Get Your Team Physically Fit at Work

Losing weight or starting the latest diet has gone from being a New Year’s resolution to becoming a lifestyle. With the increase of healthcare expenses and obesity at an all time high, various companies have taken control of this epidemic and implemented change within their workplace culture by providing corporate wellness programs.

According to Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), the average full-time American employee spends around 1,700 hours per year at work. Creating a work/life balance for your employees is key to providing a well-balanced workplace. Through corporate wellness programs, companies have not only improved the overall health of their employees, but decreased insurance premiums, increase employee morale and increased the longevity and productivity of its employees. corp-wellness

Mastery employees are taking steps to implement a healthy lifestyle into their work life. Daily, the team takes two short walks around our campus, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Statistics show sick leave in companies went down 28% and compensation claims were reduced by 30% when companies incorporate these kind of activities into their company culture.

Not sure if implementing a corporate wellness program is for your company? Assess your employees to see if providing this program would benefit them. After surveying your employees, take the following steps recommended by Forbes in their recent article, “Is A Corporate Wellness or Preventive Care Program Right For Your Company” and the Young Entrepreneur Council:

  1. Assess the needs of both employer and employee. Find out what challenges or goals employees have when it comes to their health. Would a corporate wellness program meet those needs in a way that is also good for the employer?
  2. Create a plan based on those goals. The article suggests combining education and some form of physical activity to keep employees engaged in the program.
  3. Effectively communicate the plan. It won’t work without encouragement and reinforcement at all levels of the company.
  4. Keep employees interested. Programs often have staying power when there is some kind of incentive or reward to encourage employees to stick with the program.

Thecorporate-wellness Wellness Council of America recommends companies plan to budget about $150 per employee for the program.

Remember, a healthy employee is a healthy employee. It’s an investment worth making! Equip your employees with the tools necessary to producing a healthier lifestyle with one of Mastery’s Wellness Training Programs:

Wellness: Fitness and Wellness

Wellness: Workplace Nutrition: A Recipe for Optimum Health

Wellness: Transportation Professionals Nutrition & Health

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Training programs can help employees adapt to new technology and organizational change

Help your healthcare workers adapt to change by investing in a training course.

Could Google Glass one day replace nurses’ charts?

As technological developments continue to dramatically transform our world and our workplaces, it’s become increasingly important that employees are able to adapt readily to significant organizational change. Regardless of what industry you work in, formal training programs like “3 Steps to Managing Change” and “Strategies for Embracing Change” can help increase the ability of your team to welcome new tools and workflows to improve overall productivity. Making a direct investment in your human capital can also increase morale and motivation and decrease turnover.

One example of a major innovation that has the potential to radically disrupt multiple industries: Google Glass, Google’s wearable, hands-free computing device. Glass has some medical professionals excited about its potential to totally change the face of American healthcare. Some advocates even predict that doctors, nurses and paramedics across the country will eventually rely on Google Glass to manage all aspects of patient care.

The device has already experienced some early success in the medical field. In January, Dr. Steven Horng saved the life of a patient at Beth Israel Deaconess hospital in Boston while using Google Glass, according to U.S. News and World Report. Horng used the technology to access the man’s drug allergy history fast enough to prevent his brain from hemorrhaging. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reports an ambulance company is testing two pairs of Google Glass for use by paramedics. The device allows an emergency room doctor to watch live video as it streams from the inside of the ambulance. As a patient is en route to the hospital, the physician can offer the emergency responders clinical advice and support, hopefully improving treatment and continuity of care.

The Atlantic magazine recently interviewed Stephanie Shine, a nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a strong proponent of using Google Glass in medical settings. When Shine delivered her baby prematurely, she was unable to see or touch him for a full 18 hours. She says that had she had Google Glass, she could have at least watched him from afar as he was treated in the newborn intensive care unit. Now she wants to make that an option for other new mothers of premature infants.

It’s important employers — whether in healthcare or any other industry — embrace developing technology, but it’s also true that adapting to new tools and expectations can be difficult. Empowering your workers through employee training programs can go a long way toward helping them adjust to and embrace upheaval in order to improve and grow. In less than half-an-hour, your workers can learn to let go of existing standards and procedures, open their minds and attitudes to other ways of working and leverage new methods to meet their goals.

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How to Use the Dreaded Performance Review

Performance reviews are usually a dreaded meeting for both employee and manager.  Historically, a performance review insinuates a dedicated time for the employee to hear what they need to do better or do more of, instead of hearing praise and appreciation for the work they have done.

