The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced a set of management standards - dating back to 2004, but still relevant and useful for the world of work today - that organisations can use to assess how well they're managing stress, with suggestions as to interventions that can be implemented to address any shortfall in relation to the particular standard. This requires a risk assessment approach, and is a way of promoting continuous improvement, for both 'healthy', because there's always room for improvement, and 'unhealthy' organisations. The HSE surveyed a large number of organisations, and interviewed large numbers of employees, asking them for their views on what contributed to and detracted from wellbeing at work. As a result of the survey, they identified 6 Management Standards, otherwise known as 'hazards', which if not properly addressed and attended to, would produce negative outcomes for staff. These are the DEMANDS placed on staff; the CONTROL they have over the work they do; the SUPPORT we provide as an organisation; the (positive) RELATIONSHIPS, or culture, we promote; how clear staff are about their ROLE and how well CHANGE is managed. We can apply these standards at unit/company-level, or at the individual level. For the latter, this means sitting down with our staff member, and checking how we/they are doing in relation to the Standards. For example, we can ask questions about the work itself, any changes that may be happening, or problems at home that may be impacting on performance. You can download a copy of the HSE questionnaire based on the Management Standards here. (You won’t need to ask all the questions, just use it as a basis for discussion). The benefit for both the individual and the manager is that we can identify any problem areas, and provide mutually-agreed interventions to address issues of concern. You can download a copy of the HSE Management Standards, including example interventions here.
Having undertaken a stress risk assessment, we can therefore be satisfied that we have done the right thing as a manager/organisation for the individual. It also means that we have fulfilled our duty of care – and legal obligations - towards our staff. Here's an example copy of a stress risk assessment form.
(You can find details of the line management behaviour required to promote wellbeing and prevent and manage stress - from CIPD/the HSE - by clicking on the link).
CIPD have produced a guide on what the law says about work-related stress which is very helpful.
Please get in touch with us at Stress Management Plus if you'd like support or advice with any of the above.