Archive for November, 2008

Humor : Employee Retention!

November 23, 2008

EAP Programs That Really Work..And Why!

November 23, 2008

Employee assistance programs which provide counselling, stress management, and other assistance to employees are a popular option for UK enterprises due to the many positive results of such programs.  While many enterprises are concerned about the costs of such programs, they may not be aware that studies show an actual cost savings from creating a working employee assistance program.  

One major positive result of an employee assistance program is a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  A workforce that is enduring chronic stress is less manageable and less productive. Stress can manifest in many ways which hurt your business, including lack of courtesy, less creativity, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, and employee absenteeism.  Employees with mental health or personal problems typically have a work performance of at least 35% below normal. 

Absenteeism has obvious costs to any enterprise.  Employee assistance programs providing intervention in cases of substance abuse, major life events, and chronic stress problems can drastically decrease the number of days missed.  Many employees have personal or family problems that prevent them from attending work which can be resolved or mitigated through an employee assistance program.  Because 5.6% of the average enterprises payroll is spent on absenteeism, a cost of less than 1% for an employee assistance program is a huge cost savings. 

Another major benefit to employers is a decrease in turnover.  In 65 to 80 percent of cases, the cause for termination is due to personal or interpersonal factors rather than an inability to perform the job.  An employee assistance program is designed to help resolve precisely these type of issues before termination is necessary.  For example, an employee could get free counselling services to learn to manage workplace stress effectively, or two workers with an interpersonal dispute could seek out mediation in order to resolve the problem.  Terminating an employee has many negative effects, including loss of workplace morale, disruption to work processes, and increased costs to the enterprise for recruiting, hiring, placement, and training.  Even a small reduction in turnover can have huge impacts on an enterprises bottom line.  For example, replacing a single clerical worker has a cost of nearly GBP 2,000, replacing a member of technical staff can cost GBP 7,000 or more. 

Stress and personal problems can also create unforeseen problems such as workplace accidents, injuries, and disabilities.  Studies show that stress contributes to 85% of accidents.  If an employee assistance program helps reduce the workplace disruption and morale problems of a single significant workplace accident, it can likely pay for an entire year of the program’s cost.

 One study of employees in an automobile plant showed dramatic changes from implementing an employee assistance program in order to specifically offer support for alcoholic employees.  This created a huge difference in the workplace.  For example, absenteeism decreased by 56 percent, disciplinary problems decreased by 63 percent, and workplace accidents decreased by 82 percent.  The relative cost savings of an employee assistance program will, in most cases, far outweigh the initial financial cost.

Stress At Work – Office Yoga?

November 18, 2008

How to Prevent Absenteeism in Your Enterprise

November 18, 2008


Absenteeism is a major problem in many enterprises in the United Kingdom.  Nearly every business has felt the cost of employee absenteeism to a greater or lesser degree, causing workplace disruptions, loss of productivity and a subsequent loss of revenues.  UK businesses lose about forty million days each year to absenteeism(source:  The cost for UK industry is staggering: £11.5 billion was paid in wages to absent employees, or paid for temporary staff or overtime for absent employees, in 2002. 

There are many ways of preventing absenteeism.  Of the forty million days each year lost to absenteeism, over thirteen million are caused by common mental health issues, including stress, anxiety and depression.  While not all mental health issues are preventable by employers, enterprises can mitigate the cost by providing appropriate resources to employees to deal with such issues.  An employee assistance program that offers face to face or telephone counselling to employees on a confidential basis can provide a needed outlet and source of information to suffering employees.  While such plans do have an up-front cost to employers, they typically save money in the long run from decreased absenteeism and turnover.  

Employers can also be proactive in resolving workplace issues that cause stress and in turn encourage absenteeism and eventual turnover.  Chronic absenteeism on a departmental or enterprise level can often indicate burnout or workplace issues, rather than a problem with individual employees.  Employees that are suffering from excessive workloads are an obvious target, but there are other factors that can create chronic stress, such as lack of communication in the workplace, multiple supervisors, conflicting job requirements, unclear job responsibilities, lack of autonomy, and micromanagement 

Interpersonal problems such as office politics or even bullying can cause stress and anxiety.

