Mental Health in the Workplace

Today 10th October every year is celebrated as World Mental Health Day. The theme of this year 2017 is titled of this post: Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. Some mental health problems are described using words that are in everyday use, for example ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’. This can make them seem easier to understand, but can also mean people underestimate how serious they can be.

However, despite these challenges, it is possible to recover from a mental health problem and live a productive and fulfilling life. It is important to remember that, if you have a mental health problem, it is not a sign of weakness.

A mental health problem feels just as bad, or worse, than any other illness – only you cannot see it. Although mental health problems are very common – affecting around one in four people in Britain – there is still stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems, as well as many myths about what different diagnoses mean.

There are also a lot of different ideas about the way mental health problems are diagnosed, what causes them and which treatments are most effective.

Then, what is Mental Health? The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined mental health as a “state of well-being in which e very individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

“Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience that enables us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment, and sadness. It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief in our own and other’s self-worth.” (Health Education Authority, UK, 1997)

What causes mental health problems? According to Mind for Better Mental Health Journal (2014) : Understanding Mental Health Problem Journal , mental health problems can have a wide range of causes. In most cases, no one is sure precisely what the cause of a particular problem is. We can often point to things that trigger a period of poor mental health but some people tend to be more deeply affected by these things than others.

The following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:

  • childhood abuse, trauma, violence or neglect
  • social isolation, loneliness or discrimination
  • the death of someone close to you • stress
  • homelessness or poor housing • social disadvantage, poverty or debt •  unemployment
  • caring for a family member or friend • a long-term physical health condition
  • significant trauma as an adult, such as military combat, being involved in a serious accident or being the victim of a violent crime
  • physical causes – for example, a head injury or a condition such as epilepsy can have an impact on behaviour and mood (it is important to rule out causes such as this before seeking further treatment for a mental health problem)
  • genetic factors – there are genes that cause physical illnesses, so there may be genes that play a role in the development of mental health problems.

Mental health problems refer to the more common struggles and adjustment difficulties that affect everybody from time to time. These problems tend to happen when people are going through difficult times in life, such as a relationship ending, the death of some- one close, conflict in relations with family or friends, or stresses at home, school or work. Feeling stressed or having the blues is a normal response to the psychological or social challenges most people encounter at some time or another. Mental health problems are usually short-term reactions to a particular stressor, such as a loss, painful event, or illness.  (Mental Illness Foundation, 2003).

To be continue…

Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management

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Gender Discrimination in the Workplace- Akeem Gbadamosi.

Is anything like gender discrimination in the workplace?
Does gender discrimination affect women alone?

Is there any link between gender discrimination and glass ceiling?

What is your understanding of the term gender discrimination?

Gender discrimination can be defined in a variety of ways, but is most commonly identified as making decisions based on aesthetic or ascriptive perceptions of ones sex of sex.  In the workforce, discrimination can be analyzed and recognized in any decision related to wages, terminations, promotions, hiring, leaves, and benefits. Any of these major decisions made on the basis of sex or gender are illegal under both state and federal law, with past trials and case law building their strength. There is still, however, a significant amount of inequality of opportunity and discrimination that women face today as they strive to not only become a part of the workforce, but to advance within it.  Many of these issues are much more deeply rooted in societal norms and acculturation. Societys views and expectations of women influence how she is perceived and treated in the workplace.

Fiona Wilson (2002), Professor of Organizational Behaviour in the Department of Business and Management, University of Glasgow. She believed that every prestigious or highly-paid occupation in Britain is dominated by men, both numerically and in terms of who wield viewed. Wilson notes that women in the UK hold just one in five of all management positions.

Many countries have sex discrimination and equal pay legislation. However, informal psychological and organizational barriers continue to bar the progress of women. The processes of occupational segregation and sex-typing of jobs continue so that women tend to be concentrated at the base of most organizational hierarchies in jobs which are less prestigious and lower paid than those favoured by men.

G.A Cole and Phil Kelly (2011) in their book: Management Theory and Practice said studies on the relationship between gender, and the likelihood that a candidate will be recommended for hiring, find an advantage in favour of men.

