Deeper Impact of Labor Unions

Labor unions primarily work by bargaining to negotiate with business owners about pay and working conditions. Today, labor unions can negotiate working hours, wages, vacation time, and even job responsibilities.

Pros and Cons for Employees:
Labor unions can have both advantages and disadvantages for employees. The advantages can include job security, improved compensation and benefits, a sense of workplace democracy, and training and development opportunities. The disadvantages can include paying union dues, reducing flexibility due to standardized rules and procedures, and the resistance to change to new technologies by the union.

Pros and Cons for Employers:
Like employees, employers can experience advantages and disadvantages associated with labow unions but the impact on employers can vary depending on factors such as industry and company size. The advantages can include stable labor relations, increased job satisfaction and workforce productivity, and higher levels of employee loyalty and commitment. The disadvantages can include increased costs for labor, the possibility of strikes or work stoppages causing financial loss, and loss of management control.

Pros and Cons for Society:
Labor unions can have significant effects on society as a whole and can influence economic and social dynamics. The advantages can include safer workplaces and better standards for all workers, reducing income inequalities and ensuring that workers receive a fair share of economic success, and economic stimulus by higher wages contributing to increase consumer spending. The disadvantages on society include potentially inefficiencies in the market due to unions limiting companies’ quick adaptability to market changes, job loss in competative industries, and increased costs for good and services due to higher wages and benefits.

Personal Story and Opinion:
One of my friends is currently a union member and has had both good experiences and bad experiences. Overall, she said her experiences have been good and her union has make some changes including wage increases, however, she said being in a union is a lot of work and is tiring at times. She attends union meets and conferences multiple times a month and she mentioned that there is tension in her office from time to time between the union workers and non-union workers.

After reviewing the lecture materials, doing research, and speaking with my friend, I would not consider joining a union. The two main reasons I wouldn’t join a union are the union costs and that I prefer to negotiate my own terms with my employers. However, I do support some aspects of unionization including fair wages and improved working conditions, so I am not completely against it, but I am more impartial about unions than in support of them.


How Does Stress Impact the Workplace?

Stress can negatively impact a person’s lift in many aspects. Workplace stress can affect an individual’s home life, but the opposite can also be true. Irritability, distraction, and fatigue can all be caused by personal stressors which can negatively impact both employees and their organizations. After taking the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory Test, the Coping & Stress Managemtn Skills Test, and the Type A Personality Test, I learned some things about myself that I didn’t already know.

Based on my results and what I know about myself already, I have a lot of stress in my life, and I don’t cope with it very well. Additionally, during interactions with others, I generally am warm and tolerant of their behaviors and choices, but also at times I am impatient and hostile and when I am stressed or frustrated, I tend to lash out at others or end up stewing in the anger/frustration. During my last year working in healthcare, I recognized multiple times that my personal and workplace stressors were affecting the way I treated others, especially my co-workers, so I took steps, including delegating taks and asking for help from others, to help manage my stress and progress through my professional career.

Workplace stress and poor mental health can negatively affect workers, which should be a concern to organizations. Job performance, productivity, and engagement can all be affected by stress and/or poor mental health, but a bigger concern for organizations is that stress can increase an individual’s risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases. Reports have shown more than 80% of U.S. workers have reported experiencing workplace stress and more than 50% believe their work stress impacts their life at home.

There are many ways organizations can help their employees deal with stress and many of today’s young businesses are finding newer and more innovative ways to do this. Organizations are doing more to help employees understand the nature of stress and provide them access to resources, such as therapists, mental health resources, and support groups, that can help them cope with stress. Having an open-door policy to allow employees to vent and have quick conversations around problems or issues can help help decrease stress and provide immediate solutions for their issues. Organizations are also offering at least one kind of wellness benefit to help employees feel healthy, engaged, and supported in their workplace.


