a strong safety record. Because new employees come in without deep knowledge of the job, they are more likely to get into accidents. And it is not their fault — new hires are still gaining experience and training. You are only as good as the people on your job site, and if this is constantly changing, this can create safety boundaries. A small degree of turnover is warranted and keeps the culture stronger by weeding out people who are not a great fit, but if too many people are leaving, this is a sign something is wrong.

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Undergoing organizational change? Reflect on how involved your employees feel

safety during organizational change


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

As companies plan and administer major changes or interventions to improve occupational health and safety, a participatory approach can very well determine success or failure. When employees are involved in the process, their voices shape the program into something that is a better fit for the people and the culture. There is no reason a group of leaders far removed from the average worker should be creating change initiatives in isolation. This can lead to a program that is out of touch with what is needed by the people, and it can also hurt buy-in and momentum. Many researchers have shown that a participatory approach is an explanatory variable for a successful organizational intervention (1). It also is related to increased fairness and justice perceptions throughout the process.

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Giving better feedback for a safer workplace (part 3)

Feedback and safety Part 3

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

As discussed in
Part 1 of this blog series, feedback is a central component to safety. Conversations about safety are what motivate your people, fuel their growth, guide them in the right direction, inform future behavior, clarify expectations, and help them to attain goals. Although most of us know this from experiencing it in the field firsthand, researchers have shown that safety feedback can save lives. Delivering effective feedback can feel elusive, so check out the second blog in this series to revisit the foundation for providing great safety feedback to your people Part 2. Finally, below are some tips for giving better feedback for a safer workplace: Read More...

What does great safety feedback look like? (part 2)

Feedback and safety Part 2

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Leaders sometimes forget how fundamental it is to provide effective feedback. Fortunately, great feedback is pretty basic. First and foremost — it is specific. It targets someone’s safety behavior and not who they are as a person. For instance, if you tell someone they are too quiet and withdrawn, that is picking at their character (who they are as a person = hard to change) and not at their behavior (easier to change). Instead, you might let them know specifically what behavior they need to improve (“I would really appreciate it if you would speak up in pre-job brief meetings” ). This type of feedback is much less frustrating for the person on the receiving end because they are able to change something specific in order to improve. Second, great feedback includes details on how to develop (e.g., “If you could speak up in pre-job briefs each morning, even if it is just a brief comment that you understand the hazards, didn’t see anything unusual yesterday, and do not have anything else to add” ). It will include coaching that is specific and actionable for what to do in the future. Third, the timing is right. Great feedback doesn’t come a week after an employee does something great or poorly — it is immediate. People are more likely to change their behavior in the future if they receive feedback in close proximity to what they did that needs to change or continue. Fourth, the pace is right. It is not wise to rely on performance appraisal meetings to give feedback. This should be a more frequent process that includes both informal and formal components.
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Feedback and safety: The empirical case (part 1)

Feedback and safety Part 1

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Feedback is a central component to safety. Conversations about safety are what motivate your people, fuel their growth, guide them in the right direction, inform future behavior, clarify expectations, and help them to attain goals. There is no lack of empirical support to illustrate the importance of feedback in the safest workplaces. For instance, an intervention that increased the frequency in which leaders had safety-related interactions and feedback with their employees produced an impressive increase in PPE use (from 25% to 73% after the 8-week experiment) (1). These changes were still present when the researchers went back to the worksite and measured 5 months later, and there was also a significant decrease in injuries. In another study, researchers gave supervisors 2 individualized feedback sessions about how much they integrate safety and productivity-related issues in daily verbal exchanges (and were encouraged to increase the importance of safety messages during daily exchanges) (2). After the 12-week intervention phase, employees reported higher safety climate perceptions and safety behavior.
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E-Commerce is going to surge this holiday season. Are you thinking about the workers?

E-Commerce is going to surge this holiday season


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Online shopping has become a regular part of the holiday season. It is more convenient than ever to send gifts across the globe from retailers we trust. Recently we have experienced an added benefit to online shopping — social distancing. Now we can rely on home delivery to avoid contact with crowds of people on Black Friday, Super Saturday, Boxing Day, and after Christmas sales. Although this certainly brings a lot of positives, there are important considerations when it comes to occupational safety.