The phenomenon of overrating men and women and underrating women job candidates appears to be widespread. Women fare worse than men in salary, promotion and ability to reach the top, regardless of the occupation. The gender pay gap emerges very quickly in the working lives of women and men, well before maternity and childcare responsibilities have an impact upon womens lives. Managers are reluctant to employ young married women who they fear may start a family. They give preference to older women whose child-rearing responsibilities are completed.

Natalie Hays and Katie Morrow (2013), despite women gaining employment opportunities, they were still openly viewed as inferior employees in comparison to men well into modern society. This lack of confidence in the work of women comes from the broader societal belief that they are incapable of highly skilled labor, and expanding their skills beyond the household.  The influence of this belief that womens work was less valuable than that of men has wide reaching effects on their treatment as employees, their opportunities, and resulting compensation.  This socially accepted viewpoint was openly expressed throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, although it is demonstrated in less obvious ways today.

To be continuing
Rotn. TM Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc. Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An Human Resource Management and Development Services Firm)

What is the future of HR Profession? – Akeem Gbadamosi

Is HR profession going into extinction?

As an HR professional, are not afraid of losing your job?

As an HR Professional, are you planning to switch to another profession?

What is the future of HR profession? This is a $ million question!

The titled of this post became something of worry to one of largest HR association in the world: the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) when they conducted a research; The Future of the HR Profession. They study to document perspectives on the changing nature of the human resources. SHRM as an influential voice is committed to advancing the human resource profession to ensure that HR is an essential and effective partner in developing and executing organizational strategy.

They report represents perspectives from management consultants that work with HR professionals in multiple industries both nationally and internationally. The following are consulting firms who participated in the study: Accenture, Arthur Anderson, Hewitt Associate, Williams M. Mercer. Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers, Resources Connection, Tower Perrir, Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

The eight leading consulting firms listed above share their visions for the future of human resources. Each firm selected the individual consultants who participated in the study based upon the range of their experience in the firm’s HR-related practice groups. All participants responded to the same set of questions as follows:

  • What is the most compelling work in HR today?
  • What skills/experiences are necessary for the successful HR professional today?
  • Within the next decade, what are the primary workplace issues and challenges facing the HR profession?
  • Will the way in which HR work is accompanied change significantly in the next decade?
  • What are the opportunities for forward-thinking professionals over the next few years?
  • How will outsourcing play a part in the future of HR?
  • Will the HR profession survive in the next decade? If not, how will it be replaced?
  • What are the indicators (e.g., economic, technological, political, environmental) that support your firm’s vision?

Participating consultants provided SHRM with the insights about the human resource profession, based on their experience with numerous client companies. Collectively, these consultants have worked with hundreds of businesses in every stage of development—from some of the world’s largest, most sophisticated organizations to venture-backed start-ups. They have also experienced evolution of their own firm’s practices to better align with changing client needs.

The findings of the study: the study results indicate a clear consensus that there are two primary drivers of change in HR: technology and talent management.  Specifically, continuous innovations in technology will fundamentally change the way HR work is accomplished. Further, talent management will become a critical priority for the nation’s businesses—and the strategic purpose of HR’s future role within organizations.

While there is consistency in the broader themes found in the study results, there are subtle differences as well.  The highlights of the study are found in these differences, providing new insights about the profession and potential strategies for HR professionals in all stages of their careers.

Rotn. TM Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc. Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An Human Resource Management and Development Services Firm).

Stress and Stress Management in the Workplace- Akeem Gbadamosi

Workplace stress is one of the most common forms of stress in our society. Public speaking, job security, lateral communication, absenteeism, meetings, time crunch/deadlines, performance reviews, quotas, budgets, and phobias of crowds, closed spaces (elevators), and flying are among the top triggers of corporate stress. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, some amount of stress in the workplace is inevitable. Although you may be doing a great job leading change in your organization and creating flexible plans that allow for the unexpected, you may have to work with many other employees who aren’t doing such a great job. The presence of change and differences in individual working styles are bound to create stress for you and your organization.

What is Stress itself?

