Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are HR Managers asleep?

No? Maybe they should be! An article published by the Good Company Newsletter of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program (PHWP) reports that there are hidden workplace costs to employee health, happiness and productivity. People who engage in unhealthy sleeping habits are putting not only their own sustainability at risk, but also that of their organization. This could be one explanation for the lack of productivity of HR Managers in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility. Perhaps, with a little more sleep, they may become more enlightened, more productive and more prepared to consider adopting practices which will enable their workplaces to thrive over the long-term.

Lack of healthy sleep takes its toll in several areas, according to the PHWP. Here are just some of the downsides noted in the article by Dr Larissa Barber.  

  • decreasing level  of involvement at work, hindering job performance
  • poorer decision making
  • lower concentration on complex tasks which require analytical ability etc
  • making errors
  • negatively impacting team performance
  • strained relationships
  • lower retention of learned information
  • lower cognitive performance which negatively affect safety practices
  • poor work-life balance
  • increased stress

If you are an HR Manager (and assuming you are not suffering from sleep deprivation), and you know your employees are hindering your organization's performance because they are not engaging in healthy sleep habits, wouldn't you be tempted to make a plan to understand the effect of poor-sleep stress in your organization and consider how to assist employees which suffer from this problem? Wouldn't you be interested to know if there is something about your organization's work culture which might be contributing to the problem? Or would you take the ostrich approach and leave employees to work out their sleep schedules for themselves?

How many times do you see "lack of sleep" on an organizational risk matrix? Probably not ever. And yet, this could be one significant, silent, unidentified drag on your productivity and profitability. Of course, it's impossible to overtake the personal lives and health habits of each and every one of your employees. People are not robots and cannot be expected to adopt every single health practice in all aspects of their lifestyles whether this relates to sport, nutrition, non-smoking, weight-control, ergonomic seating and more. But different people are prone to different influences. Some things affect some people more than others. By ignoring the effects of sleep deprivation, HR Managers may be missing an opportunity to help employees, contribute to the wider quality of life in our society and also, improve business results.

Raising awareness of sleep deprivation and unhealthy sleeping habits and offering simple tools to help employees understand their own circumstances and take action where necessary could be a simple way to identify potential for productivity improvement and reduced conflict in the organization. 

Is this CSR? Of course it is.
Not by coincidence, then, that I have been saying that HR Managers should WAKE UP to CSR.
Now, this can be understood both literally as well as metaphorically.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainability Reporter, HR Professional, Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices.  Contact me via on Twitter or via my website
Related Posts with Thumbnails