 

What if, instead of the negative connotation associated with performance reviews, you were able to turn them into positive, useful discussions about the good work the employee is doing and the great impact they have on the organization?  This topic of utilizing performance reviews to better the employee and organization was discussed in a recent Forbes article, “How to Make Performance Reviews Relevant.” The more input available for the employee, the more productive the review will be.  Employees want to be recognized (not just monetarily) for the work they are doing, which is sometimes more than the manager may even realize.

The article gives seven tips to make performance reviews more meaningful for you and your employees. Summarized they are:

  1. Be prepared – the review should not just consider the past month of the employee’s performance, but the entire year, or since the last review.
  2. Hold private discussions – make the employee feel comfortable, and have the discussion in a closed-door area.
  3. Have an agenda – this will help put the employee at ease by letting them know what to expect during the discussion.
  4. Talk with them not at them – allow a two-way discussion and listen to the employee’s point of view
  5. Show appreciation of their work – not praising employees when and where credit is due, may lead to the loss of them.  Reward them for great work as generously as you are able.
  6.  There’s always room for improvement – of course recognize the employee’s work, but also discuss where they could improve, and set a plan to get them on track.
  7. End on the same page – make sure to reach a mutual understanding on upcoming goals, objectives and development plans before closing the review.

These courses provide great refresher material and offer great advice for managers having to give performance reviews for the first time:

How does your workplace use performance reviews?

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Survey Says: Employees List “Unclear Job Expectations” as a Top Workplace Stressor

"Unclear job expectations" may lead to high employee turnover, but training programs can help.

Do your employees seem burned out? A training program could help.

“Unclear job expectations” cause American workers a lot of on-the-job stress, according to a recent survey from professional services and consulting firm Towers Watson. The study polled 5,000 workers at companies with more than 1,000 employees and found the following five factors cause the most stress overall:

  1. Inadequate staffing
  2. Low pay/pay increases
  3. Unclear job expectations
  4. Organizational culture, including lack of teamwork, tendency to avoid accountability and assign blame to others
  5. Lack of work/life balance (Excessive workloads and/or long hours)

Interestingly, when the researchers surveyed the workers’ employers, they found a gap between what the managers thought was causing their employees stress and what actually was. Employers incorrectly believed lack of work/life balance to be the top stressor, when that factor actually came in fifth. They also thought expanded technology (such as smartphones, wireless internet, etc.) and the attendant expectation that employees be accessible outside of normal work hours was a top stress trigger, but it didn’t even make the top five.

As an employer, misunderstanding what is causing your employees’ stress can cause you to waste time, money and energy fixing problems your team perceives as relatively insignificant. On the other hand, accurately identifying top stressors allows you to resolve issues efficiently to improve morale and decrease employee turnover.

Investing in employee training programs for your team can address several, if not all, of the above stressors by helping to set expectations, improve overall efficiency and clarify your organization’s culture and values. Training also tends to improve accountability and teamwork, since everyone has a clearer idea of their responsibilities and is able to take ownership of specific tasks. Browse Mastery Technologies’ wide variety of online training programs to help decrease your employees’ stress levels and improve their job performance.

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Investigators: Poor employee training caused train derailment

Poor employee training led to a toxic spill that sickened nearly 30 people, investigators say.

Federal investigators say a 2012 train derailment was the result of poor employee training.

Federal investigators recently released a report saying that poor employee training led to a disastrous train derailment that sickened at least 28 people and forced nearly 700 to evacuate their homes, Reuters news service reports.

The accident happened in January of 2012, when a Conrail freight train fell into a creek near Paulsboro, New Jersey, and spilled 20,000 gallons of the highly toxic and flammable chemical vinyl chloride. According to the report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the conductor incorrectly assumed that a pivoting bridge was locked in place and that he was free to proceed. In fact, the bridge had malfunctioned after swinging open to let boats pass and did not close correctly. As the train moved onto the bridge, four cars fell into the water below.

The NTSB says that Conrail engineers were not given the necessary formal training to check whether a bridge was locked in place and instead were expected to learn on-the-job. The engineer in charge on the day of the derailment had never before performed such an inspection. Investigators report that the same bridge had experienced lock failures nearly two dozen times in the previous year and 11 times in the previous month.

Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate and nearly 30 were taken to the hospital with symptoms associated with exposure to the industrial chemical. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), vinyl chloride can cause dizziness, drowsiness and headaches in the short-term. Long-term exposure can cause severe liver damage and cancer.

This accident is a reminder of the importance of comprehensive, structured employee training. As a manager or executive, it may be tempting to rely on unofficial, on-the-job training for new workers. However, investing time and resources in formal programs will ultimately save you time and money in the long run, while also keeping your workers safe.

Source of original news story found here.