Every individual has his/her own definition of stress. Stress is the outcome of the adaptation of our bodies and mind to change which requires physical, psychological, emotional, and/or behavioural effort. We all experience stress in one way or the other in our day-to-day activities. Our relationship with our spouses, supervisors, bosses, co-workers, subordinates, friends, and the likes, most time get us stressed.

One school of thought believed, Stress is “evil” and should be avoided at all cost. Another school of thought said, Stress is “good” that every individual needs an optimum level of stress to survive in life. Facing that stress some people give others excitement. Racing drivers and mountaineers seem to thrive on physical challenges. Some people enjoyed the excitement of going to sea in bad weather and join the lifeboat crew. So, one person’s stress may be another person’s pleasure.

In fact, a certain amount of stress is good for us. When we have to face up to a challenge or we are made to get on with some job that we don’t want to do, we often find that we can achieve the target that we have been set. We then feel a lot better having done it. Facing challenges and overcoming them stops us from getting bored. In fact, many people deliberately create mild stress in their lives to overcome period of dull routine.

What are stressors?

A stressor is any “event, situation, person, object, phenomenon which is perceived as a stressful element and that which as a result induces the stress reaction”. Stressors can be psychological or physical (bio-ecological) in nature. In simpler term, stressors are events, circumstance(s) that lead to someone feeling that physical or psychological demands are about to exceed his or her ability to cope.

How does stress affect your body?

According to Professor Greg Wilkinson in his book: Understanding Stress, gave some accounts on how stress affects the body.  Stress sets off wide-ranging changes in the chemical control (neurotransmission) of the body hormone system called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system (known as the ‘HPA axis’ for short). The first part of this system, the hypothalamus controls the pituitary gland in our brain, which activates the adrenal glands in our abdomens. For example, in acute stress, discharge into the blood of adrenal stress hormones, such as adrenaline (now called epinephrine), leads to the ‘fight or flight’ response, with increases in startle, anxiety, heart rate, blood pressure and blood glucose, sweating or flushing, decrease appetite, disturbed sleep and decreased sexual activity.

What are the causes of Stress?

To be continuing…

Rotn. TM Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc. Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management

Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An Human Resource Management and Development Services Firm)

Get Promoted!- Akeem Gbadamosi

Want a promotion? 
Try These 7 Tactics:

1) Make your manager look good.

2) Keep a kudos file.

3) Ask for the job you want.

4) Develop a can-do attitude. 

5) Keep up on industry news. 

6) Lend a helping hand to other.

7) Sharpen your skills.

Culled from HR Magazine March 2017 Edition by SHRM.ORG 

Rotn. TM. Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. 

Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting

(An Human Resource Management and Development Services firm.)

​Negotiation in the Workplace- Akeem Gbadamosi

Many people believed the act of negotiation is all about and money. It isnt. We do it instinctively, as in our families, and in our communities as well as in business, management, industrial relations, and all levels of government. Sometimes we negotiate without realizing it. Common examples includes labour-management negotiation over wages, hours, and working conditions and negotiation between supply chain specialists and vendor involving price, delivery schedules, and credit terms. Self-managed work teams with overlapping task boundaries also need to rely on negotiated agreement. Negotiating skills are more important today than ever. 
What is Negotiation?

Negotiation can be formally defined as a give-and-take decision making process involving interdependent parties with different perspectives. Negotiation is being give and take mean a process which we compromise and agree a way forward.

Negotiation is the process in which parties that perceives one or more incompatibilities between them, try to find a mutually acceptable solution. Negotiation Is Part of Life. Negotiation is a part of normal everyday life. In fact, experts on the subject have said that life, itself, is just one continuous negotiation.

Still, many people feel that they are not experienced contract negotiators. Perhaps they do not realize that there are many types of contracts. Not all are complex written agreements. Most contracts are oral agreements which may or may not involve the exchange of monetary consideration. 

Without realizing it, you have probably been involved in a variety of contract negotiations every day of your life. In fact, we constantly bargain with other people to fulfill both our monetary and non-monetary needs.

