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Reviewing and renewing the workplace for 2017

As another year draws to a close, it’s the perfect time for businesses to reflect on the past year’s achievements and areas to improve. By looking towards implementing a tighter strategy for the new year, organisations can start January reinvigorated and set the tone for an exciting year to follow.

January is the ideal time to bolster operations and procedures within organisations to ensure compliance obligations are met, tighten processes to improve approaches to workplace health and safety and implement revised strategies to enhance employee productivity and engagement. This can result in a safer, more productive year for businesses.

How can your organisation improve in the new year?
How can your organisation improve in the new year?

Reflecting on workplace health and safety practices

While research from Safe Work Australia shows improvements are being made in terms of workplace health and safety, the opportunities for businesses to embrace revised strategies remain. In 2011/12, for example, 120,155 injury claims were made by Australian workers, a figure that dropped to 106,565 in 2013/14.

Figures for 2016 are unavailable at this stage, but following the trend they suggest around 50,000 employees are still being injured in the workplace every year. If businesses review their existing systems regarding WHS and look to improve procedures, it will significantly influence and contribute to a reduction of this figure – a perfect way to start the year.

Starting the new year afresh, with better workplace health and safety at front of mind, can result in a safer year for employees.

Increasing employee engagement

According to Carnegie Management Group, approximately a quarter of Australian employees consider themselves engaged at work, a further quarter are actively disengaged and the remaining 50 per cent fall somewhere in the middle. Having an engaged workforce is essential to ensure productivity and profitability, so the new year is also an ideal time to implement strategies for increasing engagement in your workers.

One way to enhance employee engagement is to make improvements to the onboarding process. This can be done during recruitment and orientation, and helps to create better perceptions of the company.

Attitudes towards WHS processes help with engagement and onboarding by contributing to culture – your attitude towards your worker safety will be apparent. You can also improve engagement as early as the hiring process, reducing paperwork to make it more engaging and conducting surveys to get candidate feedback on their onboarding experience.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that Aberdeen Group research in 2009 showed 86 per cent of surveyed organisations believe that new hires will make the decision to stay with their new employer long term within the first six months. Securing the loyalty of workers at this early stage is critical for retention.

With robust onboarding and WHS induction procedures in place, make  2017 the best year yet for your organisation.

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