Absenteeism, accidents, employee turnover, diminished productivity, direct medical, legal, and insurance costs, workers' compensation awards, are attributed to stress and fatigue, and without doubt it is also a contributor to the 100 deaths annually in the New Zealand workplace.
Absenteeism alone is costing New Zealand businesses nearly $1 billion a year according to research conducted by Conversa Global. Unfortunately any attempt to estimate an accurate dollar cost of chronic stress for a business, by me or in fact anyone, would be gross guesswork and speculation.
WHAT TO DO?
Stress is real and it is impacting on your bottom line even if it can’t be quantified in dollar terms, so ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not an option. So what to do? Simply put, you need to ensure you have a ‘healthy culture’ in your organisation.
If you are thinking having a healthy culture is just corporate ‘gobbledy gook’, think again because the key characteristics of a healthy, low stress culture are;
staff satisfied with their jobs,
high moral, and
the gap between organisational potential and performance is measured and continually diminishes
CREATING HEALTHY CULTURES
Creating a healthy culture in the workplace is probably easier said than done but this is where we step in and support businesses to focus on developing constructive working relationships where goal and priority conflicts are resolved, opinions are voiced and aligned to strategy and action, everyone’s opinions are genuinely valued and feedback is two way.
Practically this means workers will trust and understand management, and management will respect and motivate workers. Management will understand that the people doing the work are the ones that know how the work should be done. Workers will feel empowered to tell their managers, at any level, when there is a serious issue, without the fear their input will be dismissed or worse still lose their jobs.
For example workers would feel comfortable telling managers when they are not following procedures such as wearing the correct protective equipment or what factors such as long hours, poor roster design or heavy workloads are stressors.
Open two way communication will give management the insights into what is working and what is not and these insights will be essential in delivering sustainable solutions for the business. Noting any sustainable solution means the workplace is free of harmful stress.
The key principles to building great workplaces, with just the right amount of challenges and zero stress is best described by the model below;
We understand that at times it will feel difficult, as a leader, to focus on creating healthy, stress free workplace cultures however we can guarantee it is well worth the effort because we have seen, over and over again, the greatest sustainable value is achieved when building constructive relationships is on everyone’s agenda, from management to frontline employees.