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Case Studies

Case study: giving employees control at Delta Hotels[4]

Situation: Keeping employees engaged through giving them more control.

Action: The Power to Please program was initiated to give employees more responsibility and accountability. By giving employees the authority to make decisions, it was thought that this would get rid of the stress of asking for permission. For example, staff can give a guest more towels or more coffee when asked. Housekeepers have input into cleaning products, processes for cleaning and amenity packages. If a customer complains, staff members have the authority to have room service send up a cheese tray with an apology.

Result: Employees have gained more control over their work. They stay more engaged because they know their work directly impacts the business.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/delta.html.

Case study: rewards and recognition at Lee Valley[5]

Situation: Lee Valley Tools wanted to recognize and reward its employees.

Action: Lee Valley implemented a series of small programs and policies to recognize and reward its employees. One example is Lee Valley’s profit sharing program for its employees. Rather than pro-rate the profits based on performance or salary, the company takes 25 percent of pre-tax profit and distributes it equally among all the employees, from senior management to warehouse staff.

Result: Employees feel that they are valued and appreciated by management.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/lee_valley.html.

Case Study: work-life balance at Northwood Technologies[4]

Situation: Northwood Technologies software company is trying to create a culture where quality work can be accomplished in the context of a quality life.

Action: The company introduced flexible workplace schedules, telecommuting opportunities and the chance to volunteer in the community during the work day. It organized a variety of healthy groups, including a walking club, running club and a badminton club. This was all done in an office of 85 people.

Result: Employees are less stressed and more content with their workplace because of reduced work-life conflict.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/lp/spila/wlb/ell/11northwood_technologies.shtml.

Case study:

Case Study: Two comprehensive workplace health promotion tactics at Vancity:

A program focus on occupational health and safety
Situation: As a credit union, Vancity employees are at a higher risk of robberies than most industries. Consequently, employees can experience increased stress and possible psychological injury and trauma.

Action: Vancity has their third party EAP counsellors call the employee and the employee’s family to touch base with everyone, talk about the event and help assess whether the employee or their families needs additional services. In addition, Vancity sends in complementary massage therapists or reflexologies to work with the employees.

Result: Employees are more likely to access needed services and move past some of the trauma.

A program focus on organizational change:
Situation: Addressing the balance between work and life demands.

Action: Employees are encouraged to find a work-life dynamic rather than balance because work and home demands fluctuate over time. Vancity offers “care days” rather than sick days, allowing human resources to see whether employees are away caring for themselves, a child or an elderly person. Knowing why an employee is away can help Vancity to decide if employees may need addition supports to help them succeed at work.

Results: The support Vancity provides for their employees makes them more successful at work.

A program focus on voluntary health practices:
Situation: Wanting to make sure that employees have access to health screening tools and information.

Action: Ran a Gift of Health campaign where employees had access to tests and consultations conducted by health care professionals during work hours. The employees left the session with a confidential report on their health status which explained whether there were any health concerns.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/vancity.html.

Case Study: comprehensive workplace health promotion program at QLT[5]
Situation: QLT Inc. valued the health of their 300 employees and wanted a program to support them.

Action: Implemented a program that addressed multiple components of workplace health. Programs and activities addressed:

  • Occupational health and safety: ergonomically sound workstations; and mandatory ergonomics training.
  • Lifestyle practices: on-site gym and fitness centre, with personal trainer; wide array of sports teams and events; encouragement to bike to work; and healthy cafeteria choices.
  • Organizational culture: ‘Family Room’(a last resort child care service); proactive work-life balance practices; flex-time; sabbaticals and unpaid leave arrangements.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.clbc.ca/files/Reports/summary_of_key_conclusions-final-e.pdf.

Case Study: Supportive leadership at Kraft Canada[7]
Situation: A national survey of employees showed work-life balance to be an issue.

Action: After further assessment, an improvement plan called the ‘Work-Life Harmony’ initiative was developed and management support was highlighted as a critical success factor. The C.E.O. of Kraft Canada discussed at an all-staff meeting his own work-life challenges as a father of four and actively encouraged employees to participate in the work-life harmony initiative and to embrace new company values around flexibility, self-awareness and respect.