At an enterprise-wide level, fear of redundancies, lack of promotion potential, and lack of technological or financial support can also create problematic stress levels.  To combat this, savvy employers will create open door policies to encourage employees to come forward regarding workplace problems.  Counselling and mediation may also be helpful in dealing with such issues. 

Employees also tend to take sickies due to physical and health issues.  While some, such as colds and flu, cannot be wholly prevented, employers can reduce their impact on the workplace through sensible policy.  Encouraging sick employees to stay home rather than creating a job environment where staff is pressured to attend despite illness can often facilitate less sick days, not more.  Further, even simple steps such as encouraging frequent hand washing and providing hand sanitizer to employees can reduce illness.  Further, other health issues can be caused by workplaces themselves.  Hiring a qualified ergonomist may help in preventing absenteeism due to complaints like back pain, as well as the added benefit of increasing morale and increasing employee productivity?

 There are many steps available to prevent absenteeism, but the best first step is to carefully analyse the environment and to find out the root causes of absenteeism.  Once that is established, creating an action plan to prevent the common causes can pay off for any enterprise.

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Employee Assistance Programs – Attractive Benefits for Employees!

November 18, 2008


Employee assistance programs are an attractive benefit for employees and a helpful resource for any company.  Many people who are, in ordinary circumstances, excellent workers may encounter a period in their lives where they struggle with the responsibilities of their work and their outside lives. 

Without assistance, such employees may end up being terminated or leaving the job voluntarily, costing the enterprise in recruiting, hiring, and training costs.  Any organisation can benefit from an employee assistance program to help prevent these costs and to help employees lead happier and more productive lives.

An employee assistance program offers counseling and other services to employees in a variety of different situations.  One common situation is dealing with issues specifically pertaining to the work environment, such as workplace stress or work relationship issues. All of us encounter difficulties in the workplace from time to time, but when stress becomes chronic, it can be destructive and even physically harmful.  Chronic stress can cause symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even physical discomfort such as stomach aches, headaches, and backaches. 

This can lead to very poor work performance as well as difficulty interacting with other employees productively.  An employee assistance program can help by providing counseling to affected employees in order to plan ways to alleviate stress.  Stress alleviation can include relaxation techniques or coping mechanisms as well as physiological changes such as healthy diet and exercise.  By helping employees who are under extreme or chronic stress, staff absenteeism is decreased and workplace productivity is increased.

Employees may also need someplace to turn during or after major life events.  While one common example is the death or injury of a loved one, even positive events such as giving birth can create negative effects.  Other individuals may be struggling through personal or family relationship problems, such as divorce, which can be isolating and leave the person with no one to confide in. 

Many people can benefit from counseling in such cases and may not seek out such assistance on their own.  A company that has provided an EAP and proactively informs employees about their options will help individuals who are having such temporary problems, creating positive morale as well as decreased turnover and absenteeism.  

Employee assistance programs are not limited to only counseling.  Some programs will offer a variety of services to help with work/life balance issues of all kinds.  For example, some employee assistance programs can help employees with personal finances or legal problems.  While counselors typically do not come on-site for confidentiality issues, some employee assistance programs offer specific services to the employer itself for use in the workplace.  For example, consultations for supervisors or management may be offered, as well as support for dealing with workplace relationship problems.  Even training and education programs may be available. 

During difficult periods, such as multiple redundancies or the death of an employee, critical incident services may be available as a resource to help in the workplace itself.  Coverage can also be much more basic, so there is a program available for nearly any level of need.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Training ‘can encourage careers success’

November 8, 2008


Employers which invest in their workforce are most likely to succeed as the economic crisis continues, new research has indicated.

According to a report published by the Cranfield School of Management, such measures can help reduce costs, improve worker motivation and increase staff retention.

The most successful employers are those with formal training procedures in place, rather than those conducted on an ad hoc basis, it is claimed.

Sarah Jones, chief executive of Ufi, the organisation responsible for learndirect and learndirect Business, said organisations “must focus on nurturing talent if they are to survive, grow and succeed”.

Continuing, she stated: “The business case for developing staff is compelling. Effective training can reduce staff turnover and absenteeism, improve motivation, increase productivity, help boost and improve customer satisfaction.”

