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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Well-being initiatives discussed in the case study and their role

Assignment Purposes/Learning Outcomes:

After completion of Assignment two students will be able to understand the following LO’s

LO3: To demonstrate a thorough understanding of HR Strategic planning which includes effective job analysis, recruitment, and selection strategies.

LO4: To have the ability to deliver and communicate HR policies messages in a coherent and professional manner.

LO5: To have the ability to carry out objective and scientific analysis of employees’ performance management.

LO6: To be able to identify and describe the needs of the parties involved in labor relations, and how these needs are balanced.

Read the case given below and answer the questions:

Celtic Packaging who had introduced several the initiatives that were advocated in the previous year. Celtic is a consumer packaging manufacturer based in South Wales which employs approximately 450 staff in a manufacturing plant producing rigid plaster containers for the food manufacturing industry. Most of its workforce is employed on its 24-hour, 7-days-a-week production line, working 12-hour shifts in four shift teams. In the first half of 2007, Celtic had undertaken a workplace health audit, funded by a partnership between the local authority and a local university, to assess both the reported and actual health of its workforce and its link to workplace productivity. The local authority was keen for Celtic to be involved because it represented a sizeable employer in the area. Celtic was similarly keen to become involved in the project because senior management felt it might provide some solutions to a range of employment problems it was experiencing at the time, including unacceptable levels of employee sickness absence and turnover which were impacting on productivity, product quality and the company finances. Whilst the work that much of the workforce does is largely repetitive and routine, training employees to work a particular piece of machinery can be time-consuming and costly. Subsequently, absence and turnover have sizeable financial implications. Moreover, the hiring of inexperienced temps at short notice to work on the production line often has a negative impact on both productivity and quality. Senior management at Celtic also saw their involvement in the initiative as an opportunity to develop its focus on corporate social responsibility, as part of a wider marketing strategy, and to improve relations with the local community and position Celtic as an employer of choice in the area.

Celtic draws many of its semi-skilled and unskilled workers from an area of relative deprivation with high levels of unemployment and poor health. The workplace health audit found that most of the workforce displayed low levels of physical health, even among younger workers.

Following analysis of the audit and staff survey findings, Celtic decided to fund a series of staff seminars, presented by health care experts and academics from the university, on health issues ranging from smoking to heart disease. Surprised by the level of staff interest in the seminars, senior management, with the assistance of local authority occupational health practitioners, decided to introduce a wider range of workplace initiatives with the following objectives:

to improve employee quality of life both inside and outside of the workplace
to raise staff awareness of health and well-being issues
to improve the health and physical fitness of its employees
to reduce the incidence of work-related injury and illness
to improve productivity, employee attendance and staff morale.
These broad objectives continue to inform Celtic’s approach to workplace well-being. the company has invested heavily in its program, not least in building an on-site gymnasium for use by both staff and their families. Several long-term sickness absentees have successfully used the facility, with the guidance of a workplace well-being advisor, to rehabilitate themselves and return to work. The company now employs a full-time well-being advisor with whom workers can discuss health problems and who undertakes risk assessments, supports workers in stopping smoking and ensures early intervention in alleviating workplace injury and illness. For example, a number of workers had been to see the advisor whilst suffering from repetitive strain injuries and she was able to offer advice on how to minimize pain and reduce strain in carrying out their work. The advisor also carries out routine health checks, offers counselling to deal with workplace stress or other mental health concerns and runs a slimming club and regular seminars advising on healthy eating. The staff canteen now offers only healthy options, and all employees are entitled to two free meals per shift. Outside of the workplace, the company has developed a relationship with a nearby leisure center who provides a range of regular activities and classes which staff can undertake at reduced prices, including tennis, badminton, tai chi, yoga and climbing. The company advisor runs a few staff sports leagues, for example five-a-side football and badminton, to promote healthy competition among employees. The company has also set up a ‘cycle to work’ scheme to allow employees to take advantage of tax and NI savings on bike purchases to commute to work.

Importantly, the well-being initiatives have been put in place as part of a wider set of HR policies and practices designed to engage staff, for example, the establishment of a company council, an employee suggestion scheme and more formal performance management practices.

