Preventing stress in the workplace [Part 2]
As we covered in the last blog post on understanding stress in the workplace, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to stress. But the positive news for employers is that there are just as many ways for HCM professionals to fix and prevent it.
The Society for Human Resource Management indicated that when companies have made it a point to adjust policies in a way that affects stress levels, they have often seen myriad benefits. In addition to higher retention and job satisfaction rates, they also experienced significantly lower chronic work stress levels. How did they do it?
Employee recognition and engagement
Making workers feel valued and appreciated can go a long way. Some businesses offer on-the-spot bonuses for top performers, whereas others use 401(k) matching or profit-sharing programs. There are many ways to demonstrate to employees that their hard work has not gone unnoticed. It’s not so much important how it gets done – just that it does.
Also crucial to minimizing workplace stress is facilitating an environment of engagement and involvement. A number of studies have shown that the more engaged employees are, the happier and more productive they are. Furthermore, Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report revealed that the number of people who believe using engagement and performance-related assessments can help improve organizational performance and success jumped from 8 percent in 2014 to 75 percent.
Training and development programs
One way to help prevent employees from experiencing workplace stress or burnout is to make their learning and growth a priority. Having access to opportunities that enable them to gain new experiences and build their skill sets can not only help workers feel more engaged, but also make them happier and more productive at work. Human capital management professionals are highly encouraged to offer seminars or courses in emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and stress/time management – all topics that can help empower and motivate individuals to create a healthier workplace mindset.
To prevent workplace stress, it is imperative that business leaders encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Considering that one of the top contributing factors of stress at work is juggling personal and professional responsibilities, employers would benefit from offering flex time, telecommuting options and paid time off. All of these can help workers feel like they are able to exercise more control over their schedule and, therefore, manage their stress better.
In today’s digitalized environment, taking the time to truly appreciate being out of the office and away from work is becoming more difficult. The same technology and mobile devices that make it possible to telecommute and work remotely are also making it harder for employees to completely turn off “work mode.” One interesting tactic PwC uses to address this issue is sending a notification to workers checking email during non-business hours indicating they should be doing something else, according to SHRM.
Consider an EAP
Another great option to consider are Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs. These programs are ideal for today’s workforce because they provide employees with support and training for alleviating issues in areas that often cause stress, including health, legal and financial.
The strategies corporations can use to prevent employee burnout and stress – and the investments they need to make to acquire them – offer benefits that far outweigh the potential costs of ignoring the issue. By applying some of the solutions proposed above, employers will facilitate a happier, healthier and productive workplace and, in turn, a more profitable organization.