According to OSHA’s 2019 statistics, “healthcare and social assistance workers in private industry experienced workplace-violence-related injuries at an estimated incidence rate of 10.4 per 10,000 full-time workers – for a total of 14,550 nonfatal injuries.” The rates are even higher for psychiatric, substance abuse, and residential mental health care facilities. Despite these staggering statistics, OSHA does not have a specific standard on workplace violence for employers. Currently, the General Duty Clause found in Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH ACT of 1970 is enforced in situations involving workplace violence. Most citations issued by OSHA’s compliance officers due to workplace violence typically involve the health care industry.

This has led OSHA to focus on the early development stages of a new workplace violence standard. In March 2023, OSHA called together a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel. They received representation from organizations in industry sectors such as hospitals, residential behavioral health facilities, residential care facilities, home health care, emergency medical services, social assistance, correctional health settings, ambulatory mental health care, ambulatory substance abuse treatment centers, and freestanding emergency centers. OSHA identified potential topics in the draft standard to be considered by the panel, including:

While the exact rollout date of the new standard is unknown at this time, employers can proactively begin evaluating their organization’s current prevention program. The following measures can be implemented or reviewed for effectiveness:

Written Procedures: Organizations should begin by developing a policy on workplace violence containing zero tolerance. The policy can be a standalone policy, part of the organization’s safety manual, or it can become part of the employee handbook. The policy should begin by expressing management’s commitment, as well as stressing the importance of employee participation. Other items to be included in the written policy include hazard identification, hazard prevention and control, training, and recordkeeping.

Hazard Assessment: Consider all possible hazards that may lead to an instance of workplace violence, including recent terminations that may have been particularly difficult. Conduct a walkthrough inspection of your facility and grounds to determine the security of all entry points. Are doors left propped open during breaks? Are windows latched and locked? What areas need further securement?

Physical Controls: These are referred to as ‘engineering’ or physical controls used to reduce or eliminate workplace violence hazards:

Administrative Controls:

For more information and helpful resources, OSHA provides guidance on workplace violence prevention programs, or please reach out to Lisa Bellis, senior vice president of risk management & loss control at Brown & Brown, at 610-348-7986.

Social Current’s Strategic Industry Partners, like Brown & Brown, offer specialized products or services that benefit our network. To learn more about partnering with Social Current, contact us.

A recent study from Deloitte Research Center revealed workforce well-being has continued to decline since last year, leaving more employees feeling exhausted (52%), stressed (49%), and overwhelmed (43%). In fact, a significant percentage of employees say their job has negatively impacted their physical (33%), mental (40%), and social (21%) well-being.

“Executives have an opportunity to rewrite this story—for their employees, for their managers, and also for themselves. Work shouldn’t be the reason people feel exhausted, stressed, and isolated from friends and family,” notes this article about the study. “Employees should feel that they’re able to take time off and disconnect, and managers should feel capable of providing the support their team members need.”

Despite these alarming trends, the study also identifies solutions for supporting a healthy, thriving workforce:

“Human sustainability” is defined by the study as the “creation of value for current and future workers and, more broadly, human beings and society.” According to Deloitte, 82% of employees report they would be more likely to take a job that is advancing human sustainability.

Though working in human services can be particularly challenging, organizations can tap into people’s desire to be connected to a greater societal purpose by keeping them connected with and engaged in their mission and impact.

How Social Current’s Work Aligns with Findings

Social Current’s workforce resilience approach is based on four core learning concepts that are deeply rooted in equity and brain science for long-term organizational impact. This approach works to enhance and embed human sustainability at the individual, organizational, and collective levels by:

Advancing Brain Science and Regulation

Deloitte’s study revealed a lack of capacity for workers, managers, and executives to accomplish their workloads while remaining accountable for their personal and organizational well-being. Social Current’s approach to workforce resilience uses brain science to offer tangible tools for increasing regulation, allowing for increased connection, accountability, and trust.

Building Psychological Safety

The practice of psychological safety is built into the workforce culture over time and requires leaders to respond to staff challenges by modeling authenticity, accountability, and compassion, creating space for sharing and listening. Deloitte’s study, however, revealed that although most managers (73%) believe they should be modeling healthy behavior, they do not feel empowered to do so (42%). Social Current’s experts provide guidance to empower organizational leaders to embrace and embody these concepts.

Prioritizing Positive Workplace Culture

This year, 60% of employees and 75% of executives were considering quitting their current jobs in search of better well-being outcomes. Resilience at work is highly dependent on a positive culture that reflects the organization’s stated values and beliefs. Social Current’s approach makes culture a priority to prevent and mitigate workforce concerns such as secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

Increasing Connection

Nearly a third of employees reported feeling like their manager did not care about their well-being in Deloitte’s study, and only 35% of managers reported being open about their well-being with their employees. We are hardwired for connection, and an organization is more likely to thrive when employees feel connected. Social Current’s approach models practices, such as frequent check-ins, peer mentors, normalizing discussions around mental health and EDI, and finding shared purpose to build meaningful connection.