In fact, you must negotiate for most things you want in life. You can only avoid negotiation if you have no desire for anything held or controlled by someone else. Regardless of your profession, skill as a negotiator is essential to your success. In Government contracting, the skill is particularly important because your daily work requires you to obtain supplies and services from responsible sources at fair and reasonable prices.

There are two basic types of negotiation: Distributive negotiation, and integrative negotiation. Negotiation experts distinguish between the two types of negotiation and understanding the difference requires a change in traditional fixed pie thinking.

A distributive negotiation usually involves a single issuefixed-piein which one person gains at the expense of the other. For example, haggling over the price of a rug in a bazzar is a distributive negotiation. In most conflicts, however, more than one the issue is at stake and each party value the issue differently. The outcomes available are no longer fixed-pie divided among all parties. All agreement can be found that is better for both parties than what they would have reached through distributive negotiation. This is an integrative negotiation.

However, parties in a negotiation often dont find these beneficial trade-off because each assumes its interest directly conflict with those of the other party. What is good for the other side must be bad for us is a common and unfortunate perspective that most people have. This is the mind-set we call the mythical fixed-pie.

Distributive negotiation involves traditional win-lose thinking while Integrative negotiation calls for a progressive win-win strategy. In a laboratory study of joint venture negotiations, team trained in integrative tactics achieved better outcomes for both sides than did untrained teams.

To be continuing

NEXT ARTICLE: Strategies for Successful Negotiation.

Rotarian T.M Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management 

Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An HRM and Development Services firm)

​Why Does Work team Fail? – Akeem Gbadamosi

This is a continuation of previous post title: Team and Team Work in the Workplace. You can read the post from here: http://www.tinyurl.com/m4j9q6p

Teams differ fundamentally from working groups because they require both individual and mutual accountability. Teams rely on more than group discussion, debate, and decision, on more than sharing information and best-practice performance standards. Team produce discrete work product through the joint contribution of their members. This is what makes possible performance level greater than the sum of all the individual bests of team members.

 Simply stated in their write-up in the HBRS 10 MUST READS ON MANAGING PEOPLE by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith sees a team is more than the sum of its parts. Most executives advocate teamwork. And they should. Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage listening and responding constructive to views expressed by others, giving others the benefit of doubt, providing support, and recognizing the interest and achievements of others. Such values help teams perform, and they also promote individual performance as well as the performance of entire organization. But teamwork values by themselves are not exclusive to teams, nor are they enough to ensure team performance.

Back to the title of the post: WHY DOES WORK TEAM FAIL?

Advocate of the team approach to management paint a very optimistic and bright picture. Yet there is a dark side to teams. While exact statistics may not be available, they can and often fail. Anyone contemplating the use of team structures in the workplace needs a balanced perspective of advantages and limitations.

According to Robert Kneitner and Angelo Kinicki in their book wonderful book, Organizational Behaviour itemized some reasons of team failure. They categorized the reasons into two viz: Mistakes typically made by management, and Problems typically experienced by team members.

The first category: MISTAKES TYPICALLY MADE BY MANAGEMENT. The following are reasons:

*Teams cannot overcome weak strategies and poor business practices.

*Hostile environment for teams (command-and-control culture; competitive/individual reward plans; management resistance.

*Teams adopted as a fad, a quick-fix, no long team commitment.

*Lessons from one team not transferred to other ( limited experimentation with teams)

*Vague or conflicting team assignments

*Inadequate team skills training.

*Poor staffing of teams.

*Lack of trust.

The second category: PROBLEM TYPICALLY EXPERIENCE BY TEAM MEMBERS. The reasons are follows:

*Team tries to do too much too soon

*Conflict over difference in personal work styles (and /or personally conflicts).

*Too much emphasis on results, not enough on team processes and group dynamics.

*Unanticipated obstacle causes team to give up.

*Resistance to doing things differently.

*Poor interpersonal skills (aggressive rather than assertive communication, destructive conflict, win-lose negotiation).

*Poor interpersonal chemistry (loner, dominators, self-appointed experts do not fit in).

*Lack of trust

NEXT ARTICLE: NEGOTIATION IN THE WORKPLACE.

Rotarian T.M Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management 

Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An HRM and Development Services Firm)