Ms Jones said structured evaluation and assessment processes could help employees achieve their potential.

Located in Bedfordshire, Cranfield School of Management has offered education and development services in higher education since 1967.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit


How to Get Your Staff Going … And Keep ‘Em Going

November 8, 2008


How to rev up your staff. Part II

Don’t forget about training and don’t be stingy are two of the latest tips on motivating your staff during these tough times. Read the first ten suggestions here.

11 Put them on a jet plane
Every six months, Penta staff have a one-to-one appraisal meeting to review the previous five months’ work. The outcome of the meeting is linked to an incentive programme where the company pays for employees to go abroad. Penta says more than 60 per cent of its sales consultants qualified for the trip to Dubai this year, and retention levels have increased by nine per cent.

12 Don’t be stingy
If you’re going to the lengths of organising an away day or weekend bonding session, don’t mess it up by staying in cheap hotels. Staff at Wellingborough-based Best Deal Insurance stay at the plush Savoy in London and the Ritz in Barcelona. The company also takes it’s workers on excursions to events such as Royal Ascot and Sandown Park. Employees appreciate the high-class touch, with one noting: “The quality of the trips is exceptional and unforgettable. They are great for team building and office morale.” Staff turnover at the insurance intermediary has dropped from 40 per cent to eight per cent, while CEO David Thomson says net profit has “significantly increased”.

13 Launch lots of new products
Innovative output and staff satisfaction can be interdependent; your people will thrive on being part of a business that produces new, ground-breaking stuff. Barnsley-based family business Naylor Industries made its name in clay pipes but in 1993, 100 years after its inception, wasn’t moving forward. Fourth-generation owner Edward Naylor modernised the company, engaged its workforce and diversified to such an extent that  68 per cent of sales during 2007-08 came from new introductions to Naylor’s product line.

14 Always look on the bright side of life
“Think positively,” advises Contact Recruitment’s Bawany. “In a market like this, there are always opportunities, and your senior management team has to lead by example. Young people – particularly those under the age of 25 – have never experienced a negative business environment. They’ll wonder what the hell is going on and they may not be able to cope. You have to show them what can be done, emphasise that this is a phase we’re going through and that the company will come out the other end when the market starts to improve.”

15 Encourage them to develop their own creative projects

Every employee at Madgex can use up to 15 per cent of their working year to develop their own creative project ideas and direct their own professional development. Madgex says this has helped it to recruit 19 new members of staff across various experience levels during a period of four months.

16 Don’t forget about training

Offering training to your employees is an important way of keeping staff interested in and motivated by their jobs. It’s important to continue to train people up, even when there are economic pressures to cut back. Bawany of Contact Recruitment says: “Training doesn’t have to be external; it can be held internally, and it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. I think the best time to train your staff is when business is slow or when the economy has taken a dip. That way, by the time things get going again, your people will be fully trained and raring to go.”

17 … but make it fun!
Training courses don’t have to be a bore. The more fun you have while learning, the more you’ll absorb. Best Deal Insurance’s training programme is interactive and, the company says, is the leading reason staff stay loyal to the company. “After three months, it’s not unusual for an employee to be generating £15,000 worth of business each month but, as their training progresses, many will see this figure rise to between £25,000 and £30,000,” says chief executive, David Thomson. “Over the same period, staff are likely to see conversion rates jump from ten per cent to anything up to 50 per cent.

18 Relate staff behaviour to customer feedback
Staff at junk clearance and rubbish recycling business Any Junk? are rewarded for enthusiasm, communication and positive customer feedback. These account for half the monthly bonus pool dished out to the £2m-turnover company’s truck team. The firm’s Net Positive Ranking of customer service has improved 20 percentage points to 76 per cent since the start of the scheme, and absolute revenue from customer referrals has risen by 32 per cent over three months.

19 If times are tough, be sensitive
Bryan Donkin Valves, a £5.1m-turnover valve manufacturer, went through a comprehensive change programme when it moved a division from its traditional location in Chesterfield to a purpose-built manufacturing facility eight miles down the road. Programme initiatives included one-to-one meetings with everyone affected; finding suitable employment for those made redundant; training for those in new roles and regular communication with everyone through meetings and a dedicated noticeboard. All but one of the 74 affected workers made the move and, a year on, significant productivity increases have been achieved.

