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Managing Employee Stress


Reduced Full-Time Staffing, Increased Responsibilities a Challenge for Employers.

While leading economists expect the economy and job market to steadily improve throughout 2011, many employers and their employees are struggling to stay afloat under the weight of increasingly heavier workloads and high stress loads.

Express Employment Professionals, one of the world's largest staffing firms with more than 550 locations in four countries, recently surveyed 9,340 current and former clients on stress levels at work. Results revealed that 36 percent of workers feel “very high” or “overwhelming” stress at work, and 49 percent say their current work stress has increased since last year. Additionally, 68 percent of workers state their current workloads have increased.

“I can't say we're surprised by the results," said Robert A. Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals. "Coming out of the recession, employers are hesitant to hire full-time workers due to uncertainty of new banking, tax and health care regulations. As a result, staff members are working double-time in an attempt to keep up. But they are also in danger of burn out in a time when their employers need them most.”

Small Business Stressed
The survey also found that employees of small businesses (1-50 employees) are feeling the greatest level of stress, compared to medium (51-499 employees) and large businesses (500 or more employees).

Despite the struggling job market and overstressed workforce, however, Express remains optimistic about the coming year. According to a national hiring trends study conducted by the company, which surveyed 15,070 respondents, 29 percent plan to hire for commercial positions, 19 percent plan to add administrative jobs and 12 percent have plans to hire for engineering positions.

Overall, Express franchise owners are reporting a 47 percent surge in hiring in 2010, and the company has found jobs for 290,000 people since January. Companies using staffing firms for recruiting and filling current and former clients, commercial, administrative and engineering positions will likely see increases in the first quarter of 2011. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of workers placed by temporary staffing agencies overall has risen, with 404,000 jobs added since September 2009.

“Companies across the country continue to rely on staffing firms to recruit and fill positions in a variety of professional, commercial and administrative jobs,” Funk said. “Though we're still seeing hesitancy from employers when it comes to hiring full-time staff, it is without question that companies have work that needs to be done. Many are turning to a flexible staff to meet their needs and ease the stress on existing workers.” E

This article courtesy of Express Employment Professionals, www.expresspros.com.

Recommendations For Reducing Stress-Related Costs
Employee stress costs corporate America an estimated $150 billion annually. Research shows that stress compromises a person's intellectual, emotional and interpersonal functioning. Literally every aspect of worker performance is hindered by stress. Organizational Development, Occupational Health, Employee Assistance, and Human Resources professionals can provide tremendous value to their organization by helping them effectively address this problem. Following are 12 recommendations:


1. Educate decision makers about the price they and their workers pay.
2. Give workers as much control over their jobs and work life as possible.
3. Help management deal with their need for control.
4. Help the organization develop clear, open communication; especially during times of significant change.
5. Help management learn how to deal with discussing difficult subjects.
6. Help management develop clear connections between cause and effect.
7. Encourage the organization to invest in employee self-efficacy.
8. Encourage the organization to invest in employee resiliency training.
9. Help workers expand their employment options.
10. Teach interpersonal skills to both management and front line workers.
11. Develop an employee support system to deal with workplace conflict.
12. Encourage the organization to invest in change management training for all employees, since the rapid rate of change is rated as the top stressor for people.

Source: David Lee, consultant, author, trainer, www.humannatureatwork.com.