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Transformational Leadership: How it Matters for Organizational Change

Transformational Leadership


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Organizations must continually change and adapt in order to sustain improvement in this dynamic world. Without change, companies risk falling behind and losing the competitive edge. Researchers are developing a picture of what leads to successful change and what factors contribute to failure, because unsuccessful change can be disruptive and expensive. For example, it is known that having a proper diagnosis before the change, forming a clear vision, mobilizing energy, removing barriers, developing knowledge and skills for the change, setting goals, and implementing feedback are all crucial components of successful transformation. Another critical component is supportive leadership.

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Engagement and safety: Are they related?

Engagement and safety Are they related


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Employees are engaged when they feel energized, dedicated to their job, and absorbed in their work (1). Engaged employees give companies a competitive advantage because they are willing to go the extra mile. Engagement researchers have found that employee engagement is associated with less burnout and absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, less turnover, stronger organizational commitment, better job performance, and an improved service climate (2). In addition to the organizational benefits, engaged employees experience health benefits such as lower levels of anxiety and depression, higher levels of perceived physical health, and quicker recovery time from work (3).

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How to promote employee engagement in a safety context

How to promote employee engagement in a safety context

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

An engaged workforce has strong, positive effects on safety. Engaged employees are more willing to go the extra mile and take pride in their work, so it should be a goal for leaders to create an environment for engagement in order to promote a safer workplace. Consider the following when developing your plan to promote employee engagement in a safety context:
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Give them voice and listen: The power of pulse surveys

The power of pulse surveys

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Employees want an active voice in your company, and leadership should be interested in what they have to say. The people are the culture, and it is in the best interest of leadership to know their perspective. Because it is often difficult to touch base with every employee, organizational surveys are a great way to listen more efficiently.

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Executives – Have you thought about your wellbeing lately?

Executives – Have you thought about your wellbeing lately


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

It is common to assume that executives, CEOs, and highly successful entrepreneurs just ‘have it all’, but many of these individuals are silently suffering. Executives can have a lot on their plate. They might feel responsible for the ups and downs of employees. They might work long hours and feel pressure to make the company more successful. They also can feel very isolated, like they can’t be vulnerable without looking weak.

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Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace

Encourage a growth mindset in your workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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How to develop a growth mindset

How to develop a growth mindset


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Changing how we think can have a profound impact on our life at home and work. Growth mindset is the notion that who we are as a person (e.g., our character, abilities, intelligence) is malleable and capable of being developed with effort. At the opposite end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, which describes when an individual feels their talents and abilities are predetermined and not flexible. Those with a more fixed mindset might feel some people “have it” and others “don’t”. Research on this topic began in education, where it was observed that students with a growth mindset approached difficulty as a challenge, and they were more likely to persevere with success despite setbacks. Students with a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset had higher motivation, effort, and school outcomes (like math grades) (1).
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The role of feedback in a flex work model

The role of feedback in a flex work model


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Feedback is one of the most important resources at work. It can be used to energize people, fuel their growth, guide them in the right direction, inform future behavior, clarify expectations, and help them to attain goals. Thus, it is central to motivation, performance, and even workplace safety (1,2). As the world is embracing remote work more than ever, many fear this will be associated with a lack of feedback when compared to the typical face-to-face workplace. This is a reasonable concern! A great deal of informal feedback is exchanged within an office environment. For instance, you might be accustomed to an impromptu huddle in the hallway after a meeting to discuss what went well and what did not. You also might be missing those “water cooler conversations” with your boss. All of these feedback components should still continue in a remote setting. In fact, researchers have shown that more frequent feedback in virtual teams is associated with higher motivation, satisfaction, performance, and learning (3, 4).

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Motivating remote workers

Motivating remote workers


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

A team of researchers recruited 1135 participants to take place in a study that collected information on their work experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic over time. The data collection began in April of 2020 and will continue to run for 6 months. Initial findings were recently shared by the researchers (1). Among many results, the researchers uncovered that managers are feeling uncertain about employee motivation in a remote work setting — 41% of managers agreed with the statement “I am skeptical as to whether remote workers can stay motivated in the long term” and 17% were unsure.

