Finding the feel good-factor

Happy employees make productive employees

Henrietta Alderman

When two or three employers are gathered together, their talk often turns to the problem of recruiting good staff. Whether it’s true or not, some young ‘millennial’ employees are regarded as poor time-managers, lacking in attention to detail or unable to take responsibility for decisions.

But seeing it from the millennials’ point of view, a generation that may end up poorer than their parents and grandparents through no fault of their own, the baby boomer generation’s commitment to hard work and respect for hierarchy must seem stuffy, outdated and even ‘failed.’

Gursoy et al (2008) found that Millennials had a much stronger attachment to a work-life balance and much less attachment to work than the preceding generations. But they also said: “Although they have not been in the workplace for long, they are already showing a strong will to get things done with great spirit. They are great collaborators and favour teamwork and they are also very independent, self-confident and self-expressive.”

Happy employees are productive employees. Research by Oswald et al at Warwick University in 2014 found that happy workers were up to 12% more productive. And in healthcare, the links between good teamwork and patient satisfaction have been understood for some time.

As AOP members will know, last year we engaged researchers at Aston University’s optometry school to undertake a survey into the health and wellbeing of optometrists. In the March edition of OT we have released an early picture of the results of this research, which acknowledges the different stresses felt by both employees and employers. It also endeavours to give a clear view of their aspirations.

"Optometry practice can bring its own specific stresses and the AOP has researched the support provided in other professions to develop a bespoke service for the profession"

Health and wellbeing is the strong theme of our membership services-focused activity for 2017. The flagship support element being launched in the first quarter of the year is a confidential peer-to-peer support line for all non-legal issues and to advise members on where help can be found.

Optometry practice can bring its own specific stresses and the AOP has researched the support provided in other professions to develop a bespoke service for the profession. Thurka Sivapalan, a former AOP Councillor, who highlighted the concerns and stresses often felt by practitioners to AOP Council last year, is the very able lead and first chair.

In looking for ways to assist members at certain times in their lives and careers, the AOP also introduced a Parental Leave grade of membership for 2017 to ease the financial burden. There are some essentials that we all need – a roof, clothes, food – but financial worry can be a huge stress factor. AOP is very aware of trying to keep all our fees as low as possible – 2017 is the seventh year that we have offered a membership fee freeze.

But we also continue to build the package and the legal, clinical and regulatory support so knowing that your back is covered takes stress away.