Mastery Technologies has a new subscription offering for organizations to train their entire workforce on a huge library of high-quality video training you can access on all desktops, notebooks, tablets, and smart phones. For more information on Mastery’s FlexSeat™ Subscription click here.

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Are You an Advocate for a Diverse Workforce?

The workforce is rapidly changing. It’s now compromised of different cultures, genders, and generations. This diverse workforce is what drives innovation and collaboration for an organization. An organization that does not value diversity won’t sustain a fruitful and energizing work environment.

Diversity is defined as “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.” The many different forms of people at an organization accelerates its advancement as an industry leader. This article from Business Insider discusses the importance of diversity in the workplace, and the idea of “thought diversity.” This concept encourages maintaining a variety of thinkers in the workplace to help avoid “groupthink, a dangerous tendency in groups to focus first and foremost on group conformity, often at the expense of making good decisions.” The article suggests thought diversity motivates ingenuity, teamwork, and improves productivity.

Companies that value diversity encourage collaboration and appreciate input from employees. This encouragement is what builds a more rewarding and beneficial work environment – plus a more efficient and profitable business. Mastery offers four new training courses to help promote and understand diversity at your workplace. Use these courses to educated leaders in the company to be advocates in having a diverse workforce:

See all of Mastery’s courses on diversity in the workplace.

How does your workplace show that it values diversity?

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This Amazing Organization has a Great Company Culture. Does Yours?

BBQ Spirit Day

Employees at Mastery enjoying a BBQ spirit day

I began as an intern at Mastery, and hired on full-time after four months of being employed.  Around six months into my time with Mastery I proposed a bit of a crazy idea.  I thought Mastery would benefit from enhancing its, already established, company culture; proving to our clients, prospective clients, and most importantly to employees, that we run our organization based on our mission to help build amazing organizations by in fact being one.   Though a little hesitant, I brought the idea to our HR coordinator and President of the company; almost immediately, they agreed it was exactly what our workplace needed.

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Our Marketing Team challenged the Sales Gong by purchasing a Marketing Chime

Feeling comfortable enough (as a young and new employee) to bring this idea to the table is rare at many organizations.  My leadership trusted my ideas, helped to facilitate the process, yet stayed out of my way to let it happen.  The open environment that allowed me to bring corporate culture initiatives to life has now benefited our entire company.

Our Spirit Committee meets regularly to brainstorm and implement our monthly Spirit Days in the office.  The Spirit Committee implemented our successful employee recognition program; Mastery Bricks.  Each employee receives blank Mastery Bricks, and as the employee sees fit, they fill-out a Brick to recognize a fellow employee for helping out with a task, going above and beyond their daily job duties, or just a nice thank-you.  These little pieces of red paper have made us more welcoming and appreciative of one another.

Appreciation Bricks

Mastery Bricks and our Brick Wall

Employees are also involved with our company bulletin board which is home to games like “2 Truths and a Lie,” “Guess Who,” “Whose Pet is this?” and an employee flashback photo guessing game.  The bulletin board also features company updates, future Spirit Days, and highlights employee achievements.

The Bulletin Board

Bulletin Board, featuring our Guess Who game

Maintaining an open environment to new ideas, and promoting a company culture of collaboration, empowers employees to think outside the box and bring new ideas to the forefront. In the e-learning industry, we are advocates on the importance of building and maintaining amazing organizations – what good is it if we are not abiding by our own campaigning?

An organization that allows its employees the opportunity and confidence to bring new ideas to the table benefits immensely from the creativity and productivity developed from it.

These courses may also help motivate team members to have a great workplace culture:

How does your work maintain a great company culture?

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July is Hot with New and Updated eLearning from Mastery

This month we released 17 titles new to our Video On Demand (VOD3) platform, and we updated another 50 VODs to the VOD3 platform. All of these VOD courses work on any device, including smart phones and tablets.

This month’s new titles include:

Casino Safety Basics
Safety Awareness: Employee Orientation
Excavation and Trenching Safety
Fire Extinguisher Use and Procedures for the Automotive Industry
Human Behavior: Preventing Unsafe Acts in Supermarkets and Grocery 
Human Behavior: Reducing Unsafe Acts in the Automotive Industry
Killer Bees, Wasps and Spiders
Ladder Safety
Respirators: The New Rules
Driving: Rest Stop Routines
Retail Tire Shop Safety Management
Safe Lifting In A Supermarket Environment
Safe Travel
Scaffolds: Inspection Basics For Supported Scaffolds
Supermarket Customer Service
Driving: The Consequences of Driving a Motor Vehicle Under The Influence
Torquing Lug Nuts

 

This month’s updates include:

