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PTP News

Archive: May 2018

How to spot stressed employees and the benefit of stress training

Posted: May 29, 2018 7:54 am
Stress is inevitable in a busy workplace. However, the negative impact of stress can be mitigated by management committed to spotting those employees who are struggling and by the implementation of stress training. According to the Health and Safety Executive, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17. So, this is an issue that could have very tangible disadvantages if not handled well.

What does a stressed employee look like?

Although all of us have experienced stress at work at some point, we still tend to find it difficult to spot the indications of stress in other people. These are just some of the telltale signs of an employee who is seriously stressed.
  • Problems when it comes to decision making
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches and neck and back pain
  • Often frustrated at work
  • Less productive and efficient
  • A more defensive demeanour and issues with communication
  • Someone who is often tired and seems constantly physically run down
  • Obvious anxiety, worry or nervousness, as well as signs of depression

How does stress training benefit businesses?

Strengthening the bond between business and employee

Providing stress training is a sign to employees that the business understands the stresses of working life and the potential impact on health and happiness - and is proactively doing something about it.

Reducing sick days and absences

If your business is one of those affected by the 12.5 million working days lost due to stress related illnesses then implementing stress training could have a very positive impact on the bottom line. Stress training gives employees the tools to manage the pressure they are under without having to take days off to do it. Better stress management also leads to healthier staff who are much less likely to be absent as a result of illnesses where stress could have had a role to play.

Retaining your talent

Most employees will reach a point where they can no longer tolerate a high stress environment and will decide to move on. If you’re providing tools to everyone in the workplace to mitigate the factors that cause stress then the overall impact is that stress levels drop. The end result will be a business in which employees are happy to envision a long-term future for themselves because the day-to-day experience is one of growth and contentment not stress and anxiety.

Creating a positive company culture

It doesn’t matter what your brand values are or how you’ve defined your strategic vision, if your employees are experiencing stress on a daily basis then this will damage your company culture. Stress training gives everyone in the business the opportunity to better understand what causes stress and how to manage it to preserve crucial relationships and a positive atmosphere at work. PTP Stress Management training is a practical course that is designed to provide individuals throughout the business with key tools to reduce stress by managing pressure better. Get in touch today to find out more.

How to effectively manage staff sickness and absences

Posted: May 10, 2018 2:16 pm
Staff sickness and absences are a reality for any business. The unpredictable nature of sickness and absences can make it difficult to avoid disruption to operations so it’s crucial to ensure that they are carefully managed.

The importance of monitoring

For any business, keeping track of the number of days that staff take off sick or out of the office is going to be important. And for smaller businesses it’s crucial to understanding what’s happening in the workforce. Whether you monitor manually or with software, make sure you’re keeping track of when staff are sick or absent. Are there any patterns that emerge – such as an increase during the school holidays? This could be an indication that all is not as it seems.

Maintaining contact

If you notice that some staff are taking a lot of sick days or are often absent then it’s important to make contact to find out why. There could be a genuine and serious sickness behind their lack of presence at work or this could be more to do with being unhappy in a role. It’s also important to maintain contact with anyone on sick leave so that you’re appraised of their progress and you know when they are likely to return to work.

The issue of pay

Employees have a right to Statutory Sick Pay for absences of three days or more but there is no legal entitlement for shorter periods. Statutory Sick Pay entitlement is for a maximum of 28 days and employers can pay more than the statutory rate but not less. Whether you choose to pay your employees for sick days over and above what the law requires will depend on company policy – this should be clearly written into contracts so that there is no confusion.

Handling staff taking short term sick leave

Short-term sick leave can be particularly problematic for employers, especially if the leave is taken frequently but never for more than a day or so at a time. This can be incredibly disruptive for others in the workplace. The first step is to establish whether there is an underlying condition that is necessitating the absences. If there is nothing that connects the absences then it’s worth speaking to the employee to see if there is another reason. After that it may be necessary to see whether the employee is in breach of the company absence policy.

Dealing with staff on long term sick leave

Many employers dread having to deal with a situation where an employee is on long-term sick leave. This can leave a team depleted but employers must be careful about the action taken – it’s important to ensure you follow the contract you have with that employee. Get as much information as you can about the reason for sickness and make sure you are provided with medical evidence about the employee’s condition and whether they might be fit to return to work – and when. Decisions about how to handle an employee on long-term sick leave should be made on the basis of medical information provided and the contract in place. Our Managing Sickness and Absences course is designed to support the effective management of a business dealing with sick days and absences. Get in touch with PTP today to book your place.

Improve your closing skills, starting with these 3 tips

Posted: May 3, 2018 3:42 pm
Being a good closer can make a sales career. If you can master the skills and instincts that combine to get great results then you will find yourself on a fast track to success. Not every sale is predictable and there is no method to guarantee perfect results every time. However, there are some simple ways to improve your closing skills, starting with these 3 tips.

Create a sense of urgency

People are always prompted to action if they believe that something is on offer that could be gone imminently. That’s why creating a sense of urgency is such an effective way to improve your closing skills. If you’re faced with someone who is open to buying but, for some reason, just not taking the final steps to making it happen then employing this technique can help to get them over the line. The key is to offer something that they might want – a benefit, a discount or a free promotion – and use this to help convert a prospect into a sale.

Remind the customer of what is on offer

This is often called summarising and provides an opportunity to remind the person you’re speaking to of what a great choice this is for them. This could be something as simple as reiterating the deal that has been agreed with a focus on the value that they’re getting and the benefits to the customer of going ahead. It’s a good idea to try to keep the tone conversational so that what you’re saying doesn’t feel too much like a sales pitch, as this can be off-putting for some customers who prefer a subtler style of close. The key throughout the closing process will be to have identified what the needs of this particular customer are and then to use this summary to reinforce why the products or services that you’re selling provide a solution to those needs.

Ask a question

Sometimes, closing with statements can end badly if the customer simply shuts the conversation down. For other prospects a statement will feel too forceful and also be off-putting. Part of improving closing skills is working out what kind of person you’re talking to and whether they are more likely to appreciate an alternative. The alternative here is to ask a question, such as “Do you think this product will provide a solution to the problem we’ve talked about?” If the answer is yes then you have a commitment in your hands. However, if the answer is no this is an opportunity to find out why – as opposed to simply letting the customer go. Discovering the prospect’s hesitations can be very useful at this stage, as they can potentially be discussed and overcome. A question also leaves the door open to further selling. Our Advanced Closing Skills course is designed to help you refine this essential skill set. Through role-play and questionnaires we analyse your closing technique and highlight areas for improvement. Get in touch with PTP today to find out more.