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How to make your job more satisfying: Lessons from job crafting

Lessons from job crafting


Madison Hanscom, PhD

Sometimes work isn’t motivating. Many individuals feel dispassionate toward their job — finding it monotonous, boring, frustrating, or exhausting. Common suggestions for individuals who are unhappy with their job are to “find happiness outside of work” or “go get a new job” … but are these recommendations realistic? We spend a large portion of our lives working, so shouldn’t we at least enjoy it?
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Teach your people how to fish

jumpstory-download20200915-013729

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

What does the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” have to do with being a great leader? In short, it allows followers to be more self-reliant. As a result, employees will enjoy more autonomy in their job, potentially experience more meaning in their work, and it allows the leader to find better balance in their own time.

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Benefits to Limiting Social Media Use

Benefits to Limiting Social Media Use

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Social media is everywhere. Good luck finding someone who doesn’t spend time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube — you name it. But how does this impact our wellbeing? This is becoming a very important question. With more people social distancing and working remotely, many individuals are turning to social media for entertainment.

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What goes around, comes back around? Virtual leadership and micromanaging

Virtual leadership and micromanaging


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to leading a virtual or flex workforce, trust is everything. Managers are struggling with new ways of leading — including the delicate balance between giving enough direction without micromanaging. When leaders are accustomed to seeing employees in an office every day, it can be difficult adjusting to an arrangement that has less observational opportunities. In a flexible work model, it is not as easy to closely monitor due to physical proximity, but some leaders adjust well by embracing the opportunity to give people more autonomy. Other leaders do not adjust as well and try to closely monitor employees in ways that can quickly feel like an invasion of privacy (i.e., watching through webcams to ensure employees are working).

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Providing autonomy in a flexible work environment

Providing autonomy in a flexible work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Autonomy is a beneficial job characteristic. Research has shown when you give employees more control over their work, it is related to a host of great outcomes like job satisfaction and higher performance (1). An advantage to remote work is the opportunity for individuals to enjoy more of the autonomy they desire — but are flex workers always getting this autonomy in reality?

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Is a fair workplace also a safer workplace?

Is a fair workplace also a safer workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Attitudes influence behavior.

There are a host of reasons as to why justice perceptions should be of concern to companies. They influence the employee experience, the brand, the reputation of the company, and the customer experience. Justice perceptions are also related to important organizational outcomes like job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job performance, citizenship behavior, trust, turnover intentions, health and stress (1,2). This begs the question —
Does the extent to which workers perceive their organization to be fair have a meaningful relationship with occupational safety?
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Boundaries are blurry. Be a safety champion at work and at home

Be a safety champion at work and at home

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The boundaries between work and home can sometimes feel blurry. For instance, it is not uncommon for us to bring work home with us — whether it is psychological or physical. If you have a negative confrontation with a manager, you might come home in an awful mood to your spouse. If you pull your back picking up something heavy on the job, you might not feel well enough to toss the ball with your kids on the weekend. This also happens in the opposite direction of course, too. If you are stressed or hurt at home, it can spill over into the work domain.
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Managing a virtual workforce? Employees want to know your expectations

Managing a virtual workforce


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to doing the job well, people need to know what is expected of them. Ambiguity can be a very stressful experience, and a great deal of individuals are in a working situation where they would like to know precisely what they should do to be considered a high performer. Unfortunately, for those working in remote positions, this is particularly difficult.
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Fires and other natural disasters – are you prepared?

Fires and other natural disasters – are you prepared


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to natural disasters, companies with mature safety cultures have robust emergency preparedness plans that are specific to every scenario imaginable. These plans are accompanied by all the resources needed to carry out the action (e.g., training, practice drills, water supply, shelters, power supply).
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Safe working and job autonomy

Safe working and job autonomy

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Research has shown time and time again that when you give employees more control over their work, they are more satisfied, perform at a higher level, and are safer.

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Be a safety champion – and do it loudly!

Be a safety champion


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

A safety champion embodies the notion that safety comes before everything else. These individuals always have safety on the mind. They understand how safety connects to the big picture both inside and outside of work, and they are the backbone of a strong safety culture. Those who work with a safety champion know it, because it feels like someone always has your back.
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Work from home experiences: Findings from a multinational survey

Work from home experiences



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


Covid-19 has contributed to a larger number of individuals working from home than ever before. Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark were interested in the experiences of individuals working from home across several European countries. They surveyed over 4,640 employees (mainly knowledge workers and managers) between March and May of 2020. The authors are still analyzing the large amounts of data that were collected, but initial findings were shared. Interesting results included:
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Do your employees have variety in their work tasks?

