HR Strategies To Prevent Stress In The Workplace

HR Strategies To Prevent Stress In The Workplace

April is National Stress Awareness Month!

 

Consequences of too much stress within an organization may include increased turnover, spikes in health care costs, loss of valuable and productive employees, and loss of office collegiality. Employees caught managing organizational strife may individually struggle with physical or mental consequences.

“When we go to work we take along an invisible backpack containing the worries of our family life (perhaps the child who didn’t sleep, the spouse who is unhappy, or the recently diagnosed mother), and a load of our own anxieties and concerns. The backpack is heavy, made heavier so by the pressures of our jobs. When we experience unhealthy amounts of stress, we physically are not at our best.”

 

Katie Riker Sternberg, ICC, MSW, LMSW, MBA

Momentum Personal and Executive Coaching, LLC

Signs of Stress in the Workplace:

 

  • Excessive workload (i.e., increase in overtime hours, work over the weekend)
  • Mood swings (i.e., irritable, anxious, abnormally sensitive)
  • Decrease in productivity
  • Increase in absenteeism (i.e., increase in sick or personal days)
  • Disengaged (i.e., less social and more secluded than normal)
  • Fatigue (i.e., make more mistakes than usual)
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Conflicts with bosses or coworkers

HR Strategies to Prevent Stress

1. Stress Management Coaching and Training

Adopt stress management education into your employee wellness program to educate employees on how to cope with day-to-day stressors. Executive coaching and team training are useful options, as they provide support, guidance, and resolution to stress-related problems. Have a therapist or health professional speak to your staff to provide knowledge on the effects of stress and tips to prevent them. Hold stress management workshops or schedule “Lunch and Learns” that cover topics on helping employees manage and reduce stress in their work and personal lives. Helping employees deal with stress improves engagement by contradicting things like the physical and mental damage stress can bring upon an individual.

 

2. Open Communication

Maintaining open communication and consultation are critical to leadership and preventing stress. Create an atmosphere where people feel it is okay to talk to management about problems they are facing. Talk with employees regularly to make sure everyone is clear about their job specifics and what is required of them. Provide clear business objectives, deadlines and expectations to make workdays more productive and less stressful. Carry out regular employee surveys to help you find any stress-related problems with individual managers or employees.

 

3. Flexible Schedules

The struggle to balance work and life is one of the main stressors employees face. Problems of commuting to and from work, finding time in the day to complete much-needed errands and still fit in quality time with family, personal obligations and many more challenge employees daily. Provide opportunities for employees who struggle with these daily challenges to contribute ideas on planning and organizing their own schedules. Having more control over their own schedule can boost employee morale and eliminate much of the daily workplace stressors. Encourage a healthy work-life balance by working with employees to offer flexible work arrangements, such as flexible hours, telecommuting or video conferencing, part-time work and job-sharing.

 

4. Value Employees

To maintain a happy, healthy and productive workplace, it is important to help employees cope with all stressors in their life, including the issues you cannot change. Try offering on-site services to employees at a discount. Services to implement might include car washes, oil changes, dry cleaning, mailing services, restaurant food delivery, eyeglass care, shoe shines, etc. Massage therapy is one of the best ways to help employees relax and relieve stress. Have a massage therapy service come to your office to offer neck and shoulder massages. Stress triggers all types of medical conditions. Provide free monthly health screenings for blood pressure or cholesterol. Programs like this can help employees identify stress-related health risks and provide knowledge of ways to improve their health. Partner up with a local gym to create weekly group exercise classes or discounts when purchasing memberships. Exercising and healthy eating can provide drastic changes in stress levels, resulting in increased productivity, energy, and inspiration to do better.

 

Help employees feel capable of dealing with all stressors in their lives by implementing some of the above HR strategies and maintain a happy, healthy and productive working environment.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s blog to hear more on stress management in the workplace through the eyes of Katie Sternberg, ICC, MSW, LMSW, MBA of Momentum Personal and Executive Coaching, LLC!

Disengaged Employees Are Costing Companies Millions. What You Need To Do Now.

Disengaged Employees Are Costing Companies Millions. What You Need To Do Now.

According to the latest findings from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, over 90% of CEOs and CFOs consider the culture of their company to be critical to their business success. They know, and studies have proven, that the right company culture improves camaraderie and respect among peers, a comfortable work environment, tenure, and loyalty.

