Managers fail to address workplace stress

The
nation’s bosses are becoming better managers, but are failing to address the
growing tide of workplace stress.

More
than 850 full and part-time workers were interviewed in the Industrial Society
Learning and Development survey and asked to rate their immediate bosses’
management abilities.

While
59 per cent rate their general line management skills positively, only two in
five employees feel they are getting sufficient help to manage their stress
levels at work.

One
in four (26 per cent) full time workers and almost one in five (19 per cent)
part-time staff describe their manager’s stress management skills as ‘poor’ or
‘very poor’.

The
findings are bad news for UK business with stress representing the most common
cause of long-term absence and stress-related sick days costing British
industry as much as £7.11m each week.

The
survey also exposes a gender and age divide, with younger people having a more
positive outlook than those in their later working years and women and
part-time workers significantly more positive in their general rating of their
immediate manager.

The
research also finds that:


Women are more likely to feel fairly treated than their male colleagues: 75 per
cent thought their bosses were fair compared to 65 per cent of men


Part-time workers are more likely to feel valued than those working full time
(62 per cent versus 55 per cent respectively)


 The older the employee, the less
generally well-managed they feel; as many as 48 per cent of interviewees aged
55 or over are negative about their immediate manager compared to only 26 per
cent of 15-24 year olds


Staff in the Midlands are less positive about their bosses’ management skills
than those elsewhere in the UK, with only 54 per cent in the region giving
their boss a positive rating against 62 per cent in the North

Christine
Garner, managing director of Industrial Society Learning & Development,
said: "Poor stress management seems to be the Achilles heel of management
skills – to the detriment of the individual, the workplace and ultimately to
the economy.

"These
findings also suggest that businesses should be sensitive to the needs of their
older employees, who seem to face increasing dissatisfaction with their bosses’
general management skills as they get older – with a gradually ageing
workforce, this is an issue firms can’t afford to ignore."

By Ben Willmott

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