Stress undoubtably is a negative force in the workplace. Frazzled employees are unhappy, unhealthy and less productive. And this downward spiral ultimately affects a company’s bottom line.
Fortunately, forward-thinking organizations can work to reverse this trend. A great starting point is to open the lines of communication. Here are three ways to promote a company culture with less stress and more engagement.
Keep Employees in the Loop
Fear of the unknown is a major contributor to workplace stress. Workers may worry about cuts in benefits packages, restructuring, layoffs or overall company stability. Managers and bosses have a responsibility to share important and relevant information. This includes both good and bad news. Employees who are “in the know” are far less likely to anticipate and prepare for worst-case scenarios. In addition, companies can leverage transparency to clarify their goals, values and vision, and build their brand for those inside and outside of the organization.
Define Expectations Clearly
If employees are unclear about their exact duties or about their on-the-job performance, their stress levels will increase. Supervisors should review job descriptions with workers and make sure they are accurate and regularly updated. Similarly, companies should institute evaluation programs that include regular feedback. These may be annual, biannual or quarterly depending on the industry and/or the employee’s level of experience. Finally, the most innovative organizations foster loyalty and trust. They encourage their workers to develop new ideas, take reasonable risks and view failure as an opportunity. Clarifying the rules and providing ongoing support helps eliminate the fear of making mistakes, as well as the dishonesty and cover-ups that may result from high-stress situations.
The phrase, “My door is always open,” is commonly used by managers. However, bosses need to make this a reality not just a statement. To reduce the stress levels of their workers, supervisors must be approachable, understanding and empathic. A variety of factors can contribute to a poor work environment from outdated equipment to unrealistic workloads to personal problems. Those in charge should listen (really listen) to their employees. Even when a solution is not readily available, genuine conversations will inform bosses and empower workers. Also, organizations must recognize the need to ask for suggestions and follow through with this request. After all, employees may be afraid to provide honest input that is controversial or negative. Managers should encourage thoughtful conversations at all levels of the organization, seek out information, encourage employees with interesting ideas to collaborate and respectfully consider all recommendations.
What is adding to the stress level at your organization? Understaffing? Workload fluctuations? A lack of talented workers? An employment agency can make your life easier with flexible staffing options and talent management services. Aventure Staffing has offices in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. Contact us today to learn more!