How the HR department can take the stress out of the workplace

on 15 January 2016
HR Departments and Your workers wellbeing

The role of a modern HR professional reaches far past the realms of hiring and firing, the human resources team take on many roles within the business they work for. Not only are there to offer advice on, and ultimately implement, a human resources policy, they also manage the recruitment processes, incentive schemes, training requirements and, possibly the most important of them all, manage the wellbeing of your employees. 

Businesses are relying on their HR departments more than ever to help them drive productivity. When the health of an employee starts to decline their performance will too. The major health issue that is taking its toll on employees across the company and costing businesses is stress. During 2015 an estimated 11.3m British working days were lost due to stress, depression and anxiety.

The resulting effect of this on all businesses is huge with workload management being one of the most heavily affected areas. It's immaterial whether the cause of the stress is the home or the workplace; it has a significant impact on both the individual and the other members of their team. Businesses need to have a plan in place to minimise the effects this will have on individual team members and the business as a whole.

For those in the HR department this presents a particularly difficult challenge as the duty of care responsibility to all employees must be balanced with what is best for the business. You are practically guaranteed that whatever decision you come too there will be some will be unhappy but ultimately the health of every employee under your care must be of paramount importance.

Creating the best possible company culture can go a long way to lessening the negative effects stress brings. This must be visible and accessible from the very top. It will fall on the shoulders of the HR department to bring in the resources needed to achieve a positive company culture from the inforamtion managers have suggested. This coupled with being in charge of the training and support needed for stressed employees to ensure your company is ready to tackle this most sensitive of issues when it does rear its head.

Having occupational health and counsellors in place is one thing but you cannot make employees visit them. Stress is something we all have to deal with and some people's stress levels are naturally higher than others. While some thrive on high pressure environments to the extent it brings out the best in them others struggle to deal with it and the stress and anxiety eventually gets the better of them.

Learning to identify key triggers and signs can go a long way to reducing stress in the workplace. To do this effectively you’ll need to interact with employees in their natural working environment. You will need to spend time with your employees in their space. You’ll be looking for subtle signals, it’s highly unlikely they will tell you they are stressed but there are often cues in their body language and their attitude to work, look for changes in their patterns of behaviour and actions that are out of character.  

Not dealing with stress before it reaches fever pitch can lean to an employee burning out and the logistics, and cost of this, will create problems across the board.


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