If you’re concerned with employee retention at your company, minimizing stress levels amongst your team should be a top priority. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, when employees are stressed, their critical and creative thinking is diminished, and the odds of them leaving their jobs are almost tripled.
Because stress shows up in different ways for different people, it can be difficult to globally define it and pinpoint its triggers. A survey conducted by the American Institute of Stress suggests that, most often, stress is brought on by heavy workloads, lack of managerial support, and poor work-life balance. While employee wellness programs are often touted as effective remedies, research has found the effect of such programs to be largely insignificant.
Rather than implementing this type of “self-help” approach to mitigating stress, you will have more success using top-down strategies that start at the leadership level and trickle down to all levels of supporting staff. First, clearly outline your expectations of your employees. If they don’t know what’s expected of them, they are more likely to feel threatened; consequently, “stress mode” will kick in. Over time, prolonged stress will lead to burnout and absenteeism amongst your employees.
Whenever possible, go one step further and not only explain to your employees what you expect, but why you expect it. Being transparent about why their roles matter in relation to the company’s mission will engage your employees and add meaning and purpose to their work. Other ways to empower your staff include offering flexible schedules, so they can work when they feel most productive and focused; promoting autonomy, so they can decide how best to manage projects; and meeting often with employees one-on-one to discuss their strengths, interests, and growth areas to determine whether their roles are a good fit.
Lastly, offer praise and recognition when employees perform well. This is a great way to not only demonstrate your support, but also to promote a collaborative environment and create a greater sense of belonging, purpose, and teamwork amongst your staff.
You can read the Harvard Business Review article here.