Empower employees to deal with stress at work

I was dismayed but not at all surprised to read about the HR profession’s overwhelming belief that stress is the UK workforce’s biggest single threat to health (Personnel Today, 12 September).

While the efforts of some enlightened employers to counter the workplace stress epidemic are laudable, their impact on a problem of such vast scale is likely to be small.

Far more effective is to put much of the solution in the hands of those who are closest to the issue – employees themselves.

Staff can be enabled to take more responsibility for their own futures. Equally, they can be encouraged towards greater self-belief in the workplace, with enhanced self-assessment and personal planning ability, greater willingness to recognise and use assertiveness, and greater skills in communication and networking.

Then we know they report being less stressed from work and other pressures in the first place.

We know too from our work in the field over many years that an empowered individual is likely to be much less predisposed towards feeling stressed. While the role of the employer must not be under-played, it’s at the front-line of stress in the workplace where the difference will tell.

Liz Willis
Director, Springboard Consultancy

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