Saf Health Work.  2013 Sep;4(3):166-176.

A Training Intervention for Supervisors to Support a Work-Life Policy Implementation

Affiliations
  • 1Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA. laharnar@ohsu.edu
  • 2School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • 3Kaiser Permanente, Center for Health Research, Portland, OR, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Effective policy implementation is essential for a healthy workplace. The Ryan-Kossek 2008 model for work-life policy adoption suggests that supervisors as gatekeepers between employer and employee need to know how to support and communicate benefit regulations. This article describes a workplace intervention on a national employee benefit, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and evaluates the effectiveness of the intervention on supervisor knowledge, awareness, and experience with FMLA.
METHODS
The intervention consisted of computer-based training (CBT) and a survey measuring awareness and experience with FMLA. The training was administered to 793 county government supervisors in the state of Oregon, USA.
RESULTS
More than 35% of supervisors reported no previous training on FMLA and the training pre-test revealed a lack of knowledge regarding benefit coverage and employer responsibilities. The CBT achieved: (1) a significant learning effect and large effect size of d = 2.0, (2) a positive reaction to the training and its design, and (3) evidence of increased knowledge and awareness regarding FMLA.
CONCLUSION
CBT is an effective strategy to increase supervisors' knowledge and awareness to support policy implementation. The lack of supervisor training and knowledge of an important but complex employee benefit exposes a serious impediment to effective policy implementation and may lead to negative outcomes for the organization and the employee, supporting the Ryan-Kossek model. The results further demonstrate that long-time employees need supplementary training on complex workplace policies such as FMLA.

Keyword

benefit; evaluation; intervention; training; policy
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