What stresses your people more than anything else?
The answer is not only the cause of higher general stress, but it’s also the area where more employees ranked their stress as SEVERE.
In May, hireMAX participated in the launch of the Stress Quotient: TTI’s new survey of workplace stress. Our data showed an intriguing spike in one particular stressor. Read to the end to learn how we can help your company for free.
Yeah, I already knew that.
If you have been in any leadership role, the #1 source of severe employee stress won’t surprise you at all—it’s Organizational Change. But, you might not know the triggers that cause change-related stress to spike from moderate to severe.
Yes, it’s true that the business world is in constant flux—change is unavoidable. You’ve heard the term permanent whitewater as a description for the never-ending and chaotic nature of change in today’s organizations. You probably even recognize the benefits of change as signs of growth, vitality, and adaptability.
If change is inevitable, why worry about people getting stressed over it?
…because there’s a right way to do change and a whole lot of wrong ways. If your people are reporting severe levels of stress around change, you might be doing it wrong.
What triggers the spike?
The Stress Quotient survey breaks down three areas of change-related stress: Communication, Process, and Vision. While you may not be able to stop change from happening, you do have control over how you handle these three areas. Pay extra attention to these three triggers of severe stress:
- Communication Gaps: People react very strongly to unexpected, sudden, or unannounced change. If your people look shell-shocked after a meeting, it might be because you dropped a change-bomb. Counteract this trigger by telling people in advance that change is coming and giving them time to respond and adapt. Whenever possible, give them a chance to participate in decisions that will affect them.
- Process Goofs: Have you ever made a plan that looked brilliant to the management team but fell totally flat when you rolled it out? It seemed like a great process to you, but your people look at you like you just crawled out of the Flying Saucer from Mars. Your people may need help to understand how the process or plan makes sense and how it connects to your goals. Without that understanding, their stress is headed way up (and their engagement is going to plummet).
- Blurry Vision: This one surprised me. I expected employees to be more stressed when the company did not have a vision. But as we debriefed the survey participants, I learned that two other vision-related factors were creating severe stress. One is when the company had a great vision but was not implementing it—big stress spikes for that one! The other was when the vision itself was causing stress because it looked overwhelming—some employees felt like they were going to be crushed under the burden of achieving it.
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