Motivation From Compensation

Research has shown that compensation does have an effect on employee motivation and behavior. Proper compensation gives employees the job satisfaction they want and need, and it also incentivizes employees to do better and get better results. But not having proper compensation can have the opposite effect and cause employees to decrease effort, which is what I did in a previous position.

I was previously a medical assistant for a hospital and was assigned to work at a COVID testing site. I worked at this testing site for 6 months and was the senior emplpoyee at this site, meaning I was considered the lead/supervisor. On paper, working at a testing site was an easy job since you only swabbed patients, but in reality, it was very taxing. We swabbed rougly 250-350 patients per day, which was about one patient every 1-2 minutes. With the high patient load, we were moving nonstop and hardly received breaks. We worked in every weather condition, delt with difficult, angry, and sometimes dangerous patients, and the ever-changing policies/guidelines by the hospital and CDC.

In order to get their medical assistant back into their home departments, the hospital decided to hire temporary medical assistants through recruiting agencies to work in the COVID testing sites. Since I was the senior employee, I trained the new temps and was supposed to work alongsite them until I was released back to my home department. The problem with this though was that the temps made twice or more money as I did, performing the exact same duties as me.

Throughout the 6 months before the temps, myself and the other medical assistants working at the site requested additional hazard pay or compensation from the hospital for the work we were doing, but we never received any. So, when the temps came in making twice as much money as me, my motivation quickly declined. I provided them with the training that they needed to perform their duties and then I saw around and supervised them for the rest of my time at the testing site.

This unfortauntely is an example of how motivation can be lowered with improper compensation. I would have continued putting in effort if I was making the same wage as the temp employees, but I didn’t feel very valued by the organization after requesting a higher pay for months, which led to a decrease in my effort and motivation.

What Makes a Class or Training Effective?

The effectiveness of training or a class can vary based on every person because individuals can have different learning styles. For myself, I am a very hands-on learner and would prefer to watch someone a few times and then have them watch me for the remainder of the training, if that is an option.

I went to school back in 2014 to become a medical assistant and attended a trade school for this program. It was one of the best schooling experiences I have had throughout my education because it was so different than sitting in a classroom and reading chapters from a book. The first half of the program was “bookwork”, and the second half was our clinical period, however even during the bookwork half, we weren’t in a traditional classroom for every class. We did have times where we read chapters from books, but we also had educational games, interactive videos, guest speakers, and hand-on roleplay scenarios. We were larning by doing the actions of what we would be in the healthcare field.

Other trainings/classes that I have taken that were very beneficial have been the American Heart Association BLS training course and a few classes through OSU. What made these trainings/classes effective were the virtual simulations that accomplanied the coursework. I recently took a marketing class with OSU, and we had a backpack simulation every week where we learned different aspects of marketing. We had to design out backpacks based on what group of individuals we were targeting, had virtual employees walking us through the simulation and providing us feedback on our choices. and received instant results from our choices with the option to retry 2 additional times. By having the simualtion, I was able to have hands-on learning and received feedback based on my choices with explainations why my choices were positive of negative.

UPS recognized the need for hands-on training for the future of their company and opened a $34 million-dollar full-service pilot training center. They learned in focus groups that Gen Y employees wanted something simple, to be given hands-on training. They liked the interaction with the computer, but they didn’t like learning from it and by receiving hands-on training, they were able to better understand what was expected from them and the demands of driving for UPS.

What Makes an Interview Effective

Interviews are an important part of the hiring process, and it allows employers to get to know their candidates on a more personal level. I have been on both sides of the table during the interview process and have learned what can make an interview effective and ineffective.

Being in a supervisor position, I performed interviews for two different departments in a health clinic. The organization itself had a structured set of questions but these questions were geared toward primary care offices, and we were interviewing for specialty clinics. My manager and I agreed to create our own structured set of questions to ask that pertained more toward our clinic.

From my experience on both sides of the table, I believe that having a combination of an unstructured and a structured interview is the most effective. Having an unstructured interview at the beginning “breaks the ice” and allows the interviewee to see our personalities as well as us seeing theirs. After the interviewee is more relaxed, they have an easier time answering the structured interview questions that we had for them.