If you are ready to take accountability for your organization’s workforce well-being, contact us to learn more about next steps, or register for our upcoming four-part “Building a Resilient Workforce” webinar series.

Social Current is dedicated to the growth and overall success of the social sector, and as workforce challenges continue to hinder human service organizations, we remain committed to offering solutions that will support staff and build resilience.  

In our upcoming learning series, “Building a Resilient Workforce,” Social Current experts will delve into core strategies and tactics for supporting staff, such as increasing accountability, managing conflict, nurturing relationships, embracing equity, and achieving excellence.  

Participants are sure to gain knowledge and tools to set them, and their organizations, up for success. From utilizing brain science in the workplace to fostering psychological safety to creating culture and community, this learning series will provide concrete action steps to support staff who are emotionally and physically exhausted.  

Join us for this four-part webinar series to ensure staff remain connected to the mission and vision of your organization. Register by Aug. 14 to receive the early bird rates, a savings of $15 on an individual webinar or $35 on the entire series. View full event details and register online:

Envision a workforce that feels stable, secure, and capable of thriving in the face of daily challenges. Learn more about our upcoming series and workforce resilience consulting services.

Strategic organizations are transformative organizations. They look beyond current experience to anticipate future trends and opportunities. They ask, “Why?” and evaluate answers within a future-oriented context. They expect to change.

Trendspotting and trend analysis can be powerful for strategic planning by creating credible illustrations of what the future might look like. Based on that, community-based organizations and their cross-sector partners can align community priorities and resources to help all people reach their full potential.

Incorporating a diversity of trends topics is particularly useful for creating a strategy where the end product is a long-term plan to be implemented over multiple years. Such plans aren’t just about identifying broad goals to be realized, but also key strategies for how the organization will meet those goals. 

Designing Useful Trend Inquiry

Core to trendspotting is research, and two types of research—primary and secondary—are best for identifying data that can inform activities like strategic planning, risk assessment, and opportunity mapping.

Primary research is firsthand research using methods like interviews with consumers and program participants, employees, community leaders and advocates, academic subject matter experts, regulators, policymakers, funders, and other stakeholders.

Secondary research uses available data and information found in reports and databases from diverse industries, which can be used as sources for trend determination. Examples can include demographics and other census tract information, local asset mapping, state and federal data (e.g., Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System [AFCARS]), and more.

The essential process of trend investigation is about asking the right questions about the right things. These can roughly be divided into three areas, with examples of questions below:

Getting the Most Out of Scenario Planning

Since no one can tell the future with 100% certainty all the time, developing robust scenarios can help bridge present circumstances with future requirements. The range and value of organizational opportunities based on trend analysis depend on scenarios that should include most of these criteria:

By evaluating relevant trends compiled through primary and secondary research and using the analysis to explore governance and operational scenarios, the ability to optimize programs and services and create achievable pathways to child and family well-being is strengthened.

Harnessing Trends

The Social Current Knowledge and Insights Center, available through our Impact Partnerships, helps professionals in human/social services to learn, improve, and innovate by providing timely, useful, and relevant information and resources. This is done by:

Professional librarians in the Knowledge and Insights Center routinely gather trends data on a variety of organizational topics, such as workforce resilience and service innovation, as well as meta trends that encompass demographics, systemic and environmental factors, technology, and more.

Hot Topics from 2022

Below are some of the key topics that have been monitored in 2022, with an insight summary, brief source examples, and related resources and offerings from Social Current:

Integration of Workforce Resilience as a Key Organizational Sustainability Strategy

Resilience is a buzzword and seen as necessary for workplaces. But can organizations improve employee resilience? Some think yes, others think no. “A resilience-oriented workforce spans many disciplines and training programs will need to reflect that. It requires a collaborative organizational model that promotes information sharing structures.”

Sources:

See Also:

Providers Increasingly Incorporating Social Determinants of Health in Service Delivery  

Social determinants of health (SDOH) and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) profoundly impact lives of individuals. Both SDOH and ACEs are risk factors for childhood mental health disorders, health, and social outcomes. These factors include housing instability, food insecurity, poverty, community violence, and discrimination. There are ways to help address these risk factors, and this includes things like quality education, safe neighborhoods, and positive parent-child relationships.

Sources:  

See Also:

Biggest Public Health Threats to Teens Are Mental Health Disorders

Teenage pregnancy, smoking, binge drinking, drunken driving and smoking are no longer the biggest public health threats to teens. It is now rising rates of mental health disorders. With up to one in five children having a mental, emotional, development, or behavioral disorder, and rising rates of mental health visits in emergency rooms and depression symptoms rising during the pandemic, it is critical to pay attention to the mental health crisis in young people today.

