Manufacturers from across Northern NS congregate at Intertape Polymer (IPG) in Truro for the second in a series of provincial facilitated discussions on a range on HR topics.
Once everyone figured out the proper entrance to the sprawling IPG facility (I’ll do better with directions next time) the group got down to business. The turnout showed that folks felt a need to share ideas and hear how others are addressing a range of Human Resource situations in their buildings. After a round of introductions and an EMC update on local training activity and upcoming EMC SIG events the group dug right in.
Open group discussions shed a lot of light on important topics....
Topics covered the spectrum but some of the highlights included:
- Absenteeism / doctors notes. Who uses them, what is the value? The range of procedures on this was quite broad, some require notes, some do not. People talked about looking for trends in absenteeism, the challenges with getting doctors to ‘participate’ in identifying fitness for work and not just sign a note. It was mentioned that absenteeism has many causes and that better employee relations / communication could help with some of the offenders.
- Mental health in the workplace. This is a topic that impacts many families and clearly most employers. The group will investigate a regional ‘mental health first aid’ training activity.
- Onboarding processes. What steps do folks take when initiating new employees? One day, three days? How much can one person retain after a day filled with copious amounts of new info? What is the follow up process? Who is responsible? Is there a set procedure to check to see if the new hire ‘gets it’? Many depend on supervisors to stay in touch with new hires as the settle in but do they know this? Do they know how? It was felt that it is important to check back on a regular basis as people need reminders of the myriad of info they need to be aware of as employees
- Communication / change management skills were discussed a lot as they relate to many of the topics covered.
- Training is also a high on the list topic for many and there is agreement that good / relevant training is hard to find / afford. We discussed new options for the cluster training such as HR essentials for non HR professionals.
- Marijuana....this is when the conversation got lively! Many in the room were concerned about the impacts of medical / recreational marijuana in the workplace. How to deal with consumption, how to lessen the impact on others, how to judge impairment, impact on safety / quality, and on and on. We discussed the need for robust policies dealing with ALL medically prescribed drugs in the workplace and the responsibility of the employee to report using ANY prescribed drug that might impact their ability to perform their duties. It was discussed that MANY prescribed drugs can alter one’s ability to work but few when used as prescribed are meant to impair and marijuana is like any other prescribed medication if used as prescribed. Companies must communicate in advance with employees to report the use of prescribed medications and they must be ready with plans to deal with employees in these situations. Open and clear policies established and communicated BEFORE an event are the best solution and every company may handle this challenge differently. Recreational marijuana is similar in that companies should have in place policies on alcohol / drug use in the workplace. Publicly stated zero tolerance / consequences will assist to reduce this problem. The challenge with weed is the duration of impairment, detection and methods of consumption (food, lip balm etc.). This challenge will evolve quickly next summer but for sure companies are not obligated to put up a second ‘smoke’ shack as some have been asked to do! To ensure your policies are robust enough contacting a lawyer or someone who specializes in workplace substance abuse is good advice.
Clearly there were more challenges that we could have discussed and it is never a good thing leaving an event without all the answers but I think there were good ideas shared and clearly topics for future discussions unearthed. EMC will be investigating some of the actionable items right away.
Thanks to Brenda and the folks at IPG for hosting and to those who showed up to talk. I think this group needs to get together more often.
If you have any questions on this event or EMC in general, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org