MANAGING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF RISK
The issue of risk in project management is a crucial one and little account is taken of the unique contribution that people’s individual differences make to the management of risk. Research carried out to date has demonstrated that individual personality factors play a determining role in the extent to which people are likely to be risk takers or risk avoidant. See our article which was published by ‘Wellintone-Blog’. http://www.wellingtone.co.uk/blog/?tag=sharon-de-mascia
GETTING THE BEST OUT OF MEETINGS
Meetings are an important part of work and have tremendous potential. They can provide an opportunity for leaders to share their vision and for teams to contribute their ideas, expertise and creativity in order to tackle organisational challenges. Unfortunately, many organisations fail to get the best out of meetings becuse they are often badly planned and badly led. See the top ten tips for improving your meetings; based on emerging psychological research.
This page contains additional information that you might find helpful. Below are two documents i.e ‘Facilitating Good Mental Health in the Workplace’ and ‘A Guide to Psychometric Testing’.
GUIDE (1) – FACILITATING GOOD MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE: FACTORS TO INCLUDE
“Businesses that don’t take mental health seriously will not survive in the 21st century. The global economy is changing fast and the capabilities that companies require now centre more on innovation, communication and emotional intelligence than just the more straightforward requirements of strength, dexterity and intellect that characterised previous eras” Dr Paul Litchfield (Chief Medical Officer, British Telecom)
Research by the ‘Business Action on Health Campaign’ suggests that there was a link to enhanced financial performance for those FTSE 100 companies that strategically manage their employees’ health and wellbeing. The research identified four key areas to promote employee health and wellbeing
- Better physical and psychological health – create an environment that promotes healthy behaviours.
- Better work – create a happy and engaging work environment.
- Better relationships – promote communications and social connections.
- Better specialist support – provide interventions to manage health and wellbeing.
1, Better Physical And Psychological Health – create an environment that promotes healthy behaviours.
Many companies inadvertently create a culture where it is seen as a strength to stay as late as possible (regardless of how effectively or efficiently you are working) and to drag yourself into work, regardless of how ill you feel. This culture is generally top down with a poor example being set by a manager who perhaps feels that this is what is expected of him/her. If you, as the manager, are a natural workaholic, just remember that not everyone can work at this pace and try to set a healthier example.
Try to create an open and non-punitive environment where people feel comfortable raising issues that are important to them. Encourage managers to make time to engage with people on a daily basis and establish a relationship with them. It is much easier for an employee to raise a mental health problem if they feel that they have a good relationship with their manager. Equally, as a manager, it is much easier to open a discussion with someone (where you suspect that they may have a mental health problem) if you have a good relationship with them. In addition, the better you know your employees, the more likely you are to notice if the employee starts behaving differently which could indicate the beginning of a mental health problem. Try to create a supportive culture where people are encouraged to talk to their manager if they have a problem. In addition, encourage your managers to open a dialogue with their staff if they suspect that the staff member is experiencing mental health difficulties.
Encourage good general health behaviours where possible and this can be done in a number of ways depending on the resources available to the company e.g:
- Having a staff gym or discount vouchers for a public gym
- Healthy options in the staff canteen or fruit available instead of sugary snacks
- Encouraging people to play sports together e.g. team tennis tournament
- Posters in the staff canteen promoting good health
- Posters/information in public places about mental health/general health issues
- Seminars on ‘looking after yourself
Be prepared to make adjustments in the workplace where necessary in order to better support the recovery of someone experiencing a mental health problem (you have an obligation under the 2005 Disability Discrimination Act).
2, Better Work – Create A Happy and Engaging Work Environment.
Quantity of Work
Make sure the workload is manageable for the individual. Remember that we all have different capacities and just because one worker or group of workers can manage a certain workload, it does not mean that everyone can.
Quality of Work
Try to ensure that there is a good match between people’s skills/experience and the type of work that you give them to do. Where possible, use people’s strengths and interests to help allocate tasks.
Dignity at Work
Create an environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. This will help avoid any bullying attitudes and encourage a culture of mutual respect.
Staff are more likely to feel motivated if they are doing a job that they enjoy and if they are respected and valued for what they do.
Managers play a key role in the establishment of a work culture and environment. Their influence can help to create stress or avoid it; depending on the types of behaviours that they regularly exhibit. The ‘Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has some really useful information on their website about carrying out risk assessments to identify mental health issues. In addition, there is a questionnaire that managers can complete to help them identify whether their current behaviours are more likely to increase or reduce stress within their work environment.
3, Better Relationships – Promote Communications And Social Connections.
Ensure that you have good communication mechanisms in your work environment e.g. team meetings, 1:1 meetings between employees and their managers.
Ensure that good relationships exist within teams. We should not assume that good relationships will naturally exist in teams and be prepared to invest time and effort in helping teams build good relationships if necessary.
