first_imgLettersOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today This month’s lettersApril Fool not so far-fetched?Thank you to Joan Lewis and Linda Goldman for revealing the future of OH in‘A political issue’ (Occupational Health, April 2003). As the powerful collective of OH nursing organisations begins to flex itslobbying muscle, I allow myself to dream about the outcome. If I were to ask you to suspend your disbelief and dream with me, with nopossibility of failure, tell me this: – Who will the minister be? – Can we influence this decision? – What will a minister for occupational health do for our profession? – When will the collective reach a critical mass? – Does the collective know your views? Yes, I believe a critical mass is needed. Each voice that we can add to thecollective brings it more power. I urge you to add yours. Do you share thisdream? If this dream is to become a reality, what action do you (yes you) need totake? Claire Raistrick Advocate for the ‘Department of Occupational Health’ Editor’s reply: In the April issue of OH, we published an April Fool’sarticle by Linda Goldman and Joan Lewis, which described plans to introduce anew extra-governmental organisation to reorganise internal processes (EGOTRIP),with the formation of a Department for Occupational Health. But maybe this ideais not as far-fetched as it first seemed? Management holds key to absenteeismReading the April edition of Occupational Health, it is interesting, but notsurprising, that three articles are dedicated to the issue of absenteeism andrehabilitation in the workplace. The absence of an employee for a long period of time naturally puts pressureon an organisation, in terms of the costs of covering absence and also themorale of team workers. Achieving the smooth return to work of an employee who has been absent forsome time, requires early steps to be taken to establish a non-threateningrapport with the individual concerned. If the emphasis in managing sickness absence transfers from the GP to theemployer, (as correctly outlined in Graham Johnson’s article ‘Sickness absencecure’), it is essential that management has the appropriate skills andexpertise to deal with this issue. I have met many managers who see the return-to-work interview as justanother procedure that has to be carried out. Bill, one of my client departmental managers, told me: “It is justsomething I usually do while walking down the corridor, and I get the employeeto sign on the dotted line before I even get to my office.” If management are to be proactively involved in this process, they need afull understanding of the reasons behind the initiative, and training to ensurethey have good communication skills, so that discussions between them and theiremployees take place as an ongoing process, and not just when they are absent. Management has the key to absenteeism. OH is essentially in place whenneeded for its specific expertise, but management are there on the shopfloor toidentify and diffuse issues as and when they occur, and before they get out ofhand. The ‘Bills’ of this world cannot be expected to perform their jobeffectively, unless they have the tools to do the job. People are not necessarily born ‘good communicators and listeners’. Theyneed training, and organisations need to invest in developing people managementskills. Carole Spiers Carole Spiers Group, Corporate Wellbeing Consultants Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more