To monitor the impact of the well-being initiatives, Celtic conducts an annual health audit and employee attitude survey. Senior management has been very pleased with the results of the well-being program and cites the following outcomes as an indication of its continued success:

employee absenteeism well below the sector average
reduced cost of hiring temporary workers
increase in reported employee satisfaction.
increased productivity
reduced employee turnover and intention to quit.

Identify the well-being initiatives discussed in this case study and indicate their role in an effective HR environment. (4 Marks)
What are the notable areas that Celtic appears to have failed to address? (4Marks)
What are the potential long-term implications of the approach to employee well-being that Celtic has adopted? (3.5Marks)
What according to you should organizations consider while they want happy employees at the workplace? (3.5Marks)

Well-being initiatives discussed in the case study and their role in an effective HR environment:
a) Staff seminars on health issues: These seminars aim to raise staff awareness of health and well-being issues, improve employee quality of life, and reduce the incidence of work-related injury and illness. They play a role in promoting a culture of health and well-being within the organization and fostering a sense of care for employees’ physical and mental health.

b) On-site gymnasium: The investment in an on-site gymnasium provides employees with the opportunity to improve their physical fitness and overall well-being. It contributes to the objective of improving employee quality of life, reducing work-related injuries and illnesses, and enhancing productivity by promoting healthier lifestyles.

c) Full-time well-being advisor: The well-being advisor supports employees in various aspects of their health and well-being, including rehabilitation, risk assessments, smoking cessation, mental health support, and healthy eating. The advisor plays a crucial role in providing guidance, counseling, and early intervention, ensuring a holistic approach to employee well-being.

d) Healthy food options and free meals: The staff canteen offering healthy food options and providing two free meals per shift encourages employees to make healthier choices, leading to improved physical health. This initiative supports the goal of improving employee well-being and promoting a healthy work environment.

e) Relationship with a nearby leisure center: Collaborating with a leisure center allows employees to participate in a range of physical activities and classes at reduced prices. This initiative encourages employees to engage in regular exercise and leisure activities, contributing to their overall well-being and work-life balance.

f) Staff sports leagues and ‘cycle to work’ scheme: The staff sports leagues promote healthy competition and teamwork among employees, fostering a positive work environment. The ‘cycle to work’ scheme not only promotes physical activity but also contributes to environmental sustainability. These initiatives help in creating a sense of community and enhancing employee engagement.

Role in an effective HR environment: These well-being initiatives demonstrate Celtic’s commitment to employee well-being, fostering a positive work culture, improving productivity, reducing absenteeism, and enhancing employee satisfaction. They contribute to attracting and retaining talent, creating a healthier and more engaged workforce, and positioning Celtic as an employer of choice in the area.

Notable areas Celtic appears to have failed to address:
a) Job design and task variety: The case study mentions that much of the workforce at Celtic is engaged in repetitive and routine work. While the well-being initiatives aim to address the physical health aspects, the company does not explicitly mention any efforts to enhance job satisfaction through job enrichment, task rotation, or skill development opportunities. Focusing on job design and providing employees with more challenging and meaningful tasks could further improve employee engagement and satisfaction.

b) Mental health support: Although the case mentions counseling for workplace stress and other mental health concerns, it does not provide extensive details on specific mental health programs or initiatives. Considering the potential impact of mental health on employee well-being and productivity, Celtic could benefit from implementing comprehensive mental health support programs, such as employee assistance programs, awareness campaigns, and training on stress management and resilience.

c) Work-life balance: While the case discusses the availability of activities and classes at a leisure center, it does not explicitly address work-life balance initiatives. Supporting employees in managing their work and personal life commitments through flexible work arrangements, family-friendly policies, and promoting a healthy work-life balance could further enhance employee well-being and satisfaction.

Potential long-term implications of Celtic’s approach to employee well-being:
a) Improved employee retention: By investing in employee well-being and creating a positive work environment, Celtic is likely to experience reduced employee turnover and intention to quit. This can lead to long-term stability in the workforce, cost savings associated with recruitment and training, and the retention of skilled employees.

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