employees have variety in their work tasks

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Let’s say you are about to start your workday. Imagine two scenarios:
• A day in which you will be doing the same task repeatedly for 8 hours
• A day in which you will rotate between a variety of tasks for 8 hours

Which would you prefer? Although it feels great to get really good at a particular task, over time this can take a toll on motivation. Research has shown that individuals with variety in their work tasks are more satisfied with their jobs (1). Repetitive tasks with little variation can also contribute to complacency and attentional issues, which can be detrimental to safety.
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What is associated with someone having greater resilience during the COVID-19 lockdown?

greater resilience

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Researchers collected data from over a thousand adults in US to get a sense of what factors were associated with an individual having greater psychological resilience during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown (Kilgore, Taylor, Cloonan, & Dailey, 2020). They defined resilience as the ability to withstand setbacks, adapt positively, and bounce back from adversity. Although there are a great deal of factors related to resiliency (e.g., see our blog on
leadership and resiliency here), the researchers focused solely on factors related to sleep, emotional state, exercise, and daily activities.
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What do leaders have to do with employee resilience?

employee resilience


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The extent to which individuals can “bounce back” to how things were pre-crisis describes their resiliency. It is beneficial to have a workforce of resilient employees who can recover quickly from difficult times. Not only is this better for the company (e.g., financially), it is better for the people (e.g., psychologically).
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COVID-19: A catalyst for safety culture change?

A catalyst for safety culture change

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

COVID-19 has changed our way of life inside and outside of work. It has forced us to rethink the way we work and enjoy time off. Businesses have been hit extremely hard, and most have been forced to make fast decisions to protect workers and customers.
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Can responses to COVID-19 act as a litmus test for safety culture?

a litmus test for safety culture


By Madison Hanscom

The pandemic has created an extremely difficult scenario for many businesses. Amidst the hardship, companies are working to balance the safety of workers and customers along with financial survival. This begs the question — will the way in which a company responds to COVID-19 be a reflection of the safety culture?
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What are the main causes of burnout?

What are the main causes of burnout


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Burnout is deep and pervasive. It is marked by emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, cynicism towards others, and depleted mental resources (1).

The main causes: The five factors that were most strongly related to burnout (as indicated by a survey of nearly 7,500 full time employees) are unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, lack of communication and support from the management, and unreasonable time pressure (2). There is something these burnout correlates have in common — they are issues with the workplace, not the person. Although teaching employees strategies to deal with these burnout factors can be valuable (e.g., meditation, resilience), it is not addressing the root cause. It is up to management to fix the system and culture in order to make deep, meaningful change happen.
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Do you support or hinder a climate of recovery in your workplace? A leadership self-assessment.

Do you support or hinder a climate of recovery in your workplace


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Recovery and downtime are important for a happy and productive workforce. As a leader, you should consider your role in this process. Reflect on how you contribute to the climate surrounding recovery in your workplace. A study from the American Psychological Association recently showed when companies encourage people to take their vacation time to disconnect, employees come back feeling more refreshed, motivated, and productive than companies that do not encourage taking time off (1).
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Does leadership training work? Findings from research.

Does leadership training work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

There are a great deal of conflicting perspectives when it comes to leadership training. Many individuals do not think it is worth the time because they believe leaders are born and not made – that genetics and personality are more influential in determining a great leader than the knowledge, skills, and abilities someone can build and sharpen during training. Others think training is a valuable tool that leads to a better workforce. But what does the research say?
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You have solid planning and procedures. Does that mean your safety culture change efforts will be successful?

Does that mean your safety culture change efforts will be successful


By Madison Hanscom and Brie DeLisi

When it comes to occupational safety, planning and procedures are incredibly important. They may be a legal requirement in some respects, and they also provide a guideline for the workforce to be aligned on mission, goals, and activities.
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What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace? [Part 3]

What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace 3

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Take care of your own stress and work with employees to build a “stress management toolbox”. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series, the right solutions are going to depend on the source of stress, and the best solutions are primary solutions that address the root of the problem. As a leader, you often have more power than employees to make changes that reduce stressors, so consider what you can do first to create a healthier work environment (see the second blog in this series).
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What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace? [Part 2]

What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace 2


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Leaders are in a unique position where they can make positive changes that influence the lives of their employees. Consider the following strategies:
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What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace? [Part 1]

What can leaders do to create a less stressful workplace 1


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Remember that not all stressors have the same impact, and not all stress interventions work similarly.

