With the deepening credit crunch and fears for jobs up and down the country, is it any wonder that workers are suffering from more stress and worries this December when compared to last year?
A study of 2000 employees by training provider LearnHR found that 49% said they were feeling more anxious than last year. More than a third (38%) felt insecure in their jobs, and a fifth (20%) were expecting to be off sick at some point in 2009 due to stress-related illness.
Some 29% of workers admitted to already seeing their levels of productivity and efficiency drop, which may lead to more sickness absence as morale and spirits deteriorate.
Christine Tebbutt, education director at LearnHR was right to say that now more than ever, HR teams need to make sure the workforce operates at its full potential – but how easy is this in light of the fact the workforce is already de-motivated?
Tebbutt encouraged employers to invest time, resources and training in their HR teams and line managers to ensure they dealt with stress at an early stage.
Meanwhile calls to the Citizen Advice Bureau regarding unemployment and redundancy worries have shot up lately, according to The Times.
Surely the priority for 2009 therefore lies with making sure staff are listened to, understood, and helped where possible to deal with stress, whether its regarding work or not. If it’s harder for an organisation to offer job security in the current climate, its HR professionals need to step up to the challenge of communicating openly and honestly with employees, from the outset.
But maybe you’d do it differently. What tactics does your organisation have for dealing with stressed out employees? And is it an employer’s role to help out staff with worries that may be nothing to do with the workplace?
Comment on your thoughts below.