Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stress and Burnout

While not all levels of employee stress are detrimental, and a moderate level of stress can sometimes increase the performance of employees, high levels of stress can be harmful to the functioning of employees and their surroundings.

Irritability, nervousness, and a host of both mental and physical health problems can be a result of over-stressing employees; all detrimental to both the on-job performance and the personal lives of employees.

With studies reporting as high as 60% of employees possessing high levels of stress, the root causes of occupational stressors are understandably common. High demands combined with little decision-making ability, poor supervision, inadequate means for feedback and opinion, instable workplace and lack of quality performance feedback can all contribute to the perfect storm of stress. At the heart of the storm lies the end result of prolonged, un-managed stress; Burnout. The mental, emotional, and even physical exhaustion that can occur in any employee, Burnout is best approached with a proactive role to prevent it before it occurs.

The following steps can be taken to reduce dysfunctional stress in the workplace:

1. Establish effective two way communication channels – a proper mix of personal and impersonal (as some employees may not feel comfortable addressing concerns face-to-face) and frequent communication can assist in relieving workplace stressors before they become insurmountable.
2. Assist Employees in Time Management – guidance and clear deadline and goal setting practices can alleviate performance anxiety, which brings us to the next point:
3. Clear Performance Expectations – with clear expectations, the work environment looses the instability and ‘unsure feeling’ that is a notorious employee stressor.

As previously stated, employee stress is best managed with a proactive approach.
What have you found working as an effective stress management technique? Leave a comment below and share your story.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tailor Made Orientation

Orientation programs are designed to familiarize new employees with their roles, the organization and policies, as well as other employees. The benefits of a properly implemented orientation program are extensive, including:

• Reduce employee turnover
• Establish clear job and organizational expectations
• Reduce errors and save time
• Improve job performance
• Attain acceptable job performance levels faster
• Reduce employee anxiety
• Increase organizational stability, and
• Reduce instances of corrective discipline
The startup costs of new employees, including the reduced rate of efficiency and the need of supervising are very significant, strengthening the requirement for a proper orientation program.

However, an off-the-rack Orientation Program may not suffice. The difference between keeping newly acquired talent or loosing valuable fresh employees can be assured through a properly implemented Orientation Program that is fitted to the organization and its distinct features.

Efficiently introducing new employees to the unique culture of the organization and avoiding the many pitfalls of failed orientation (including overwhelming, underwhelming, and an overload of forms) are some of the benefits of a customized Orientation Program, leading to successful hiring and lowering of early turnover costs.

Like a well-tailored suit, Orientation Program quality is found in both the material and the fit.