20 Work with local educational establishments
Family-owned Fosters Bakery partnered with Sheffield Hallam University, through the government’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership Scheme, to improve its competitiveness. The scheme at Fosters, which turns over £10m, is HR-focused and has meant training and development is now a pivotal element of the business strategy. Staff are staying at Fosters for longer and are better behaved (disciplinary actions have dropped from 20 during six months in 2005–06 to five during the same period two years later).

Picture source


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Bullying in the Workplace – Costing Organisations Hard Cash

November 8, 2008

Workplace bullying is on the rise and the public sector is the worst offender, a report has found.

The Government estimates that bullying costs the UK economy £13.7 billion, with 100 million days in productivity lost every year.

In Bullying at Work: the Experience of Managers, 70 per cent of managers polled by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) said that they had witnessed bullying in the past three years and 42 per cent had been bullied themselves, with unfair treatment, verbal insults, unwanted sexual advances, blocked promotion opportunities and physical intimidation among examples named.

When asked about their experiences, managers said that instances of bullying were not only top down. Some 55 per cent had witnessed bullying among peers, and one in three had seen subordinates bullying their managers.

When bullying did occur, it often went unchecked. Almost half the respondents (47 per cent) said no action was taken by their organisation.

There appear to be multiple reasons for the trend. Root causes named include a lack of management skills, cited by 71 per cent of respondents, 59 per cent said that personality clashes were the problem and 44 per cent blamed authoritarian management styles.

The CMI report compared the results with the same survey conducted three years ago and found that bullying appeared to be on the rise across all organisations. On a 5-point scale, individuals gave their employer a score of 2.37 to show the extent of bullying in their workplace, up from 2.25 in 2005. The public sector received an average 2.60.

Gill Trevelyan, the head of good practice services at Acas, the arbitration service, said that high levels of stress associated with professions such as teaching or healthcare were a big factor.

“One of the main reasons for managers to adopt bullying behaviour is when they are under pressure or stress themselves,” she said. However, the figures could also owe to greater awareness of bullying in the public sector, making employees more likely to report incidents.

“In other workplaces that have a more aggressive culture, such as a financial trading floor, these practices may be seen as normal – although not necessarily right,” Ms Trevelyan said. It pays for organisations to be vigilant. Bullying contributes to ill-health, and organisations that tolerate it can be held to account under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

A ruling by the law lords in 2006 made it clear that the principle of vicarious liability under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 applies in the workplace, so employers may be held liable even if they have not acted negligently or were unaware of the problem.

The best course of action is to have clear policies to define what constitutes bullying and to make employees aware of procedures, Ms Trevelyan said. Effective management is crucial. “Managers who take a more consultative, consensual approach rather than ‘command and control’ are less likely to be seen as bullies,” she said.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Central Manchester NHS to Reduce Staff Absenteeism

November 8, 2008

They have succeeded on individual wards, but are trusts in Nottingham and Manchester up to the bigger challenge of transforming whole hospitals, asks Stuart Shepherd

In September 2007, following the unprecedented success of the individual Productive Ward field test sites, two NHS trusts embarked on a strategy to implement the Productive Ward across their entire hospital systems. The trusts were invited to do this by the NHS Institute because both had an excellent track record in hospital-wide improvement initiatives.

Nottingham University Hospitals trust and Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals trust were enthusiastic about the programme. They were confident of the potential of Productive Ward to increase the nursing time available for direct patient care dramatically.

Nonetheless, as “whole hospital” testing grounds, a vanguard for acute and other services far and wide, they knew they were stepping somewhat into the unknown and fully acknowledged the challenge ahead.

A year in, their learning is already proving to be invaluable and informing important further developments in the national roll-out of the Productive Ward and how its impact will be measured. Their progress has also contributed significantly to the continuing growth of the Productive series.

The Nottingham story

Having familiarised itself with the tools and principles of Productive Ward on two pilot wards, Nottingham began whole hospital roll-out in November 2007. Eight new teams from NHS England’s fourth largest trust join the programme approximately every 10 weeks, and to date Productive Ward is being implemented in 34 wards as well in as the emergency department.

