Improving Employee Engagement Reduces Work Stress

Stress has been cited as the real main reason for employees being absent from work and the lack of employee engagement is the key factor behind this huge problem. How big you ask? Research from the Mental Health Foundation found that 60 percent of those who stated work as the source of their stress said that support was not forthcoming from bosses. In another survey, 75 percent said that someone at work is making them miserable. Many organizations today are seriously hampered by high rates of absenteeism and a large percentage of workers with FMLA claims due to various types of stress both realized and hidden.  

11 Million Lost Working Days a Year 

In the UK, the economic costs of un-managed stress are huge and increasing – it’s estimated at 11 million lost working days a year at the last count. Says, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation Dr Andrew McCulloch, “many people living with stress choose to ignore it instead of acting to solve their problems.” 

Statistics compiled by Bupa suggested that stress remains the most common cause of workers taking sick days, with one in six people claiming that their jobs were stressful. 

The survey “Stress in the Workplace,” conducted at the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference in May 2010, highlighted the areas most affected by stress and the strategies employed to reduce stress for for employees taken by organizations.
 
The Most Impacted
 
Findings show that the workplace issues most impacted by stress from the lack of employee engagement are:
  • Health care costs: 82 percent of respondents indicate that healthcare costs are significantly or moderately impacted by worker stress
  • Absenteeism: 79 percent indicated absenteeism is heavily impacted
  • Workplace safety: 77 percent stated that safety was impacted and generated other risks 

Results also show that 66 percent of employers have implemented a minimum of four programs intended to reduce stress, while 22 percent have established seven or more programs, and some make more than 10 programs available to their workers. The fully loaded costs to address stress is an enormous burden today. 

Top 10 Tools Used to Reduce Workplace Stress 

The top 10 tools employers use to help reduce workplace stress, survey respondent percentages, include: 

1. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) – 78 percent
2. Flexible work schedules – 63 percent
3. Work/life balance support programs – 46 percent
4. Leadership training on worker stress – 45 percent
5. Online healthy lifestyle programs – 45 percent
6. Onsite fitness centers – 43 percent
7. Physical activity programs – 38 percent
8. Stress awareness campaigns – 35 percent
9. Financial management classes – 30 percent
10. Personal health/lifestyle management coaching – 29 percent 

While employers increasingly realize they must address the rapidly rising levels of employee stress, it appears many of these tools are missing the mark. While those that ignore stress will take a hit to their bottom line, in higher costs and lower productivity, those that are addressing stress often still take the hits. 

Is the Top 10 Misguided? 

How is it that companies are still experiencing negative impacts? Should the number one tool address how to improve work relationships? Here is what we know:

  • 75%-80% of people leave jobs because of relationship issues
  • 25%-35% of manager’s time is lost due to dealing with workplace conflict
  • The number one reason employees report for leaving a job is the bad/poor relationship with their direct supervisor

A Quick Diagnostic

When you think about your workplace, would you say:

1. People don’ talk to one another.
2. Some people talk, but many don’t listen.
3. People listen but take no action.
4. What’s in it for me – is the culture.
5. You need to be a loner…sink or swim.
6. We have no systems to share information and ideas.
7. We know it all, no need to seek information from others.

When you review this list does it resonate? Can you see this resonating for many of your friends and family members? Now then, would any of those top 10 tools listed above rectify the core underlying issue with employee engagement and relationships in the workplace?

To gain insights into how leading organizations have overcome this fundamental issue, get your free copy of the eBook 7 Keys to Employee Engagement  now.

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