The supervisor’s role in operating a financially successful organization is an often-overlooked management issue. Think of the supervisor as a sergeant in the military: they train, lead, & manage the troops to get the mission accomplished. They’re practical, driven to get the job done, & usually know more about a business’s production details than the executives. But many times, management makes unrealistic assumptions and takes for granted the fact that supervisors are adequately trained to manage their respective teams.
Supervisors are an employer’s first line of defense against employment claims & lawsuits. A well-trained supervisor can lower an employer’s risk of being involved in litigation & set the stage for the successful defense of any claims that do arise. In addition, a well-trained supervisor is critical for creating & promoting a happy, productive work environment for employees.
Identifying Harmful Behavior
As an advisor, I was recently introduced to a situation that demonstrates what can happen when a supervisor isn’t fulfilling several of the key duties listed above. In this situation, an employer employed a particular supervisor for many years. The “super” seemed to run his group using intimidation & fear, but since the employer had very few HR issues & the super brought the right production results year after year, the employer wasn’t concerned about the super’s approach. “Why change a good thing?” they thought.
Then an employee incurred a workplace injury and couldn’t work for several weeks. The “super” became quite unhappy & openly expressed his feelings to others in the organization. Not surprisingly, the injured employee wasn’t motivated to rejoin the workforce quickly.
To the employer’s surprise, the injured employee hired an attorney to represent him right away in order to avoid contact with the supervisor. This resulted in a delay to settle the claim, an increase in the staff’s administrative time to deal with the claim, overtime paid to other employees to cover the injured employee’s job duties, higher future workers’ comp premiums for the employer, & an employer who became frustrated from dealing with the workers’ comp system.
Building the Necessary Skills
Let’s face it—supervisors have a challenging & critical role in any organization. In addition to reaching the employer’s goals for their area or department, the supervisor also needs an appropriate attitude & special knowledge & skills including:
- Building positive relationships with those they manage
- Communicating well with others
- Being a good listener and problem solver
- Showing empathy & respect to those they manage
- Demonstrating knowledge about employment laws
- Understanding & proactively participating with an injured employee in the workers’ compensation claims process
When a supervisor possesses these attributes, an employer can expect him or her to reach the organization’s goals & have a greater probability of avoiding employment-based legal entanglements.
Finding Tools & Solutions
There are more solutions for employers, including these two shameless plugs. Take advantage of these two important upcoming events available for employers & their supervisors, offering practical guidance and legal updates about relevant supervisory issues.
First, the Annual Sacramento Employer Advisor Council (SEAC) Winter Workshop will be held on December 3, 2014. The local employment professionals will share their knowledge & experience about laws that affect employers. There is always offer an open & entertaining dialogue between the attendees & the presenters. Plus, employers can have their supervisors participate in the required training under AB 1825. To learn more about this SEAC annual event, including how to register, please visit the SEAC EVENTS page on their website.
Secondly, to complement the SEAC event, a webinar will be available for employers to learn additional practical ways supervisors can help employers reduce their worker’s compensation costs, & avoid legal issues from an employee injury. This date of this webinar will be announced soon.
As an employer, do you know what risks your company faces due to a supervisor’s potential lack of training or continuing education? Our complimentary Risk & Threat Assessment can help make sure your company protects its employees & its financial future. For a free analysis, call 1-800-823-4852 x 8758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.