NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
927ZJNJ - Work Organization Assessment Tools for Companies
Principal Investigator (PI)
Primary Goal Addressed
Secondary Goals Addressed
Attributed to Manufacturing
The goal of this developmental project is to develop a web-based diagnostic tool for measuring work organization factors that influence employee health, well-being, and performance. In collaboration with a partner company, NIOSH will develop a stress assessment survey and select health and productivity outcome measures. These measures will be incorporated into a webbased turn-key system that will include data collection, statistical analysis and report preparation identifying key work organization stressors affecting worker health and productivity.
This project is contributing to the Work Organization Cross Sector Program and to the Services and Manufacturing Sector Programs.
Information about the stress assessment tool will be presented to trade associations and industry groups such as the NBGH (e.g., at the annual NBGH conference). The stress assessment instrument will be published in a peer-review publication and will be posted on the NIOSH job stress web page. It is anticipated that the study partner, PPG Industries, will use the web-based stress assessment tool upon its completion, and will use the results to develop stress interventions at worksites within the company.
The goal of this developmental project is to develop a web-based diagnostic tool for measuring work organization factors that influence employee health, well-being, and performance.
The project will have three phases: 1) Survey variable selection; 2) development of a web-based work organization assessment tool, containing the survey items and company productivity and health measures; and, 3) development of a methodology and analysis plan for the testing of the work organization assessment tool that will be incorporated into a 2013 NORA competition proposal. The project activities and timeline are as follows:
Phase 1 (Years 1-2): Phase 1 will consist of two tasks: a) Development of a stress assessment survey, and b) selection of health and productivity outcome measures. Task A) Stress assessment instrument: In collaboration with the collaborating company, items will be selected for the stress assessment survey. NIOSH Quality of Work Life (QWL) items will form the core of the survey, with additional items added to measure organizational practices of interest that are not currently captured in the QWL.
The final survey will contain between 40 and 50 questions and will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Focus groups will be conducted with employees and managers from the collaborating company to determine the feasibility of the selected items and any needed additions or modifications. The survey will be modified and again evaluated by focus groups of employees and managers. Based on this second round of evaluations, the survey will be finalized and readied for Phase 2. Task B) Health and productivity outcome measures: NIOSH will request consultation from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) with regard to the selection of health and productivity outcomes. It is likely that the starting point will be a set of standard metrics developed by the Integrated Benefits Institute for NBGH as part of “Employer Measures for Productivity, Absence, and Quality” (EMPAQ). EMPAQ measures include absenteeism, worker compensation, short-term disability, and long-term disability.
NIOSH will meet with managers from the collaborating company and NBGH representatives to select the health and productivity measures.
Phase 2 (Years 3-4): NIOSH will collaborate with the partner company in developing and pilot-testing a web-based stress assessment tool. The assessment tool will be part of a turnkey system that will include data collection, statistical analysis, and report preparation that identifies key organizational factors linked to worker health and productivity. It is anticipated that data for the survey component would be collected using a standard web survey vendor (e.g., Inquisite), which displays survey questions and response formats and saves the data on a dedicated server for downloading into a statistical data analysis package (e.g., SAS, SPSS). Data for the records component would be collected from each user (i.e., company) location via a web-based application that will ask the user to provide data on the standardized employer metrics. Additionally, other information, such as location demographic factors (e.g., number of employees, region of the country, etc.), will also be queried. The exact data to be collected, the interface design, and the report output will be determined in collaboration with the partner company and a NIOSH health communications specialist. A draft version of the web-based interface will be pilot-tested by a small number of human relations (HR) managers (n=9) and employees (n=9) from various service and manufacturing occupations. The interface will be modified based on the feedback from these individuals.
Phase 3 (Year 4): In consultation with the collaborating company and other NIOSH partners, such as NBGH, NIOSH will develop a study methodology and analysis plan for a larger scale test and evaluation of the web-based tool across multiple companies and sectors. The study plan will also include a marketing and dissemination strategy to ensure knowledge and use of the webbased tool, along with the development and dissemination of informational materials containing guidance on what companies can do to address problematic work organization factors.
Nationally representative data obtained from the General Social Survey in 1989 and 1998 showed that about one-third of workers in the United States reported their jobs to be “often” or “always” stressful during this period (General Social Survey 1972-1998 Cumulative Codebooks, 1998). Most recently, the 2006 NIOSH Quality of Work Life survey found that over one-third of workers report high levels of job stress, and over 40% report feeling burned-out by the end of the workday. Stress, in turn, has been linked to costly outcomes such as absenteeism, mental and physical health conditions, and increased health utilization. A 1998 study by the Health Enhancement Research Organization found that health care costs were nearly 50% greater for workers reporting high levels of stress in comparison to workers reporting low levels of stress. These costs rose nearly 150% (for a total of more than $1700 per individual annually) for workers reporting high levels of both stress and depression. While there is broad consensus that work organization is a prominent problem, there has been little transfer of knowledge into standardized assessment tools that would allow organizations to assess stress levels and risk factors so that interventions can be designed.
This developmental project will assist companies by developing a web-based diagnostic tool for measuring work organization factors that influence employee health, well-being, and performance. Companies can use this information to develop strategies or interventions to address problematic work organization factors.