Result: As a result the employees of Kraft Canada were able to see that their leaders were on board with their workplace health promotion initiatives.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/lp/spila/wlb/ell/10kraft_canada.shtml.

Case Study: Employee-focused flexibility at MDS Nordion [8]
Situation: For several years, employee flexibility has been a key business strategy at Nordion. Employees and managers wanted individual solutions to help manage work-life balance.

Action: MDS Nordion interviewed employees to learn the flexible arrangements that would be helpful, as well as what was needed to make these arrangements successful for both the individual and the business. Arrangements included telework; replacing desktop computers with laptops to allow working from home; job sharing; and part-time work. One option developed specifically for individuals who worked shift work was to post shift schedules in advance and allow employees to trade shifts.

To stay in tune with the staff needs, Nordion takes a quarterly employee opinions survey*. Employees have a chance to talk about stress, work-life balance and to share their general thoughts.

Results: Receiving input from employees allows Nordion to see trends and incorporate that information into planning. Employees understand how the work they do fits into the organization, they have opportunities to provide input and receive feedback, they are held accountable for their work, and ultimately they feel valued and supported.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/mds.html.

Case Study: Meeting employee and organizational needs at Kraft Canada[9]
Situation: Employees who are parents were facing stress and anxiety about returning to work after the birth of a child.

Action: A number of flexible options were introduced to meet the needs of employees who were struggling with the traditional full-time schedule. A supportive and flexible culture was encouraged through the implementation of five flexible policies which included allowing part-time workers to receive benefits; participate in job-sharing; work flexible hours; and take leaves of absence.

Action: Employees appreciate the efforts being made to help them deal with life and workload issues. They returned to work with less stress and anxiety and Kraft is confident that it has already positively affected morale and retention.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/lp/spila/wlb/ell/10kraft_canada.shtml.

Case Study: CIBC’s employer-paid back up child care[10]
Situation: Employees were struggling to find a balance between work and caring for children. The business needed to find creative ways to provide services to their employees in various settings. Action: CIBC hired a company called Children First to build a back up child care centre for its 12,000 employees in Toronto. Outside of Toronto, CIBC contracted Kids & Company to reserve a percentage of their spaces for emergency backup care for CIBC employees.

Results: The program got a positive review from all employees because there is less work-life conflict and employees are less stressed because they can trust that their colleagues will be able to come to work and not forced to stay home because there’s no childcare available. CIBC estimates that in its first three years operating, it saved the organization $1.5-million in productivity costs.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/cibc.html.

Case Study: Integrating health into Husky Injection Molding Systems’ business strategy[11]
Situation: Husky wanted to make sure that employee health, safety and wellness were integrated throughout the business.

Action: The company integrated the Human Resources and Environment and Health and Safety functions into the overall business strategy. Also, it had the leads from those departments sit equally beside Operations, and Sales and Marketing at the Management Team table. The Human Resources department proactively monitors the pulse of the employees, which helps inform discussions and business strategy development.

Result: The statements, attitudes and actions of management show it is committed to providing a mentally safe and healthy work environment.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/lp/spila/wlb/ell/08husky_injection_molding_systems.shtml.

Case Study: Irving Paper setting up employees for success from all sides[12]
Situation: Work-life conflict is a common source of stress for many employees and families. Not being committed to healthy lifestyles can be a barrier to behaviour change for many employees.

Action: Employees’ families were invited to participate in a wellness program. The programs were designed in a way that builds social support, which is important to an employee’s mental health. Multiple aspects of health that affect employees’ lives were addressed.

Result: Whole families participate in health challenges, such as quitting smoking, take daily walks together and eating healthier foods.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/lp/spila/wlb/ell/09irving_paper.shtml.

Case Study: Petro Canada Burrard Products Terminal (BPT)[13]
Situation: Shift workers at BPT wanted increased flexibility.

Action: Employees are able to take advantage of flexible work arrangements. Employees are allowed to use ‘flex days’ and can take up to 15 days of personal leave each year. Also, informal working arrangements are permitted. For example, employees could arrange to switch shifts to suit personal and family needs.