Encourage your staff to socialise together by creating opportunities e.g. in Europe, companies have picnics where staff and their families get together. The UK weather may not be particularly conducive to picnics but there are many ways to get staff together outside work e.g. bowling, sports, and outdoor pursuits. The list is endless.
Facilitate an environment where staff can socialise within work e.g. a common area where people can meet for lunch or coffee (even if it means taking their own food and drink to the common area if you do not have canteen facilities).
Be aware that there may be times when staff need additional support e.g. during times of high workload or high levels of change
4, Better Specialist Support – Provide Interventions To Manage Health And Wellbeing.
If you have an occupational health department then you can involve them not only in supporting staff members who are experiencing mental health difficulties but also in helping to prevent mental health problems occurring, through preventative measures. If you do not have an occupational health service, it does not mean that you will be unable to offer specialist support to your staff; it just means that you will have to find out what services are available locally (e.g. that are available through the NHS and private suppliers) and ensure that your managers are aware of them. Many regions now have drop-in centres where people can go to discuss health problems or alternatively, the staff member’s GP is always a good starting point.
If you have the resources you can invest in preventative support for staff such as:
- Stress management training,
- Stress audits to reduce unnecessary organisational pressures,
- ‘Resiliance ‘training for managers
GUIDE (2) - WHAT COULD PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS DO FOR YOU?
What Are Psychometric Tests?
They are sophisticated tools designed to measure individual differences across a number of areas e.g. numerical problem solving, verbal problem solving, emotional intelligence, personality. The majority of Psychometric tests are designed and developed by occupational psychologists and are accompanied by detailed manuals providing information about the reliability of the test and normative information which allows you to benchmark the results of your candidates/employees against other, similar test takers. Most Psychometric tests are available on-line as well as in pen and paper format. They are supported by a body of evidence and statistical data and are used worldwide to provide valuable information to organisations. According to a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of People and Development (CIPD 2008). 41% of UK companies use general ability tests, 48% use specific skills tests and 35% use personality questionnaires
What Are Psychometric Tests Used For?
Recruitment – Psychometric tests are frequently used by organisations to identify the best job applicant for a particular post. Many Organisations use assessment centres as part of their recruitment process. Assessment centres usually combine psychometric testing with a number of practical exercises that simulate the work environment. There is a wealth of documented research demonstrating the efficacy of Psychometric tests in improving the accuracy of staff selection.
Development – Psychometric tests are also used to assess the potential of existing employees to determine how best to further develop them or grow them into Leaders.
Organizational Development And Teamwork – Psychometric tests are used to develop organisations they can help you identify and change the culture and climate of your organisation. They can also provide a valuable insight into staff attitudes and team working.
Career Coaching -Psychometric tests are also used to assist individuals in exploring their strengths and weaknesses with regard to various careers. They can help people of all ages to identify the career that best suits their particular skills and interests.
General Coaching – Psychometric tests are often used in coaching to help individuals learn more about themselves and to facilitate exploration of the coachee’s needs and aspirations.
Psychometric tests are also used to help assess the overall well-being of staff and to identify and remove any unnecessary organisational pressures.
Why Do Companies Use Psychometric Tests?
Psychometric tests are widely used because they provide a source of objective data that can be relied upon when making organisational decisions e.g. choosing between candidates who look equally good on their CV’s.
Why Should I Use Psychometric Tests?
According to the Chartered Institute of People and Development (CIPD, 2008) “…..used appropriately, testing can enhance decision-making, thus enabling managers to develop more informed and accurate perceptions about the ability and potential of individuals.” If you employ people then you need to make sure that you have the best person for the job. You also need to ensure that you are developing the individual to maximise both their potential and the value that they can contribute to your organisation.
There are many more ways in which Psychometric tests could help you to further develop your business. They can help you to:
- Find out more about the motivation and attitudes of your staff
- Understand the culture of your organisation and whether it is the best one to support and drive forward your business objectives
- Understand more about how your management team(s) operate and how to further enhance their performance
- Understand the stressors in your organisation and how best to address them
Can I Buy And Use Psychometric Tests Myself?
You have to be trained to the British Psychological Society, Level ‘A’ standard in order to use ability tests and Level ‘B’ standard in order to administer and interpret Personality tests. If you do not intend to use Psychometric tests very often, then you would probably be better contracting with someone who is already trained to use Psychometric tests e.g. Business Psychologists, Human Resource specialists etc.
How Do I Know Which Psychometric Test To Choose?
Before selecting which test to use, just ask a few questions of your supplier and make sure that you are satisfied with the responses e.g.
- How reliable and consistent is the test?
- Is it valid and does it really identify the attributes or skills which the supplier claims?
- What evidence can suppliers provide that the test is fair and does not disadvantage any particular group e.g. women?
- Will the test seem reasonable and appropriate to those taking it?
- Has the test been used effectively in similar circumstances?
- Are the norms provided by the supplier for comparative purposes up to date and appropriate for the user’s requirements?