There are different types of stressors. Some stress can actually be a great thing. It can be energizing, create engagement, or promote personal growth. A job without stress of any kind would be boring, and we certainly would not grow professionally! If you think back to some of your greatest achievements, there were likely stressful moments along the way. This is normal and healthy.
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Does virtual training work?

Does virtual training work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Virtual training is becoming more and more common, which begs the question: does it work?
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What does being civil have to do with being safe?

What does being civil have to do with being safe


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

It is not a secret… when the workforce perceives that management considers safety to be as important as production, this is associated with great outcomes.
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Kindness is key: The power of respectful relationships at work

power of respectful relationships at work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Respectful treatment is not always the norm in every work group. There are countless individuals who are required to interact with other workers and leaders who are rude, sarcastic, judgmental, and disrespectful. Incivility can be as subtle was a snarky remark, or as obvious as aggression.
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Can your leader at work influence life at home?

influence life at home



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Whether it is wrapping up a deliverable, venting about a hard day, or preparing for the next day ahead, many of us bring work home. But has research been conducted to examine the effects of leadership characteristics spilling over into the home domain of their followers? A recent study was conducted to examine the impact that empowering leaders have on their employees’ home lives.
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Human Resources in a Flexible Work Model

Human Resources in a Flexible Work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

We are currently experiencing more remote work and telework than ever before, and Human Resource professionals are being asked to adapt quickly to this flex work model. Because those in HR are connected with employees from when they enter the company to the day they leave, they have a major impact on the people – and as a result, in shaping the company culture. HR also plays an important role in helping the company make a successful transition to a flex work model.

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Employee Well-being and Flex Work: Research Findings

Employee Well-being and Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Virtual work is becoming a part of everyday life for many individuals. What does the research have to say about how it impacts our well-being? Working from home is associated with…

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Organizational Learning and Occupational Safety

Organizational Learning


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The world is changing, and it is vital to prioritize organizational learning both during times of adjustment and during sustainment periods. Exemplar knowledge sharing and learning are critical components in leading a successful business, and it is also a determinant in leading a safe one.
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Flex Work and Loneliness: What Can We Do?

Flex Work and Loneliness What Can We Do?


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Working from home can be a positive opportunity for many individuals. It might come with a shorter commute, less interruptions, more productive work time, and less stress. Despite the huge number of employees who are enjoying working from home, a dark side to flex work for some can be the aspect of loneliness.
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Considerations for Leaders in Sustaining Organizational Learning within a Flex Work Model

Considerations for Leaders

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Learning organizations are those that acquire information, share it, process it, and use it for continual improvement. All teams must develop mechanisms and buy-in for supporting this knowledge sharing cycle, though it is particularly important that companies utilizing a flex work model do this well in order to succeed. Without a strong collective knowledge bank, it is likely your company will spend a lot of time taking one step forward and two steps back.
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Mindfulness interventions work…. But how about for those in male-oriented jobs?

Mindfulness interventions


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to be a helpful workplace tool for many individuals. They are associated with great outcomes like reductions in stress and negative affectivity. But there are still a few interesting questions remaining…
• Do these interventions only work for people in certain occupations (e.g., education and health)?
• Do these interventions fail for people in certain social contexts (e.g., when they are surrounded by individuals who think mindfulness if a waste of time)?
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Ethics and Flex Work

Ethics and Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom PhD

As more individuals are working from home than ever, this raises interesting questions and important considerations regarding ethics. When working remotely, there are more circumstances in which employees and leaders alike operate under little surveillance. There are several ethical perspectives that should be considered in a flexible work environment. Two important ones are the ethics involved with employee work and the ethical situations leaders might encounter.

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Sit or Stand? Experimental Research Findings on Sit-Stand Desks


sit and stand

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

An interesting study was published recently in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology exploring the effects of standing desks. Employees who worked in sedentary jobs were randomly assigned to a control group (no change in their usual behavior) or an intervention group (were provided with adjustable sit-stand desks and instructions on how to use them).