Sources:  

See Also:

Post-Pandemic Mental Health Crises Driving Change to Suicide Prevention Strategies   

With rising rates of depression and anxiety compared to prior to the pandemic, the new U.S. suicide hotline 988 comes at a critical time. Suicide is a leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 years old, and 90% of those who died by suicide had a “diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death.”

Sources:  

See Also:

Successful Mental Health Interventions Are More Dependent on Cultural Responsiveness     

Cultural competencies and cultural responsiveness for mental health providers is now seen as critical, even “a matter of life and death.”

Source:  

See Also:

Integrated Community and Systems Response Counteract School-to-Prison Pipeline  

The school-to-prison pipeline is a “disturbing national trend wherein youth are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal legal systems. Many of these youth are Black or Brown, have disabilities, or histories of poverty, abuse, or neglect, and would benefit from additional supports and resources. Instead, they are isolated, punished, and pushed out.” 

Source:  

See Also:

Other top trends recently updated by the Knowledge and Insights Center:

How to Access Our Specialized Researchers & Tools

As you plan for 2023 and beyond, make sure you’re utilizing all the tools in your toolbox. Join our Dec. 7 webinar for an in-depth overview of the Knowledge and Insights Center. For more information on the resources portal, including the Ask-a-Librarian reference request service, visit the Social Current Hub or contact the Knowledge and Insights Center.

About the Knowledge and Insights Center

The Knowledge and Insights Center offers a robust resources portal through the Social Current Hub, which includes a digital library with over 22,000 records; aggregated research and business databases; diverse topic collections and library guides; original content summarizing complex information; and coaching that helps users maximize these resources. Our team includes professional librarians with wide-ranging skillsets and extensive experience in collection development specific to the nonprofit social services sector.

It’s hard to believe it has been one year since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic and our world, as we knew it, changed.

There have been many heroes of this pandemic–the health care workers who persevere through long hours, personal protective equipment shortages, and unimaginable tragedy; the teachers who transitioned to virtual learning and continue to inspire their students; and the many essential workers who went about their daily jobs delivering packages, serving meals, and fighting fires despite the pandemic raging around them.

There is also another category of unsung essential workers that deserve our recognition and our accolades–our nation’s social workers. March is designated as National Social Work Month and this year’s theme from the National Association of Social Workers is Social Workers Are Essential

Social workers are social heroes. They play a vital role in our communities–ensuring food availability, securing adoptions and forever homes, providing medical and behavioral health services, and helping ensure that all individuals and families have the opportunity to feel happy, healthy, and a sense of belonging.

Social workers connect communities to vital resources and in many cases, sit in roles where they address ongoing systemic and policy needs. They have had to adapt throughout this pandemic to continue to provide these services both virtually and in-person. And, with the spread of the pandemic, the need for social workers has grown even greater.

Across our nation, social workers have met these challenges in unique, creative, and heart-warming ways. At times putting aside their own needs and those of their families, social workers have offered essential care to people in need, whether dropping off food donations to families on fixed incomes, securing laptops and tablets to allow communications between seniors and their families, or advocating for state and federal policy to ensure people were cared for during this most critical time.

The demand for social services has dramatically increased while initially resources available to provide their services plummeted. Thankfully, with passage of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act where social workers were active advocates, many of these challenges will be met. Midsize and larger social sector organizations who had been shut out of earlier relief funding will have access to critical support. The $350 billion in state and local funding will enable social sector organizations to continue critical partnerships with government to respond to the changing needs of communities. The child care sector, which has experienced tremendous disruption, enrollment drops, and extra costs, will see $40 billion in childcare stabilization funding. A new Child Tax Credit Expansion that economists predict will cut childhood poverty in half is included that will provide for the basic needs that enable all families to thrive.

These measures will have a tremendous impact on shoring up support for social workers who have done so much for our communities over the past year. These measures were also advanced by social workers, amidst all else required of them this past year. 

This March, let’s all celebrate the essential work of social workers who support individuals and families and answer their needs, not just in times of crisis, but every day.

Bridging Micro and Macro Social Work

Families and communities are stronger when they have access to the vital building blocks of health and well-being. Social work as a discipline and a methodology has been essential to the development and delivery of those building blocks and is most effective when grounded in the intersectionality of research, practice, and policy at individual, community, and systems levels. This bridging of micro and macro is what actualizes whole-person, whole-community aspirations into genuine and measurable impact. 

Learn more about these approaches in Families in Society, the Alliance and Council on Accreditation (COA) social work research journal. The articles featured below for this month’s observance demonstrate the essentialness of micro and macro social work. Alliance and COA network partners can access all 100+ years of journal content in the online library as part of their network benefits, while others can select access options on the journal website.