Result: Employees of Petro Canada and Burrard Products Terminal describe their flexible work hours as a great way to reduce work-life conflict and improve employee well-being. Burrard Products Terminal has worked to design a wellness program to meet the unique needs of both their employees and their organization.

Case Study: Annual evaluation at M&M Meat Shops[14]
Situation: To make sure M&M Meat Shops is a great place to work, management strives for continuous improvement and evolution.

Action: Every year, 50 percent of M&M employees are randomly assessed against employment equity and pay equity legislation. As well, M&M benchmarks itself against the industry standard in terms of fairness and equity both in compensation packages and in programs. These types of evaluation ensure that M&M meets or exceeds current labour practices.

Result: The positive results gathered by the annual evaluation proved to employees and management the importance of having a fair, equitable and mentally healthy place to work. The company has an average tenure of almost 13 years, turnover of around one employee every two years, and no absenteeism problems.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/m_m.html.

Case Study: More than 50 years of workplace health commitment at BC Telephone Company (BC TEL)
Situation: BC Telephone Company (BC TEL) has run corporate health initiatives to support their employees since 1946.

Action: Since the program was initiated, it has evolved from a program focused on alcohol-related issues into a program that does broad corporate social work, providing assessment and referrals for employees who need help coping with problems. To support their employees’ health, they created a centralized Corporate Health Services Department and included employee health in their mission statement, “To enhance organizational competitiveness and optimize individual health.”

Over the years, various studies were conducted, including “Work and Family,” “Supportive Manager” and “Pulsecheck.” Corporate Health Services works to ensure that employees receive professional and confidential health care to support the employee in the management of health. They promote wellness and lifestyle initiatives, ergonomic intervention, fitness facilitation, and employee assistance counselling.

Result: BC TEL has shown a long-term commitment to investing in the health of its employees. Their program constantly evolves to meet the needs of employees.

To read the whole case study visit Healthy Settings Canadian Case Studies at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/occup-travail/healthy-settings_cadres-sains/studies-etude-eng.php.

Case Study: Walker vs. Northumberland County Council case[22]
Situation: As a social worker, Mr. Walker had worked in the field for fifteen years with no prior history of mental illness. With a sudden increase in workload, he frequently communicated his concerns and requested more staff, but due to financial reasons, these needs were not met. Walker experienced a nervous breakdown and took a sick leave. Prior to his return to work, accommodations for Walker were agreed upon; however, these accommodations were not followed through. He experienced a second breakdown five months later. Following his second illness, he was unable to return to work.

Result: Walker successfully sued his employer for negligence on the grounds that the accommodations required by Walker in his return to work were not met, putting him in a situation of ‘foreseeable’ psychological harm, which ultimately resulted in his second nervous breakdown.

To read the whole case study, visit Walker versus Northumberland: Smithfield Performance Limited: stress litigation at http://www.smithfieldperformance.co.uk/articles/rcw/rcwSL/rcwSL001.

Example of a work plan:
A healthy workplace committee used an organizational culture audit ‑ a type of situational assessment. They held focus groups. One of the issues flagged was that employees felt their stress levels were almost unmanageable. Many felt they were not being supported by management. Employees said they dreaded coming to work and often spent long hours answering emails on their off hours. They would often call in sick to avoid these feelings. As a response to the assessments, the healthy workplace committee set a goal of creating a more resilient and mentally supportive workplace and decided to tackle three issues: 1) individual stress management skills, 2) management support skills, and 3) workplace policies around workload.

Click on image below to view the full version:

Case Study: growth and development at Lee Valley[7]
Situation: To reduce turnover, Lee Valley wanted to show employees that there was room for growth within the organization.

Action: Before jobs are advertised publicly, Lee Valley posts them internally. This gives employees first crack at these positions and many people have grown and developed their careers through this feature. For employees who want to further their education, Lee Valley has an education policy, paying the tuition as long as it has some relevance to their job or is along the lines of professional development.

Result: Employees see that opportunities for growth and development come in many shapes and forms and many employees have grown and developed their careers at Lee Valley through these measures.

To read the whole case study visit http://www.vifamily.ca/library/social/lee_valley.pdf.