According to a 2018 Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees, 23% of employees feel burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.
Employee stress is a serious issue and, if not managed, can lead to burnout, long periods of absenteeism, as well as a number of mental health issues. So, what can companies do to reduce employee stress?
Below, we offer four tips on how your company can improve employee wellbeing.
1. Give Praise…The Right Way
In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, discusses the difference between having a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset – that is to say, the difference between believing our abilities are fixed and stagnant versus the ability to continually grow, learn and develop.
Companies can cultivate a workplace culture with a growth mindset through the way feedback, and praise is given to employees. After all, praise helps us believe in ourselves and our abilities, helps us grow in confidence, lifts our mood, encourages us to try new things and take positive risks.
Concerning employee stress, a 2015 Forbes article referenced a study conducted by Harvard Business School which confirmed the positive effects of praise concluding those study participants “who read positive statements about their past actions were more creative in their approach, more successful at problem-solving and less stressed out than their counterparts.”
In an Inc. article, contributor Jeff Haden shares the following as correct examples of giving praise to employees, which acknowledges results but focuses on effort:
- "Great job! It's clear you put in a lot of time and effort."
- "Great work! You beat a tight deadline. Thanks for working so hard to get it done."
2. Open Up The Channels of Communication
Effective communication is crucial to every workplace. Creating an environment with open communication leads to fewer misunderstandings and creates greater transparency.
The key to any relationship is communication, and this applies to the relationship between employer and employees, management and colleagues. Poor communication, on the other hand, can create a sense of distrust, exclusion, and a disconnection between employees, the company and its mission.
Another Forbes article emphasizes that clear communication is critical to reducing employee stress. “Your employees should be able to solely focus on the job you’ve hired them to do. They shouldn’t have to allocate any time or effort to deciphering the messages they receive from management. It’s important that the communication coming from leadership teams is clear. Whether it’s meetings, emails or memos. Expectations need to be defined and questions need to be answered.”
Additionally, it’s important to create an inclusive culture where sharing is highly encouraged. By welcoming and supporting employees’ ideas, you can cultivate a culture of appreciation, openness, inclusion, and reduce stress.
Asking employees to participate in anonymous surveys is an excellent way for employees to gauge employee satisfaction, employee wellbeing and promote two-way communication.
3. Make Information Easily Available
Research by McKinsey found that “The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 per cent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 per cent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.”
Many HR professionals spend a large part of their day answering questions from employees about their employment, company policies, salaries, holidays, and sick leave. With its clear and concise interface, Benify’s cloud-based platform allows both employee and company information to be centralized, available all in one place and made accessible to employees 24-7 from any device.
The earlier mentioned McKinsey study found that “By using social technologies, companies can raise the productivity of knowledge workers by 20 to 25 per cent”. Ease of access to information means significantly fewer inquiries to HR, which, in turn, reduces stress for both the employee and HR.
4. Promote Employee Wellbeing
What better way to reduce employee stress than focusing on offering and implementing tools which support employee wellbeing? Countless studies have shown that happy employees are more engaged in their work, take fewer sick days, and more likely to people ambassadors of your company.
Selecting, compiling and offering an attractive range of employee benefits made accessible through a benefits platform is a great way to support employee wellbeing. Be it a discounted gym card, massages, spa treatments, or grocery delivery services, the list of employee benefits you can offer are endless.
In Benify’s Employee Happiness Index 2018, survey results showed that 70% of top performing workplaces have a benefits strategy and that, on average, employees who are most satisfied with their benefit offering rated themselves 9.1 on a satisfaction scale of 1-10, which was up to a fifth higher than those least satisfied.
So, how are you, as an employer, going to improve employee wellbeing and reduce employee stress?