The paper 'Occupational Health Services in Companies' is a wonderful example of a Management Case Study. Occupational health services (OHS) is an important aspect of the operation of an organization. It has been linked to human resource management (HRM) practice and in many instances has been overlooked as an important aspect in enhancing employees’ satisfaction. Job satisfaction entails how contented a person is with his or her work. The happier a person is with his or her work, the more satisfied he or she is. Job satisfaction is not synonymous with motivation even though they are linked in one way or the other.
In Australia, safety is a top priority for employees as revealed by a survey conducted among more than 560 employees from the country’ s recruitment agencies (Murdolo, 2008). An incredible 99 percent of the respondents believe that OHS training is essential to them, hence important to their safety at work (Murdolo, 2008). This is contrary to a common belief by recruiters and employees, that OHS training is a boring exercise or a waste of time (Murdolo, 2008).
This essay seeks to explore the link between OHS and employee satisfaction in the context of human resource management. Three parameters including absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover have been used to depict the effects of employee satisfaction in relation to OHS. Overview of OHS policy in an organization The aim of an effective policy is to communicate succinctly the key principles of an organization. In terms of OHS, this should stress the value of people to an organization and the relationship between employees’ wellbeing and organizational performance. Effective OHS policy should make out that, most occupational injuries and cases of ill health are preventable and happen as a result of a rational causal sequence in which managers can intervene (Loosemore, 2003).
Human resource managers should also recognize that OHS policy should also be reinforced by a ‘ no blame’ ideology, in which OHS matters can be discussed honestly and openly devoid fear of reprisals or finger-pointing. The ‘ no blame’ culture requires an understanding of the multi causative nature of accidents, that there is general responsibility for the management of safety risks and the knowledge that, most accidents are not as a result of carelessness on the part of employees, but are due to a human fault associated to failures in the control and management of risk (Loosemore, 2003).
Ultimately, health safety and welfare policies should also be allied to echo that the organization is not only focused on preventing injuries and ill health but is aimed at promoting health fitness and satisfaction of employees. HRM functions must be parallel to HRM functions such as hiring and selection, training and development, and reward systems. Consequently, OHS and HRM disciplines must be aligned in order to help achieve health safety in the workplace hence employee satisfaction and enhanced organizational performance.
Mol (2003) proposes two ways through which can be achieved. First, HRM practices have to be compatible with the OHS management system. This entails for instance implementing training systems driven simultaneously by productivity, safety, and quality. Besides, position descriptions have to recognize accountabilities in organizational roles so that employees gain a thorough understanding of their contribution to these outcomes. HRM tools thus help to operationalize the OHS system.
The second form of alignment is for HRM practices to enhance desirable behaviors and positive outcomes. This includes implementing incentive programs founded on the production, safety, and system factor quality, utilizing a measurement methodology that weighs these outcomes to attain balanced objectives (Mol, 2003). The balanced method ensures that short term benefits are not pursued at the expense of long term benefits. Moreover, in the current timeframe production does not override safety and quality. OHS and Employee Satisfaction Occupational health services are a policy issue that has in the recent past been emphasized in all forms of occupations from construction, to the healthcare environment.
Human resource management plays a significant role in formulating programs to suit the organization's health and safety needs of the employees. Basically, HRM is mandated by taking measures, planning, implementing, monitoring, and review. OHS is a critical role that HRM must put in place to ensure that employees are safe and healthy in the workplace. Health and safety in the workplace go a long way not only for the health of the employees but for the performance of the organization.
This is a belief shared by Tania Evans, Workpro’ s business manager who argues that “ There’ s clearly a two-fold risk for recruitment agencies who fail to meet OHS training standards. It’ s not just about putting employees’ safety in jeopardy or facing hefty fines; employee satisfaction and the reputation of the industry are also at stake” (Murdolo, 2008 pr. 8) Employees feel valued when OHS is implemented to appropriate standards in the workplace. They feel safe working and are attached to the organization. Employees with high levels of job satisfaction are high-level performers.