Accident Investigation
Chain Saw Safety
Food Handling: Customer Accidents And Liability in the Food Service Industry
Orientation: Employee Safety Orientation For Automotive Personnel
Foodborne Illnesses In Restaurants
Forklifts: High-Impact Forklift Safety (Non-Graphic Version)
Hand And Power Tool Safety for the Automotive Industry
Hand, Wrist and Finger Safety
Harassment: Handling A Sexual Harassment Investigation
Hazardous Materials Labels
HAZWOPER ANSI Material Safety Data Sheets
HAZWOPER Personal Protective Equipment
HAZWOPER Respiratory Protection
HAZWOPER Safety Orientation
HAZWOPER: Accidental Release Measures and Spill Cleanup Procedures
HAZWOPER: Dealing With The Media In Emergency Situations
HAZWOPER: HAZMAT Labeling
HAZWOPER: Introduction to HAZWOPER Retraining
HAZWOPER: Medical Surveillance Program
HAZWOPER: Monitoring Procedures & Equipment
HAZWOPER: Personal Protective Equipment & Decontamination Procedures
HAZWOPER: Site Safety & Health Plan
HAZWOPER: Understanding HAZWOPER
Fire: Industrial Fire Prevention
Laboratory Safety: Using ANSI Material Safety Data Sheets in the Laboratory
Lock and Tag: LockOut / TagOut Refresher
Lock and Tag: Lockout/Tagout
Machine Safeguarding
Motor Fleet Maintenance Safety
Ergonomics: Office Ergonomics
Laboratory Safety: OSHA Laboratory Standard
Laboratory Safety: OSHA Laboratory Standard Refresher 
OSHA Lead Standard in Construction Refresher
OSHA Recordkeeping for Employees
OSHA Recordkeeping for Managers and Supervisors
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment in Construction Refresher
Personal Protective Equipment Refresher
Respiratory Protection and Safety
Respiratory Protection and Safety Refresher 
Restroom Cleaning
Overhead: Rigging Safety
Overhead: Rigging Safety in Construction Environments
Batteries: Safe Use, Handling, Storing, Charging, And Jump Starting Of Acid Batteries
Orientation: Safety Orientation in Construction Environments
Safety Showers & Eye Washes
Spills: Dealing with Hazardous Spills
Scaffolds: Supported Scaffolding Safety
Scaffolds: Supported Scaffolding Safety in Construction Environments
Scaffolds: Supported Scaffolding Safety in Construction Refresher

Learn more about Video On Demand courses or browse our course catalog of courses at Mastery.com!

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Set-Up First Time Supervisors for Success

Becoming a manager is an exciting, rewarding, yet nerve-wracking accomplishment.  Many first time managers or supervisors experience pushback, setbacks, or feel defeated.  As an organization, it is your responsibility to provide proper training and mentoring to guide and support your new managers.  This post offers some basic tips as well as training courses that are great to implement into your organization’s management training plan.

First time supervisors must understand the importance of creating an open environment for collaboration.  Allowing collaboration and brainstorming will generate a more innovative and productive workplace.  It is also important for leaders get to know their team, and understand the needs of each individual to make the team more successful.

Ideal candidates have essential skills such as; effective communication, coaching, conflict management, time management, and leadership abilities.  These training courses from Mastery.com supply effective leadership tips and will help new managers feel more comfortable starting their new positions.  Course titles include:

 

How do you prepare your first time managers or supervisors?

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Time to Take a Summer Vacation; Work Won’t Miss You Too Much!

Summer is finally here, which means many people finally get to take some vacation time!  Whether it’s traveling hundreds of miles or staying at home, quality time off is vital to avoiding burnout by revitalizing and restoring yourself for work.

Though having a much-needed break from work is wonderful, what happens when it’s time to return to your daily work routine?  The thought of returning to work after a relaxing vacation can be dreadful for many.  Thankfully, we’ve found five ways to combat the “Back-To-Work Blues” from the Huffington Post.  These tips are:

  1. Leave yourself time to recoup before going back to work
  2. Keep a positive attitude by working out and reminiscing about your trip
  3. Prioritize your work
  4. Don’t stress on getting every, single, thing done that week back
  5. Work smarter and delegate what you can

Everyone needs to take a break sometimes; not taking one can be much more detrimental on you than taking one.  For those of you who think you can’t leave your work alone… it will still be there when you return!  Keep these tips in mind when returning to the daily grind and you’ll have a much easier transition back to work.

Don’t forget that before traveling there are many elements to consider, including safety.  Try our training course, “Safe Travel,” for traveling tips, whether it’s for business or pleasure. The course covers tips for staying away, sanitation, and dealing with potential emergencies like a hotel fire.

Check out this course, and others at Mastery.com!

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