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Employee perceptions of the management of workplace stress. Nicholas Buys Griffith University Lynda Matthews University of Sydney Christine Randall Griffith University. Griffith Health. Impact of Workplace Stress.

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Employee perceptions of the management of workplace stress


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    1. Employee perceptions of the management of workplace stress Nicholas Buys Griffith University Lynda Matthews University of Sydney Christine Randall Griffith University Griffith Health

    2. Impact of Workplace Stress US: Cost $300 billion per year absenteeism, reduced productivity and turnover UK: Costs economy 10% of GDP Australia: Direct costs to employers of over $15 billion Griffith Health

    3. Level of Intervention Sources of workplace stress include: excessive work hours unreasonable performance demands health and safety risks lack of autonomy poor communication, role ambiguity job insecurity workplace conflict bullying and harassment Interventions therefore required at organisational level as well as with individual Griffith Health

    4. Workplace Stress and DM Considerable evidence to support a DM approach that addresses sources of workplace stress Minimal research into application of DM to the management of work-related stress Lack of research into employees’ perceptions of the extent to which their employers implement effective disability management Griffith Health

    5. Purpose of Study To explore how employees perceive their organizations’ efforts to address the management of stress in their workplaces To examine differences in the management of workplace stress based on organizational location and size To explore relationships between the incidence of stress, management of stress, and the number and likelihood of compensation claims Griffith Health

    6. Method Management of Workplace Stress Questionnaire Purpose: Ratings of how organization addresses prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of workplace stress Section 1: Demographic variables Location of organisation ie country Organisational type eg manufacturing, retail Organisational size ie number of employees Respondent’s role in the organisation Griffith Health

    7. Method Management of Workplace Stress Questionnaire Section 2: 30 statements and 3 open-ended questions Example items “My organization has a safety program to address workplace stress” “In my organization workplace accommodations are made to help workers with stress condition to RTW” Griffith Health

    8. Method Management of Workplace Stress Questionnaire Open-ended questions How does your organization informs employees about its workplace stress management policy? What areas of work in your organization have been identified as having risks? What services are provided by your organization to manage workplace stress? Griffith Health

    9. Demographics Roles Owner/manager (27%), Disability manager (17%) Academic/researcher (11%), Claims manager (6%) Human resource manager (3%), Other (36%) Griffith Health

    10. Demographics Region Europe (63%) North America (24%), Oceania (11%), Asia (1%) Africa (1%) Griffith Health

    11. Demographics Business Type Health and community services (23%) Government agency (21%) Finance, insurance, property (13%) Education (12%) Manufacturing (6%) Transport (4%) Retail trade (2%) Other (19%). Griffith Health

    12. Results Three sub-scales identified in Questionnaire : Prevention Rehabilitation Workplace Environment Scales had high level of internal consistency Griffith Health

    13. Results Respondents not overly positive about their organisations’ management of workplace stress Mean scores on individual survey items ranged from 3.06 to 4.85 (3 = Somewhat disagree, 4 = Somewhat agree, 5 = Agree) On 67% of items the mean response was less than 4 Griffith Health

    14. Results: Prevention sub-scale items Main areas of concern Stress prevention training Collection and analysis of data to inform prevention efforts Assessing risk relating to stress Provision of safety programs to address workplace stress One area perceived to be adequate Process to minimize physical risks in the workplace Griffith Health

    15. Results: Rehabilitation sub-scale items Rated more positively than prevention Provision of workplace accommodations Monitoring and follow up of workers Main area of concern Training of supervisors to assist workers with a stress injury to return to work Griffith Health

    16. Results: Workplace Environment sub-scale items Areas rated most positively Level of job satisfaction in the organization Level of trust between management and employees Griffith Health

    17. Results: Demographic variables No differences based on regional or organizational location Significant differences based on organizational size and workplace environment Smaller organizations (<100 employees) rated significantly higher than medium or large organizations on: Job satisfaction Levels of trust between management and employees Joint resolution on ways to manage stress Organizational commitment to deal with issues causing stress Griffith Health

    18. Results Higher levels of reported stress in organizations were associated with lower ratings of workplace environments Lower levels of compensation claims were associated with higher ratings of prevention & higher workplace environment ratings A higher likelihood of making a claim was negatively associated with higher ratings of the workplace environment Griffith Health

    19. Results: Qualitative data Communication of workplace stress management policy Email, intranet, on-line bulletins, Information sessions, induction training, staff training, staff meetings Operations manuals, posters, company newspapers, information brochures Personal contact, telephone helplines Health & safety policies 15/48 responses (31%) ⇒ no formal communication of policy Griffith Health

    20. Results: Qualitative data Areas of work identified as having risks Various occupational roles High workload, time pressure, production deadlines, Lack of resources, lack of supervision, lack of control, constant change, unrealistic performance expectations Exposure to physical risks Adversarial management style, conflict with colleagues Client expectations, aggressive clients Poor work-life balance, shift work, long hours Griffith Health

    21. Results: Qualitative data Services to help workers manage workplace stress Work arrangements Flexible working conditions Mandated working hours Provision of mentors Job sharing Workplace and job accommodations Opportunities to attend seminars & conferences Griffith Health

    22. Results: Qualitative data Services to help workers manage workplace stress Counselling, family support services, employee assistance programs Occupational health services Workplace health promotion, wellness information, relaxation programs On-line help services, and workplace stress analyses Gym facilities doctor consultations Support groups Manager training, personal coaching Griffith Health

    23. Conclusions Employees are under-whelmed by the efforts of their employers to address the management of workplace stress, particularly in the area of prevention Importance of a positive workplace culture A systems approach is required to address the range of individual, organizational and environmental issues that impact management of workplace stress Griffith Health

    24. Limitations & Further Research Nature and size of survey sample Validity of questionnaire not fully established Further research needed using larger populations to examine influence of number of independent variables Griffith Health