Now that the nightmare of year-end stress is done, it’s time to take a breath, relax, … and think about the effects of stress on your employees. The situational types of stress come up during crunch times (like, say, January) and make you want to tear your hair out, but the more subtle long-term chronic stress can cause some real damage, not just to your employees’ health, but to your company’s finances as well.
In last year’s Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, researchers Tom Rath and Dr. James K. Harter discovered that worker happiness and engagement can have a major financial impact. Among the least happy and least engaged employees, the annual per-person cost of lost productivity due to sick days is upward of $28,000, while the sick-day lost-productivity cost among the happiest and most engaged workers is only $840 a year.
If you’d like to save tens of thousands of dollars per year per employee by reducing stress, you can start by increasing two primary aspects of employee engagement: a sense of control over their work and careers, and a sense of appreciation and fun.
Increasing employees’ control over their work doesn’t mean handing the keys over completely. It means letting them know how their jobs fit into the company’s overall mission and giving them some say in how their work supports that mission. Having your employees co-create their goals with you and giving them encouragement and support in meeting those goals can increase engagement tremendously.
Similarly, allowing employees to have some control over how they approach their work tasks can help them make the most of their personal energy peaks during the day. Giving them some flexibility over where and when they work, where appropriate, can alleviate stresses caused by traffic and conflicting family schedules.
Workers also benefit from having development and education programs to help them learn and grow in their careers. And these programs don’t just benefit employees; as they learn more, they become more valuable assets to the company.
Cultivate a sense of appreciation and fun by recognizing your employees’ accomplishments and rewarding them through a combination of planned events and spontaneous rewards. You don’t have to schedule an awards banquet whenever a worker does a good job on a minor project, but a hand-written note and a gift card will help them feel valued (and invested in doing well on all future projects).
Of course, if your staffing software is causing stress, you might consider upgrading to COATSsql. If you’d like to learn how easy comprehensive, multi-office staffing software can be, contact us.
What benefits have you seen from introducing a stress-busting program into your workplace? Let us know in the comments!