Reducing Workplace Stress: Practical Steps Employers Can Take

When people discuss workplace stress, they often focus on bad managers (a leading reason for quitting a job), harassing environments and uncertainty about their future. Employers may throw up their hands in defeat: managers are harder to find than staff, they can’t be everywhere to stop harassment and the economy is out of their control. What to do?

First, take a look at your training. Have you trained your managers in leadership skills or trained staff in the skills they need for their current job or to move on to more responsible positions? Training builds confidence and efficiency. An internal mentorship program may help if professional training is impossible.

Second, review your employee handbook. Is it clear in defining responsibilities and in the procedures for complaining about abuse or harassment? Are you applying policies uniformly? Inconsistent policies are not only stressful for staff, they are stressful for managers who have to improvise in every situation and then deal with the resulting frustration.

Third, consider opening up about the company’s financial status, plans, failures and successes. I’ve worked in companies where the C-level leadership made an art out of deluging employees with empty words rather than share one iota of real information. Other executives are so silent about their efforts on behalf of employees and the company that they might as well do nothing; their staff has no opportunity to share in successes or contribute to improvements. Employees who work in the dark are working under stress.

The cost of stress in turnover, not to mention its effect on health, is huge. In the effort to reduce stress, the three practical steps above are a good start.

I’d like to hear your advice for reducing stress. Leave your comments here or on LinkedIn at Let’s Talk Health Care.

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post. However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn and Let’s Talk Health Care.