Stress or conflict. Accidents. Inactivity. There can be many causes for poor health or unsafe conditions at work, but the result is the same: unhealthy workforces lead to underperformance. That is something Stamina Helse AS is doing something about.
Guri Sogn-Larssen, Product Manager for Stamina’s Occupational Health Services in Norway has been heading up a project the last 2 years to develop the Stamina Barometer. It’s an anonymous, survey-driven management tool used to map, measure and improve employee health and well-being. Research findings are the basis for strategic planning, competence development programs, and day-to-day initiatives having a positive effect on employee health, and ultimately performance.
The barometer is composed of 25-30 carefully selected questions, covering 4 main areas: systematic health, safety and environment (HSE), lifestyle, work environment and sick leave. During the past year, employee feedback has been collected from more than 30 organizations across 10 industries.
Take away the guesswork
“What’s exciting about the barometer is it makes occupational health, and the factors that influence health, measurable and tangible. Rather than guessing if sick leave is high, for example, HR leaders and managers can benchmark sick leave between departments or compared to industry norms. It’s much easier to do something about it when you know where to focus.”
“Measuring different parts of the organization is the way to identify where changes are needed and set priorities. Every organization has limited resources so it is important to start in the right place with the right activities,” says Sogn-Larssen.
Both employees and managers give feedback. The results of the two groups are compared to see if there are differences in perception. Survey findings are analyzed in order to identify outliers. Each company receives a full report and presentation of key findings.
“While there are many regulations companies have to follow, companies shouldn’t be concerned about health because they are forced by law. Companies should be concerned because they want to create a great workplace,” says Sogn-Larssen. “Leaders need to ask themselves “Where do we want to be in 1-3 years? What can we do for our employees to get there?”
Changed from complex spreadsheets to visual analytics
Stamina asked Questback, specialists in employee and customer feedback, to help develop the survey and collect data in a structured way. Each question is carefully formulated and factors are weighted. Business Analyze was asked to simplify data analysis and reporting routines.
“Analyzing the data, sorting ‘key findings’ from ‘nice-to-know’, and presenting everything in an easy-to-understand format is more demanding that you think. I’ve spent many long hours working with Excel, and even more hours to in Word to prepare good documentation,” says Sogn-Larssen. “Some clients have 10-12 departments, so doing a full report for a company like that takes 2 weeks once we receive the raw data.”
“In the last 3 months we’ve gone over to a more automatic process. Data is processed using analytics software and presented directly on digital dashboards. There can still be significant amounts of discussion with customers, but once we have collected data, the actual reporting time has been reduced by 60% – 70%. Since we don’t cut and paste or key in formulas anymore, the risk of error is greatly reduced. Now we can provide more organizations with higher quality analysis. “
Picture: Data is processed using analytics software and presented directly on digital dashboards.
More emphasis on follow-up
The barometer can highlight needs for better communication, better routines, change of roles or tasks, and greater employee or leader involvement. If 56% of employees don’t know there are proper policies in place for handling harassment, they probably won’t report problems or get the help they need. This can have a direct, negative effect.
“Too often companies work spontaneously rather than strategically with health and safety – particularly smaller and mid-size companies. Some company’s don’t have in-house expertise and others simply have too much to do with too few people. By providing a fully-developed measurement tool, the barometer brings down barriers and brings about happier, healthier people,” concludes Sogn-Larssen.