“Two years from the start of roll-out [November 2009], our aim is to have Productive Ward on 74 from a total of more than 90 wards,” explains Kerry Bloodworth, assistant director of nursing and Productive Ward project lead. “The most advanced wards have completed all the foundation modules and are moving on to their fifth process module. Their Productive Ward ‘house’ is almost complete.”

She adds: “We have a team of four senior project nurses – all former ward sisters with good communication and influencing skills but little or nothing in the way of a background in improvement skills – to meet the demands those aspirations place on us.”

Trust chief executive Peter Homa chairs the project’s monthly steering group, which is also attended by directors from estates and informatics alongside representatives from the different ward cohorts in the implementation phase.

“The fact that he has not missed a single meeting is a clear indication of the commitment our chief executive gives to Productive Ward,” says Ms Bloodworth. “It also means there is somebody there who can very quickly unblock any issues or resource needs that might otherwise get in the way.”

Publicly displayed performance measurement boards on the wards running Productive Ward show the improvements to which the programme is contributing. These go up during the Knowing How We Are Doing foundation module and indicators on them include patient and staff satisfaction, healthcare-acquired infection rates, falls, pressure areas, length of stay and staff sickness. Where adverse or negative measures are recorded, the same boards also show which actions staff are taking to reduce or eliminate them.

Patients and visitors are responding positively to the data, Ms Bloodworth notes: “All our inpatients are given the opportunity to fill out a modified PICA survey which assesses their levels of satisfaction. This provides instant feedback to the staff teams about what patients think of their experience on the ward. The response varies across wards but overall the satisfaction rating is above 80 per cent.”

As with many other trusts, there has been a huge drive at Nottingham – with good effect – to reduce healthcare-acquired infections. MRSA rates, for instance, are down by 68 per cent and C difficile by 54 per cent. While other contributing initiatives such as clean hands and deep clean need to be considered, a part of those outcomes, it seems fair to say, may be attributable to Productive Ward.

“If you speak to a Productive Ward ward sister, what she will tell you is that up until having performance data, she would know where she could find the MRSA infection rate for her ward,” says Ms Bloodworth. “Now with infection control data in public view, it is much more of a live issue for her and the clinical team and it reassures patients and families, who can see what is being done to tackle it and how it is coming down.”

Anecdotal evidence arising from the trust’s experience of implementing the Well Organised Ward module suggests savings of between £5,000 and £10,000 can be made by returning excess stock to stores.

One unequivocal measure at Nottingham that has improved with Productive Ward is direct care time. “Across the trust, the proportion of the total working time available to nurses to spend with patients has gone up from 38 per cent to 52 per cent,” reports Ms Bloodworth. “Data is now driving performance on the wards. “When it starts to influence things like patient flow in the emergency department, the impact of Productive Ward leads us further to where we need to be, to what our chief executive describes as the Productive Hospital.”

The Manchester story

“For us, Productive Ward came just at the right time. We have been able to use it as a single vehicle for delivering three distinct service development initiatives,” says Gill Heaton, director of patient services and chief nurse at Central Manchester. “Now all our aspirations for the patient experience, patient safety, and productivity and efficiency can be pulled together in this one programme.”

There are 82 wards or departments where Central Manchester wants to use Productive Ward (including some outpatient areas, children’s high dependency and the adolescent mental health unit) and bring the skill sets into the clinical team.

“We plan to complete by 2010, using a 12-week roll-out that brings in between six and eight new areas at a time,” says Dawn Pike, assistant director of nursing. “One of the challenges we face at the moment is that our hospitals are across three sites, so we have phased the introduction of Productive Ward to children’s services for after their relocation in 2009. “We believe that we can bring service improvement to all of these areas.”

The evidence suggests she is right. Every quarter the trust has been using an “activity follow” process to measure the time available to registered nurses to give to direct patient care. Across all wards that figure has gone up by 8 per cent.

“That might not sound a lot,” says Ms Pike, “but actually it equates to 57 extra minutes across a 12-hour shift and it is in this more meaningful form that we relay it to the nursing teams.”

Those figures and others from a range of 12 quality indicators arrive as “performance dashboard data” on the Productive Ward wards each month in a visually striking bar graph format. Just as at Nottingham, the data is on public display and along with it are the actions the ward team are taking to make the necessary improvements.