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Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work Causes Interpersonal Conflict

Managing Justice Perceptions When Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Whether it is full time or part of the time, more people are working from home than ever. Although it is becoming clear that many individuals enjoy working virtually, tensions can build between different groups of employees who work onsite as residents, those who work flexibly between the office and home, and those who work entirely from home.
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Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work Model

Leadership Considerations for a Successful Flex Work


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Researchers who study telework argue that successful virtual teams are determined more by successful or unsuccessful leadership rather than other factors such as technology (1). Poor leadership is poor leadership. If you take a substandard leader and move them into a flex work environment - they won’t do any better. There are foundational leadership competencies that help all teams succeed - whether the team is in an office or working remotely. These include leading with a big picture goal and supporting the company’s vision, building interpersonal connections and collaboration, walking the talk, demonstrating ethics and integrity, managing change, creating a safe space for people to speak up and innovate, and more.

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Will Flex Work Change My Culture?

Will Flex Work Change My Culture


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

As many businesses are considering (or have already decided) moving some employees to a permanent telework model after the COVID-19 outbreak, the question comes up often —
What does this mean for the culture? A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (Schein, 1985). The people are your culture - so any major change in how people work within your company has the potential to change the culture - for better or for worse.

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Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work?

Is My Culture Supportive of Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Introducing telework into a culture that does not support flexible work arrangements can set up a business for failure. It is important to deeply consider culture before, during, and after changes to the company that involve employees working from home. If the attitude is that telework is not going to succeed - it will not. A company’s culture is composed of the beliefs, assumptions, norms, and core values that the members hold (1). Norms and assumptions run deep, and they are all around (staying at your desk late to symbolize commitment to the boss, how long to take a coffee break, the clothes you wear to the office, how you talk to your team vs. your leader, what is frowned upon, and so on). Clearly these everyday practices and assumptions will be disturbed by integrating a major new component into work.

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Rethinking the Tight Grip: A Flex Work Tip for Leaders

flex work tip for leaders



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

If you are accustomed to a leadership style that involves close monitoring to feel in control of what employees are doing daily, this will be a point of consideration when employees transitioning to more flexible telecommuting model. Previously, you might have conducted “walk-arounds” to observe work onsite. With a flexible work environment, this will not be as possible.
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What’s in it for the workers? Benefits of Flex Work

flex work and what is in it for workers



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


In previous blogs we have discussed the benefits companies can experience from Flex Work arrangements (1). Because flexible work requires less commuting and office space, this also has positive implications for the environment. This is because there is an associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (2). There are clear benefits to businesses and the environment, but how about individuals? Although some individuals experience negative components of remote work, such as loneliness (see our blog post on common challenges associated with Flex Work, 3), there are many positive outcomes employees can enjoy from Flex Work.
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Concerned About Flex Work?

Concerned About Flex Work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.


There is evidence to suggest that Flex Work can be a very successful model. Whether working entirely remote from home or in a flex arrangement between the office and home, this can have positive implications for the bottom line (see:
The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment) and for the individual.
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Strategies for Workers, From Workers: Creating a Successful Flex Work Experience

Strategies for Workers

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

The nature of work is changing to be more flexible, and it is becoming more essential to understand the best ways to work remotely. In a research study examining practices utilized by high performing teleworkers (1), strategies were identified that help workers overcome common barriers associated with remote work. These include:
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Leadership Competencies and COVID Re-Entry

leadership-competencies


Drs. Josh Williams and Madison Hanscom

Leaders are looking for direction to manage employees during COVID re-entry. Leaders need to juggle business realities, employees’ physical safety, and emerging mental health struggles that people are facing. Our leadership competency model is a useful framework to guide leadership behaviors as we begin getting back to work.

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Flex Work Teams: Defining a Great Team Member

Flex Work culture 2


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The future of work is here, and it is more flexible than the past. As a result of COVID-19, many individuals are working from home. A recent estimate was that a third of Americans are completing their jobs in a remote capacity. This has major implications for those who work in teams, and this begs the question - what does it take to be a great virtual team member?
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Walk the Talk During a Time of Crisis: An Application of Propulo’s Safe Production Leadership Model

leadership-competencies

By Madison Hanscom

It is the responsibility of leaders to demonstrate how to act during times of uncertainty. At its core, walking the talk involves leaders acting in ways that align with their stated values and the stated values of the company. When a leader practices what they preach, this builds trust among followers, which is the belief that leaders will act in their best interest. This in turn helps create improved safety culture, morale, and safety outcomes. Although employees always look to leaders as role models, this is particularly important during times of crisis. During difficult moments like the one we are currently in with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several things you can do to “walk the talk”:
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Drive Thinking & Speaking During a Time of Crisis: An Application of Propulo’s Safe Production Leadership Model

