Manage your stress - Find help with the Society of Stress Managers  

The Society of Stress Managers

The Association for Professional Stress Managers & Life Support Managers

Registered Office: Suite 401, 302 Regent Street, London, W1B 3HH

(Company Registration 3707691 - Incorporated in England & Wales)

STRESS MANAGEMENT STANDARDS FOR EMPLOYERS

The attached stress management standards, based upon work undertaken by the Health and safety Executive, are offered as a model for adoption by employers following consultation with their employees and their representatives. These standards cover the main factors which can lead to stress in the workplace - demands, control, support, relationships, roles and change.

1. DEMANDS: The employer has achieved this standard if:

at least 85% of employees indicate that they are able to cope with the demands of their jobs; and procedures are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

State to be achieved:

The employer provides employees, including managers, with adequate and achievable demands at work.

Job demands are assessed in terms of quantity, complexity, and intensity and are matched to employees’ skills and abilities.

Employees have the necessary competencies to be able to carry out the core functions of their job.

Employees who are given high demands are able to have a say over the way the work is undertaken. (Control)

Employees who are given high demands receive adequate support from their managers and colleagues (Support).

Repetitive and boring jobs are limited, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Employees are not exposed to a poor physical working environment. The employer has undertaken a risk assessment to ensure that physical hazards are under appropriate control.

Employees are not exposed to physical violence or verbal abuse.

Employees are provided with procedures which allow them to raise concerns about health and safety issues and working patterns, and where necessary appropriate action is taken.

2. CONTROL: The employer has achieved this standard if:

at least 85% of employees indicate that they are able to have a say about the way they do their work; and procedures are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

State to be achieved:

The employer provides employees with the opportunity to have a say about the way their work is undertaken.

Where possible, the employer designs work activity so that the pace of the work is rarely driven by an external source (e.g. a machine).

Where possible, employees are encouraged to use their skills and initiative to complete tasks.

Where possible employees are encouraged to develop new skills to help them undertake new and challenging pieces of work.

Employees receive adequate support when asked to undertake new tasks, and employees are supported, even if things go wrong.

Employees are able to exert a degree of control over when breaks can be taken.

Employees are able to make suggestions to improve their work environment, and these suggestions are given due consideration.

3. SUPPORT: The employer has achieved this standard if:

at least 85% of employees indicate that they receive adequate information and support from their colleagues and superiors; and procedures are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

State to be achieved:

The employer provides employees, including managers, with adequate support at work.

There are systems in place to help employees, including managers, provide adequate support to their staff or colleagues.

Employees know how to call upon support from their managers and colleagues.

Employees are encouraged to seek support at an early stage if they feel that they are unable to cope.

The employer has a stress management programme in place to help employees deal with work-related or home-related issues, and employees are aware of this.

4. RELATIONSHIPS: The employer has achieved this standard if:

at least 65% of employees indicate that they are not subjected to unacceptable behaviours at work, e.g. bullying and harassment; and procedures are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

State to be achieved:

The employer has in place agreed procedures to effectively prevent, or quickly resolve, conflict at work.

These procedures are agreed with employees and their representatives and enable employees to confidentially report any concerns they might have.

The employer has a policy for dealing with unacceptable behaviour at work, and this has been agreed with employees and their representatives.

The policy for dealing with unacceptable behaviour at work has been widely communicated within the workplace.

Consideration is given to the way teams are organised to ensure that they are cohesive, have a sound structure, clear leadership and objectives.

Employees are encouraged to talk to their line manager, employee representative, or external provider about any behaviours that are causing them concern at work.

Individuals in teams are encouraged to be open and honest with each other, and are aware of the penalties associated with unacceptable behaviour.

5. ROLE: The employer has achieved this standard if:

at least 65% of employees indicate that they understand their role and responsibilities; and procedures are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

State to be achieved:

The employer ensures that, so far as possible, the demands it places upon employees, including managers, do not conflict.

The employer provides inductions for employees to ensure they understand their role within the organisation.

The employer ensures that employees, including managers, have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities in their specific job, e.g. employees have a plan of work.

The employer ensures that employees understand how their job fits into the overall aims and objectives of the organisation/department/unit.

Procedures are in place to enable employees to raise concerns about any uncertainties or conflicts they have in their role.

Procedures are in place to enable employees to raise concerns about any uncertainties or conflicts they have about their responsibilities.


NB: Role conflict exists when an individual employee is confronted by conflicting job demands or by doing things he or she does not really want to do, or by tasks which the individual employee does not believe are part of their job. Employees may often feel themselves torn between two groups of people who demand different types of behaviour, or who believe the job entails different functions. Role ambiguity arises when individual employees do not have a clear picture about their work objectives, their fellow employees’ expectations of them, and the scope and responsibilities of their job. Often this ambiguity results simply because a manager or supervisor has never adequately explained what is required of them or because the job has changed without this being acknowledged in the job description.

6. CHANGE: The employer has achieved this standard if:

at least 65% of employees indicate that the organisation engages them frequently when undergoing an organisational change; and procedures are in place locally to respond to any individual concerns.

State to be achieved:

The employer ensures that employees, including managers, understand the reason for proposed changes.

Employees receive adequate communication during the change process.

The employer builds adequate employee consultation into its change programme and provides opportunities for employees to comment on the proposals.

Employees are made aware of the impact of the change on their jobs.

Employees are made aware of the timetable for action, and the proposed first steps of the change process.

Employees receive support during the change process.