I was involved in one fully unstructured interview, where a provider and manager went “off book” and at the end of the interview, I felt that I, as the supervisor, did’t gain any useful knowledge on the interviewee because the provider asked a lot of close ended questions. Unstructured interviews have limitations and can produce a large amount of data that can make analyzing the information difficult when making recommendations to move forward.

Structured interviews are designed to measure job-related competencies of a candidate by inquiring about their behaviors in past experiences. On the interviewee side, I believe structured interviews are easier to prepare for because most companies have similar questions. As a candidate, it allows me to think of situations ahead of time and practice how I would answer some of the questions that I believe will be asked. On the supervisor side, structured interviews provide more useful information about a candidate’s competencies and how they handled specific situations in the past.

Challenges with Job Descriptions

We learned in lecture that a Job Description is a written document that states the essential responsibilities and expectations of a job. The information included in the documents are job identification such as title, department, and position, a job summary explaining why the job exists, a task statement, competencies required to perform the job, physical demands needed, and the working conditions such as if is it outside in the weather elements of inside in an office. But what are the challenges in creating and maintaining job descriptions?

Once a job description is created, there isn’t anything further that needs to be done, right? Unfortunately, that is the truth for many companies and job descriptions aren’t viewed as a living document, but job descriptions shouldn’t be static documents. Regularly reviewing and updating them to reflect changes in the job’s description, expectations, and requirements should be part of the Human Resources practice. Not having a job description of having bad job descriptions can cause a company to perform at a lower level than they could be and on the legal side, if a company doesn’t keep their job descriptions up to date, an employee could file a claim against that company.

Annually or semi-annually reviewing job descriptions can help ensure accuracy. Additionally, engaging employees in the process of developing and updating job descriptions can be beneficial since the employee can provide valuable insights into the day-to-day realities of their job and ensure descriptions are accurate. Using a consistent format for all job descriptions, ensuring job descriptions align with the overall objectives and values of the organization, and in addition to technical skills, describing the soft skills and competencies required for the job, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving abilities will all help create strong and clear job descriptions.

Overcoming the challenges associated with job descriptions requires a proactive and ongoing effort by the organization but organizations can create and maintain more accurate, useful, and relevent job descriptions that will benefit both employees and the organization as a whole.

Great Places to Work

Workday, Stryker, Southern Ohio Medical Center, and EY are all organizations listed in the 2020 Fortune Best Companies to Work For.

Listed at #5, Workday delivers financial management, human capital management, and analytics applications designed for the world’s largest companies, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Listed at #8, Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies and offers innovative products and services in Medical and Surgical, Neurotechnology, Orthopedics and Spine that help improve patient and healthcare outcomes.

Listed at #22, Southern Ohio Medical Center is a state-of-the-art, 233-bed, rural community hospital located in Portsmouth, Ohio providing a full continuum of health care services to their local communities.

Listed at #25, EY works across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax, and transactions to build a better working world, helping create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets.

Regardless of where the organizations are on the list, they all have one thing in common: their employees say it’s a great place to work. 93% of employees at Workday say it’s a great place to work and that exercutives are very transparent, always around, and easy to talk to. Stryker employees state that leaders have a genuine interest in employees’ engagement and enjoyment of work. SOMC employees state that complaints and incidents are considered gifts to learn from and everyone is important no matter their position. Lastly, EY employees state the culture promotes excellence, creativity, innovation, and teaming.

Based on the employee comments and the Fortune survey results for each of these companies, their HR practices encourage engagement and commitment, show strong leadership and employee relations, and they prioritize continuous improvement which all lead to high levels of employee satisfaction. As a future manager, I am going to strive to be a leader that contributes to happy employees and positive work environment, but I do think a challenging part of that is keeping the line between being friends and being a manager of an organization. Another challenge is trying to do what is best for the employees while also following the instructions and policies set by upper management.