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By Madison Hanscom

Great leaders do not act like they are the smartest person in the room. They know the value of a team effort, and they value insight from everyone. Regardless of where employees fall in the hierarchy, it is important to get everyone thinking and speaking. This is particularly important during a time of uncertainty or crisis, when workplaces are constantly adapting to the changing environment. People will remember how leaders respond during a time of turbulence, and this includes whether employees feel safe to speak up without negative consequences. This is required if the goal is to have a safe and resilient workplace. There are several things you can do to drive thinking and speaking…
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Checking in with your employees: Mitigating burnout during a pandemic

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By Madison Hanscom

For many who are still employed, difficult times will bring exhaustion. We are in a time when routines are being completely uprooted. Many individuals are essential workers, which means they are putting themselves and their families at risk by supporting our communities. These workers often are experiencing new responsibilities, changes in work hours, new stressors and sometimes compassion fatigue. Other individuals are now forced to work from home while juggling new responsibilities, caring for children during work hours, and suffering from guilt or tension if there is a dip in productivity. Read More...

How a Strong Safety Climate Makes a Difference During a Pandemic

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By Madison Hanscom

Safety climate is a shared perception that employees have regarding the relative importance of safe conduct in their workplace. This includes the procedures, policies, routines, and behaviors that get rewarded or the behaviors that are expected (1). It is widely understood there are a great deal of benefits associated with having a strong safety climate. A strong safety climate is associated with higher morale, less accidents, stronger safety motivation, more safety behaviors from employees, and so on (2,3). A less visible (yet still important) benefit of having a strong safety climate is the potential to protect workers and the general public from a viral outbreak. Read More...

Staying Mindful During a Pandemic

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By Madison Hanscom & Kelly Cave

We are living in a turbulent time. Unfortunately, when life becomes hectic, we may unintentionally place our mental health on the backburner. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals are feeling extreme financial strain and are trying to juggle increasing priorities. Many people who typically work in professional spaces are now working from home with spouses and/or children and are trying to establish new routines. Amidst the painful anticipation of this unfolding situation, and the current stress we are experiencing, it is important to keep mental health in the forefront.
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Why Sleep is Particularly Important During a Pandemic

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By Kelly Cave & Madison Hanscom

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in increased responsibilities for many people. Citizens are learning how to adjust to a new way of life. This might include learning how to work from home, wearing multiple hats while balancing childcare and work, or the stress of supporting older loved ones. When things get busy, we tend to cut back on sleep. Oftentimes we do this so it feels like we have more hours in the day, and your employees are no exception.
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The Impact of a Reduced Social Environment

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By Kelly Cave and Madison Hanscom

While the act of social distancing is crucial in reducing the spread of COVID-19, being separated from human contact can have detrimental effects on mental health and overall wellbeing. The reason people struggle with isolation is because humans evolved as social beings. In other words, we form groups and organizations that extend beyond our individual selves and these groups help us survive.

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What happens if I discover someone has COVID-19 at my workplace?


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By Madison Hanscom

In order to keep yourself, your employees, and others around you free from illness, it is important to backtrack and reflect where you have been in the past two weeks to assess exposure. This includes the work environment. What if one of your employees has been in close proximity to an individual in the workplace who now has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or someone who is displaying symptoms?
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Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Drive Thinking and Speaking

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

A key responsibility of leaders is creating an environment where people can do their best work. To do this well, leaders must be able to drive thinking and speaking—in other words, to foster a climate in which people feel they can speak up without fear of negative consequences, known as psychological safety. Leaders drive thinking and speaking by creating an environment of psychological safety, getting employee input for safety solutions, encouraging system thinking, and reinforcing teamwork and collaboration. Leaders who effectively create this environment increase employee engagement and decrease the likelihood of serious injuries and fatalities.
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Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Recognize and Foster Growth

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

A critical skill all leaders must develop is the ability to provide high-quality feedback to their team members so they can perform their jobs well and grow and advance in their careers. When leaders do this well, it can fuel employee motivation and commitment, as well as positive safety outcomes. Read More...

Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Build and Live the Vision

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

One of the most important jobs of any leader is to build and live the vision for employees. Building and living the vision means painting a picture for employees of desired performance and living and managing organizational values in everyday interactions. Providing employees with a sense of the organization’s vision and mission should inspire them to align their goals with those of the organization. Research indicates that when leaders encourage employees to strive for something beyond their individual goals, this has a positive impact on safety climate, safety compliance, and safety participation. Read More...

Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Walk the Talk

Leadership competencies


By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

It is not uncommon for leaders – who are pulled in many directions at once – to take shortcuts when it comes to safety. This can be detrimental, however, to safety culture and employees’ safety behaviors. In fact, research has shown that when employees perceive their leaders are not acting in ways that align with the company’s stated safety values, it leads to a decrease in safety compliance, a decrease in prioritization of avoiding accidents, and an increase in injuries.

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Safe Production Leadership Competency Series: Active Caring Promotes Positive Safety Culture

Leadership competencies



By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

A common complaint of employees is that leadership doesn’t dedicate enough time to listen to and respond to their needs. Over time, this can lead workers to believe their leaders don’t care about them or their concerns, which can erode safety culture. Active Caring is a core leadership competency because it demonstrates organizational support and fosters a sense of support and trust among employees, leading to positive outcomes for employees, the team, and the entire organization.

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Blog Series: Five Core Safe Production Leadership Competencies that Drive Safe Production Culture

Leadership competencies

By Kelly Hamilton, Madison Hanscom, & Josh Williams

In today’s increasingly complex workplace, organizational leaders must be equipped to effectively deal with the relentless demands of daily decisions, challenges, and opportunities that impact all aspects of business, including safety. It is increasingly important to make intelligent decisions for safety in order to advance safety culture and prevent serious injuries and fatalities at work. Read More...

How setting goals during action planning can help make training stick

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By Kelly Cave and Madison Hanscom

Training is an effective way for companies to facilitate knowledge and skill development in their employees, which in turn, helps them remain competitive in their respective markets. The extent to which knowledge and skills learned in training are used on-the-job is commonly referred to as training transfer1. Unfortunately, studies indicate that significant amounts of training content do not end up transferring to the job (2). This lack of transfer is a major concern, in large part because companies spend significant amounts of money on training. According to the Association for Talent Development, each year businesses in the U.S. on average spend over $1,200 per employee on training and development (3). Given the widespread prevalence of training and the large sums of money companies continue to devote to it, it is no surprise that many leaders are concerned with improving their employees’ training transfer. Luckily, there are many techniques that can be used to help make training stick. One of the most well-researched and supported techniques is goal-setting. Read More...

Generational Differences at Work: More Conflict Than Clarity?

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By Madison Hanscom

Generational Differences at Work: More Conflict Than Clarity?
Most of us are familiar with generational stereotypes. Millennials are narcissistic, Gen Xers are cynical, and Baby Boomers are judgmental. When scanning the workplace, it might seem easy to find patterns of behavior that correspond with these generational cohort characteristics, but are these patterns actually there? And for any differences that do emerge, are these actually due to generational cohort membership? Read More...

Leadership Visibility: The importance of leaving the desk and getting out into the field

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By Julia Borges and Madison Hanscom

As we move into a world where the use of technology is rapidly increasing to make our work lives more seamless, it can be easy to forget about the importance of human interaction. While artificial intelligence has become a vital part of organizational performance, human interaction is still at the core of organizational health, culture, and safety. In today’s complex, technology-driven world of work, leaders are as busy as they ever have been, making it difficult for them to get away from their desk and out into the field with their teams. While leaders have a commitment to their tasks, duties, and team members, balancing these critical components can pose quite a challenge for leaders across various types of organizations. Read More...

Staying Engaged and Safe During the Holidays

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By Julia Borges, Maggie Carey, and Madison Hanscom

‘Tis the season to stay engaged and safe in the workplace. In the midst of the bustle of the holidays, it’s easy for employees to get distracted, which can lead to unwanted incidents or fatalities during such a jubilant time of the year. Even though it might not happen to everyone, it is possible that some employees feel a sense of burnout or distraction around the end of the year. Heightened emotions and the overall chaotic environment of the holiday season also have the ability to exhaust employees both physically and mentally. When physical and mental resources are depleted, employees are more likely to make mistakes and injure themselves or others. Maintaining employee engagement throughout the holidays is key. However, for most companies it’s possible that employee engagement could dip right before the holidays.

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