Satisfied employees on the other hand are healthier than dissatisfied employees. OHS ensures that employees’ health matters are taken care of. It ensures that employees are working in a safe environment, is free from any work harm that may provoke their physical or psychological health, and are able to access the appropriate help to deal with any health effect acquired during work (Turner, 2004). In this manner, the Human resource management plays a significant role in ensuring OHS policy in the workplace is well defined and implemented to the letter along with the health and safety committee.
Employees in an organization where health and safety are a priority have high job satisfaction. Employees who are satisfied in their work means that they are committed to the organization and are willing to go the extra mile for their company’ s performance. This is referred to organizational commitment which is employee’ s acceptance dedication and involvement to achieve the goals of the organization (Comcare, 2009). Illness can affect all aspects of a person’ s life especially their work. When an employee's wellbeing in terms of health is not taken care of, they tend to be dissatisfied with their job.
OHS is the only panel in the organization through which employees’ health and safety issues are put forward, analyzed, and implemented. Occupational Health Services are critical in ensuring employee satisfaction. The psychological impact of stress is highly associable with poor workplace environments with poor occupational health safety (Comcare, 2009). Besides mental health, depression, increased anxiety, irritability, disturbed sleep, poor concentration, stress leads to job dissatisfaction and increases the risk of accidents, and disrupted relationships both at work and at home hence lower productivity of employees.
Stress, on the other hand, has been linked to development or worsening of various physical conditions such as heart-related diseases, hypertension, diabetes, migraine, gastrointestinal disorders among other ailments (Comcare, 2009). The effect of chronic stress on the immune system together with chronic pain has been identified. Job health is important not only to the employee but also to the employer. Dissatisfied employees are less productive and are more likely to leave their job to seek another job that will offer them satisfaction.
Besides, dissatisfied employees have a high rate of absenteeism which affects the productivity and performance of the organization. Absenteeism in Australia for instance cost about $18 billion in the year 2006 (Comcare, 2009). Up to three-quarters of the absenteeism rate in Australia is attributed to stress. Turnover among employees is expensive to the organization as it costs the company financially and in performance. High turnovers are experienced inexperienced or skilled employees which is a great loss to the company. In addition, employees who are dissatisfied in their work can practice presenteeism.
This is the loss of productivity which results from employees coming to work but do not function fully due to ill health (Comcare, 2009). Presenteeism costs an organization four times the cost of absenteeism, while on average about six working days are lost yearly due to presenteeism (Comcare, 2009). This shows that if OHS is well implemented through the human resource management divide, there would be reduced stress hence reduced absenteeism, presenteeism as well as turnover rate. Conclusion OHS has the sole mandate of enhancing workplace health and safety of employees. Through policy formulation, OHS is aligned to HRM principles in order to achieve the main goal of employee health and safety.
The realization of employee health and safety issues is associated with high levels of employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees on the other hand are dedicated as well as loyal to the organization. Thus implementation of OHS in the workplace is not only to protect employees from injuries or health problems, but it’ s also a way of improving organizational performance through enhancing satisfaction. The parameters looked into this essay including absenteeism; presenteeism; and turnover rate are clear indications of the effects of dissatisfied employees on organization performance.
Comcare (2009). Building a case to invest in OHS and organisational health, Government of Australia, pub.76. Retrieved October 15, 2012 from http://www.comcare.gov.au/forms__and__publications/publications/safety_and_prevention/?a=53413
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Loosemore, M. (2003). Human resource management in construction projects strategic and operational approaches. London New York: Spon Press.
Mol, T. (2003). Productive safety management: A strategic, multi-disciplinary management system for hazardous industries that ties safety and production together. Boston, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Murdolo, D. (2008). Employees getting serious about OHS, retrieved October 15, 2012 from http://www.manmonthly.com.au/news/employees-getting-serious-about-ohs.
Turner, J. (2004). ‘An improved job dimension scale to measure job satisfaction in sales reps’, Journal of the Academy of Business and Economics, March.