Stress management moves up the agenda during the recession

The economic slowdown is forcing employers to increase their efforts to deal with stress among employees, according to the 2010 IRS stress management survey, to be published exclusively on XpertHR next week.

More than half of the HR professionals surveyed said the economic conditions will affect their organisation’s stress management measures, with 87% reporting that they will step up their activities to deal with rising levels of employee stress.

However, just 44% of the respondents said they have provided training for stress management within the past 12 months, compared to 68% in last year’s research.

Competent line management is the key to effectively managing stress, according to the survey, with two-thirds of organisations (67%) targeting their training at improving managers’ people management skills.

The research found that most organisations have developed a wide range of measures to prevent and manage work-related stress. Most employers have introduced, on average, at least six different interventions to deal with stress at work, and at least eight potential responses for managing stress-related absences.

Rachel Suff, researcher at XpertHR and author of the report, said: “All employers offer a phased return to work, for example, while 81% make provision for one-to-one discussions between managers and their team members about stress issues.

“Developing a framework like this means an employer is better equipped to respond to the individualised way in which employees can experience stress. One case of work-related stress can be very different to another, and therefore what is needed to encourage individual employees back to work will also vary.”

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