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Stress / Resilience

Why Employers Care

The prevalence of high stress in employee populations has increased dramatically over the last decade. According to the National Business Group on Health/Towers Watson 2013/2014 Staying@Work™ Survey, composed of 199 HR/health benefit managers, 78% of employers identify stress as the top risk factor for their workforce.

High stress levels can contribute to serious health issues, increase health care costs and affect employees' productivity and performance. Increased stress can also have a negative impact on employee retention and satisfaction, with high-performing employees most frequently citing job stress as the key reason for leaving an organization.

What Can Employers Do?

As the research documenting the prevalence and impact of employee stress grows, more employers are taking action to address this health risk. According to the 2013/2014 Staying@Work™ Survey, 85% of companies took steps to help employees manage stress in 2013.

These activities range from stress management programs such as EAPs, education and awareness campaigns, manager or employee training, and resilience or mindfulness training to opportunities for meditation, yoga, or massage. Employers are also offering policies and resources to help employees manage family and financial issues, including flexible work policies, child care and financial education.

Employers should consider the following when designing a program to address stress within their workplace:

  1. Evaluate the prevalence and causes of stress within their population.

  2. Consider whether a direct or indirect approach to stress management is appropriate for the culture. Employers who are unable to address the issue of stress directly can incorporate concepts of stress management into other wellness initiatives or a larger wellness strategy. However due to its prevalence, a dedicated focus on stress may be necessary.

  3. Implement strategies that help eliminate the causes of stress, such as flexible workplace policies or job skills development programs, as well as strategies to help individuals cope with stress.

Page last updated: August 14, 2015

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