“The data tells the team how they are doing and where the issues lie, as well as informing the improvement process. If the number of falls is going up, for instance, they might use process mapping and some of the other tools and techniques they have learned to better understand what’s happening and what to do about it. We know it’s an approach that works. Before the Productive Ward programme started, one of our first-phase wards used to average 12 falls a month. Now that is down to between three and four a month,” says Ms Pike.

Evidence shows that Productive Wards at Central Manchester have improved how they identify nutritional risk among vulnerable patients. The trust is collating information from its first-phase wards that should also demonstrate a quantifiable reduction in food waste. An early briefing to the catering team about the implementation of the programme, and their subsequent involvement in the process-mapping of meal delivery from kitchen to patient, has helped to develop partnership working beyond the confines of the clinical area.

“It might be because we are still early in the journey, but it is hard to articulate, to capture the impact that Productive Ward might have in other departments, out across our trust and in the wider health economy,” says Ms Pike. “We are talking with the Institute about how we progress our evaluation of the data across the whole hospital, about what measures we can put in place to be clearer about what, in terms of impact, Productive Ward is responsible for.”


The NHS Institute is working to support trusts such as Nottingham and Central Manchester to further understand how the data they are collecting from the wards can be interpreted at an organisational level.

“First, we have embarked on a major national study of the spend and impact of the Productive Ward across the whole NHS with a leading academic partner,” says Maggie Morgan-Cooke, NHS Institute lead on the Productive Ward and Productive Community Hospital.

“We are also developing a tool to help organisations benchmark the impact of Productive Ward across a dozen or so key indicators being used at the whole hospital sites and elsewhere.

“This will help trusts to quantify more accurately the difference that Productive Ward makes, not just to time released back into direct patient care, but to safety issues including reductions in falls and medicine errors, to length of stay, time taken in admission and discharge procedures and staff absenteeism.”

Activities to measure and benchmark the impact of the Productive Ward are also underway at a regional level, led by NHS South East coast. The NHS Institute will build the learning from this into its current benchmarking tool development.

“There is a lot of interest in this area and we hope to be able to formally launch the benchmarking tool in December,” says Ms Morgan-Cooke.

“It will allow NHS organisations to understand how well individual wards are currently doing, compare between wards in the hospital and compare with other hospitals.

“At the end of the day, though, this is about measuring for improvement, not measuring for judgement or performance.

“It is about giving NHS organisations the tools to continuously strive to provide better experiences and services for patients.”

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

The Health and Safety Executive supports National Stress Awareness Day 2008

November 8, 2008


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is pleased to support National Stress Awareness Day with the launch of a new and improved stress management standards analysis tool and user manual. This year’s campaign is focused on taking positive action. One of the positive actions employers can take is to adopt HSE Management Standards for Work-related Stress.

HSE Chief Executive Geoffrey Podger said:

“We must make a conscious effort to deal with work-related stress as we lost over 13.5 million working days to stress last year.

“Pressure is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated, but excessive pressure can lead to stress which undermines performance, is costly to employers and can make people ill. The Stress Management Standards highlight the components of good organisation, job design and management that keep stress levels in check and enhance productivity.

“We are working towards improving the management standards process and enhancing the analysis tool is the first step to making this happen.”

In 2007/08 work related stress, depression and anxiety cost Great Britain in excess of £530 million.  The number of workers who reported new cases of work-related stress increased by 237,000. 

Many successful organisations use the HSE Management Standards. In this simple approach, employers work together with employees and their representatives to bring about a reduction in levels of work-related stress.

Following this year’s theme of ‘Don’t worry take action’ HSE are taking steps to make acting on potential problems easier. 

The Analysis Tool is one part of the Management Standards process and allows organisations to identify areas of potential stressors at work.  The main improvement to this version is the option to benchmark against either data drawn from organisations in both the private and public sector, or the current data from the Psychosocial Working Conditions (PWC) survey 2004. The revised Analysis Tool User Manual includes a full description of the two data sets.

A brand new HSE stress website will be launched in February 2009, which will include all the latest information about the Management Standards plus an extra tool for line managers.

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit