Organisational Stress Services
Organisational stress is one of the most common problems associated with occupational health and yet it is also one the most misunderstood problems that has led to costly losses both at personal and organisational levels, especially with the increase in successful litigation cases regarding occupational stress. Quite often companies will look for 'quick fix' solutions in terms managing the risk of stress with little or no benefit resulting from their investment. In order to effectively manage the risk of stress an organisation needs to take a more holistic approach, which examines:
i) Prevention
ii) Management
iii) Treatment

The Four Steps to Organizational Stress Management
In order to effectively deal with organisational stress it is essential to consider the causes of stress, not just the effects. This involves three stages:
. Prevention Stress Policy and Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment
. Management Stress Awareness and Stress Management Training
. Treatment Counselling/EAPs

The Three Stages of Stress Management

There are essentially four key steps every employer should take:
. Have a stress policy
. Carry out a stress audit/risk assessment
. Provide stress awareness and stress management training
. Provide external confidential support

Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment involves:
. Using existing information to identify "hotspots". This means looking at existing information e.g. labour turnover, sickness absence figures, timekeeping, complaints
. Either using the HSE stress audit tool or a tailor made questionnaire
. Validating the findings with interviews and/or focus groups

Ryder Marsh can help organizations at all levels including:
. Formulating a Stress Policy
. Conducting a Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment
. Providing Stress Awareness and Stress Management Training
. Helping to select an appropriate form of external confidential support and auditing existing support services.

Ryder Marsh offers an extensive range of organisational stress management services including:
1. Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment
2. Employee Assistance Programme Consultancy
3. Independent audit of EAPs and Workplace Counselling Programmes
4. Evaluation of EAPs and Workplace Counselling Programmes

1. STRESS AUDIT/STRESS RISK ASSESSMENT
By conducting a thorough, professional and totally independent stress audit, Ryder Marsh can identify whether stress is a problem and if so what can be done to reduce it.

In the workplace as a whole approximately 60% of employees suffer from work-related stress at some time. All businesses are now facing increased levels of competition and placing higher expectations and demands on employees. Therefore any hazard which can seriously affect performance needs to be identified and eradicated. In addition recent stress litigation successes have further highlighted the need for employers to be aware of the effects of stress and to take steps to minimise its occurrence. Health and Safety legislation demands that companies identify the type and scope of psychological hazards in the workplace.

A Ryder Marsh stress audit will identify the sources of stress within your organisation and highlight particular departments with specific problems, in addition to considering appropriate interventions to tackle the stress. A uniquely developed stress audit questionnaire will be tailored specifically to your organisation's needs. Focus groups with a sample of employees can also be conducted. You will receive a full written report and presentation, including recommendations regarding appropriate interventions to help address the issues raised.

2. EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME CONSULTANCY
With a wealth of knowledge in the area of work stress and workplace counselling, Ryder Marsh is in the unique position to offer you truly independent information and advice regarding the selection of an EAP or workplace counselling service.

The key to success lies in selecting the most appropriate service for your company, particularly given that employers who fail to provide appropriate support may be vulnerable to litigation in the future.

Ryder Marsh can help you to:
. Clarify your reasons for wanting a counselling service
. Decide whether internal or external provision is most appropriate
. Provide you with a comprehensive list of EAP and workplace counselling service providers
. Formulate a tender document of your specific requirements
. Interview prospective providers
. Make the right choice of provider by equipping you with all the information you need to make an informed decision
. Draw up a suitable contract when the service is introduced
. Set up a comprehensive, professional, in-house counselling service if this is appropriate

3. INDEPENDENT AUDIT OF EAPs AND WORKPLACE COUNSELLING PROGRAMMES
For a fraction of the annual cost of your EAP Ryder Marsh can conduct a thorough, professional and totally independent audit of your EAP or counselling service, which will tell you whether or not you are getting a quality service which represents value for money.

Investing in an EAP or workplace counselling service is one way in which an organisation can demonstrate a caring attitude towards managing people and thereby help to ensure a more profitable business. However, the key to success lies not only in selecting the most appropriate service for your organisation, but in constantly auditing and monitoring it and when necessary making changes.

Given the significant growth of EAPs in the UK, there is a need to ensure that your provider is delivering a quality service, which meets the needs of both your employees and your organisation. This is even more imperative because you are responsible for ensuring that, as far as is reasonably possible, any intervention you provide directly or indirectly for your employees is appropriate, effective and delivered competently. Does your EAP meet these criteria? If not, then you may be vulnerable to litigation if the service falls short of standards which are recognised as reasonable.

Audit is concerned with quality and efficiency and a comprehensive audit assesses:
. Whether your EAP is best designed to meet your unique requirements
. Access and availability to the contact line
. Access to emergency support
. Efficiency and speed of referral to the appropriate level of counselling
. The number of sessions used
. The qualifications, training and experience of counsellors
. The nature and extent of clinical controls

There will be no disruption to your organisation and you will receive a full written report, including recommendations for changes to the service. In addition, a presentation of the findings will be given.

4. EVALUATION OF EAPs AND WORKPLACE COUNSELLING PROGRAMMES
One of the key factors in determining whether an organization has met it's duty of care in relation to stress is whether the organization has provided employee assistance either by an in house service or external employee assistance program. Regardless of the service provided, these represent an investment that due to the nature and confidentiality of their work is hard to evaluate the value of.

Evaluation of your EAP or workplace counselling programme is therefore difficult and fraught with ethical problems, however done correctly evaluation and assessment of these services is possible and can lead to improvement and cost savings. Evaluations of these services can take the form of customer feedback and/or outcome evaluation.

Customer feedback is concerned with what your employees feel about the EAP once they have used it. We can collect customer feedback independently and confidentially. A customer feedback sheet will be designed specifically for use with your EAP and you will receive regular reports on the findings.

Outcome evaluation is much more scientific and is always designed specifically for your needs. Measures of relevance to your organisation are used and can include, job satisfaction, absence, productivity, performance, perceived sources of pressure at work and mental health. At the end of the evaluation process a full report and presentation would detail exactly what effects your service is, or is not, having.

The Four Steps to Organizational Stress Management
In order to effectively deal with organisational stress it is essential to consider the causes of stress, not just the effects.

This involves three stages:
. Prevention Stress Policy and Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment
. Management Stress Awareness and Stress Management Training
. Treatment Counselling/EAPs

There are essentially four key steps every employer should take:
. Have a stress policy
. Carry out a stress audit/risk assessment
. Provide stress awareness and stress management training
. Provide external confidential support

Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment involves:
. Using existing information to identify "hotspots". This means looking at existing information e.g. labour turnover, sickness absence figures, timekeeping, complaints
. Either using the HSE stress audit tool or a tailor made questionnaire
. Validating the findings with interviews and/or focus groups

Ryder Marsh can help organizations at all levels including:
. Formulating a Stress Policy
. Conducting a Stress Audit/Stress Risk Assessment
. Providing Stress Awareness and Stress Management Training
. Helping to select an appropriate form of external confidential support and auditing existing support services.

Managing Work-Related Stress -
A One-Day Workshop for Managers
Aim:
The aim of this course is to enable managers to effectively manage stress in the workplace and to meet their legal and HSE responsibilities with regard to assessing and managing stress risks at work.

Objectives:
By the end of the course delegates will be able to:
. Demonstrate an understanding of a Manager's responsibilities, within the law, to manage stress.
. Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant Council policies relating to a Manager's responsibilities to manage stress.
. Demonstrate an understanding of what stress is and the difference between pressure and stress.
. Recognise the factors, both external and internal, that could trigger stress at work e.g. conflict, change, bullying, unclear goals, personal problems.
. Recognise stress and what the early warning signs are
. Undertake stress risk assessments
. Take effective remedial action to reduce employee stress
. Develop personal strategies for dealing with their own stress