Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Promoting Wellbeing - Addressing the Issues

"An individual's happiness at work will create happiness throughout all areas of their life...likewise a company with a happy, motivated workforce will see exceptional results in its products and services." - Matt Miller, Chief Technology Officer, CareerBliss

How can we promote wellbeing in the ATC environment? Over the next few weeks,we will consider what the managers of ATC units can do and what ATCOs and other supportive staff can do. We will also consider some of the challenges to implementing wellbeing in the workplace.

Today,we will focus on the role of managers. At the end of the last post, there is a cartoon illustrating the inclusion of employees in the decision-making process. The title of the painting above is <Calm Down> by Chris Butler. Art is one example that is used by various organizations to promote wellbeing. We will examine this further in a subsequent post. Notwithstanding, these and other examples can be part of a simplified universal plan that acts as a guide which could be easily adapted to each ATC unit.

Managers can follow the ABC plan of promoting wellbeing by:
-  Addressing the issues that pertain to stress, health and work-life balance
-  Being exemplary and
- Creating a happy work culture
The rest of the staff can also make a contribution by exercising their WSP - Wellbeing Sensory Perception. Today we look at the A feature of the ABC to promoting wellbeing.
Having a proper training program is one example of addressing the issues. What happens when trainees enter the workforce? They receive training on various aspects of ATC procedures that help them to grow in the profession. But that does not constitute a well-defined training program neither does the production of an increased amount of Aerodrome  Controllers nor the addition of more trainers to the training program. 
How about including onboarding tactics for new controllers and support staff? In a study by Gruman and Saks, 2010 on 140 University students entering the workforce, they found that where onboarding tactics existed, students felt happier, more confident and thought that their skills fit the job. What is onboarding tactics you may wonder? A structured process that helps new employees adjust and acclimatise to the job. We can refer to the scenario as a program that encourages newcomer engagement. 
The absence of onboarding tactics and programs for newcomer engagement can be likened to a plant that is given too much water. Practical training in ATC procedures is essential but like a plant that dies from too much watering, the absence of onboarding tactics and newcomer engagement could deprive new ATCOs of the feeling that they fit or belong. How do managers of ATC units measure up in this regard? 

What practical measures have managers taken to help new ATCOs and support staff  adjust to the profession of ATC?
Are there any onboarding tactics for new ATCOs and support staff at your ATC unit? What do these tactics comprise of? As an example, are new employees left to fend for themselves when it comes to getting to and from work? Are efforts being made to integrate them with the rest of the staff? Or is it common for other ATCOs to be aware that new employees are present at the last minute? Do these new employees have a work policy? Is it different from that of other ATCOs and off-the-wall? The researchers concluded from their analysis that helping new employees to feel engaged  improves their wellbeing and empowers them to discover their potential which is a boon for producing better services. In this case, helping new ATCOS to fit in will certainly contribute to the increase of safety performance and low turnover.
I will like to keep the posts short so that more persons will be encouraged to read them. In the next post, we will look at how managers can promote wellbeing by being exemplary. Boa semana o todo!

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