It also improves the quality of service and products, and the ability to attract and keep great talent.

What is company culture?

Company culture is just as palpable as the culture you experience with every new country. It’s how its people speak to each other and the ideas, values, and rituals they share with each other throughout their day. Laid back, competitive, collective, individual—several concepts factor into creating a company identity and developing the supportive structure of benefits, events, support, and motivation for group and personal success.

Where does company culture start and why is it important?

“There’s no question that company culture starts and ends with HR,” says Craig Broome, President at Highflyer HR. “It may trickle down from the executive branch, but human resources is responsible for implementing and maintaining it.” Since a company’s culture plays a huge role in how well its employees engage, perform, and stay in their positions, it is not a small job; according to a 2017 Gallup report on the State of the American Workplace, companies that score ranked with higher engagement percentages have a serious advantage over companies who struggle with employee satisfaction.

And there are significant stats to prove it. Companies with actively engaged employees report:

  • 41% lower absenteeism
  • 70% fewer safety accidents
  • 20% higher sales
  • 40% fewer quality defects
  • 21% higher profitability.

“Each study that comes out doesn’t say anything that HR managers haven’t known for years,” adds Broome. “It’s not that companies aren’t aware of the dangers of disengagement. It’s that they don’t know how to find time to fix it with everything else they have to do to maintain compliance, payroll, benefits, and administrative functions.”

With company culture being so important, how do human resources managers actively cultivate it given their current workload?

Sometimes it only takes one thing. For several companies, that one thing is automating HR processes and platforms. Doing so not only streamlines and consolidates data, but also validates and protects it from time-consuming errors, report generation, compliance issues, and platform management. By simply removing the slow nature of paperwork, these HR teams can take the time to strategize and implement programs that not only align with company success but the enrichment of their employees.

Disengagement is costly, but an engaged workforce pays for itself and then some. When HR teams have and take the time to develop the culture, it sets up the company for long-term success; candidates are screened based on qualifications and fit, employees feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves, executives can confidently predict performance, and investors see more value. When HR managers have the time and space to work, everyone wins.

4 Tips For Impressing New Hires On Day One

4 Tips For Impressing New Hires On Day One

“You never get a second chance to make a (good) first impression” is common advice doled out to job interviewees or new company hires. Companies should also consider this when they contemplate how to help make their new employees feel comfortable while getting up to speed as quickly and painlessly as possible. A positive onboarding experience should begin on day one, promoting an easier adaptation to the company’s culture, increasing employee retention and boosting overall morale.

Here are four simple actions employers can take:

  1. Complete onboarding forms in advance.

Hopefully, you utilize technology so you can avoid dumping an immediate avalanche of enrollment forms onto the new hire.  Online onboarding will enable the new employee to complete most of the preliminary paperwork before the start date.  Getting this out of the way will help make that first day more productive and enjoyable.

  1. Equip the workstation or office.

Make sure the new employee already has all of the necessary equipment and supplies in place — do not make them wait endlessly for a crucial piece of furniture/equipment/hardware to get them up and running. Having someone yell out, “Did we ever order a desk and computer for the new marketing guy?” doesn’t exactly make the new guy or gal feel welcome or respected.

  1. Assign a mentor or peer coach.

Fans of the Seinfeld sitcom may recall an episode where George Costanza arrives on his first day at work only to sit alone and bored in a sparse, gloomy office. Suddenly, a man bursts through the door with a file in his hand and tells George to “work on the Penske file.” George awkwardly responds that he will, but it was obvious to the audience that he had no idea how or where to begin.

George could have benefited from having been assigned a mentor or peer coach to provide insight about office protocol, organizational structure, etc. Many employees prematurely leave a new job because of insufficient orientation and a manager’s unreasonable expectations. Mentoring goes a long way toward preventing the new employee from feeling lost or neglected by management.

  1. Make it easy to meet other colleagues.

Organize introductions to fellow employees at prearranged meetings, or schedule small lunch groups throughout the week. The new employee may have a hard time getting acquainted if everyone just eats their dry, tuna sandwiches hunched over their computers. Informal lunch gatherings provide a casual and relaxed way to meet other team members.

What else do you do to make a good first impression on your new employees?

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