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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 113

Date:- 23 August 2003

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Firms are 'poor' at dealing with staff stress, says HR

THE majority of HR professionals across the UK feel that their own organisation is 'poor' when it comes to dealing with staff stress, more than the combined number feeling it is either 'excellent', 'good' or 'average', suggests a new poll.

Following on the heels of the first NHS Trust in the UK being served an improvement notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for excessive stress levels, the HR Gateway poll of 274 site visitors shows that HR is also unimpressed by the way UK employers deal with staff stress.

Nearly six in ten (58%) respondents said their own organisation was 'poor' at dealing with staff stress, while 16% answered 'average', 15% 'good' and offering sufficient numbers for optimism, 11% defined their organisation as 'excellent'.

Of the 40.2 million days lost to UK business in the 2001-2002 period, a huge 13.4 million were lost to stress, anxiety or depression, according to the HSE, with around 563,000 people being affected by stress.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said today that the figures were hardly surprising given the intensity of work placed on employees. Even special management techniques cannot help in this situation, it said:- "Bad organisation of work and the intensity of work appears to be teaching HR a sharp lesson in the limits of special management techniques. The basic cure is more autonomy and better workloads," the TUC told HR Gateway.

Mike Emmott of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) told HR Gateway that the results showed that effective measures to deal with stress were still beyond good practice in many organisations:- "Stress is still not a hot issue for many firms and dealing with it is not part of the standard line manager's kit. Translating policies into practice is not easy. The results are disappointing but sadly to be expected.

However, the fact that 11% said their firm was excellent and 15% good, is grounds for optimism. This is over a quarter and so it shows that there are good employers out there taking stress seriously,"
he said.

Vanessa Stebbings of HR Gateway Consulting argues that by investing in well-being programmers employers can not only measure the impact of stress on an organisation but it can also see the benefits of helping staff remain healthy:- "With ROI firmly on the agenda of most employers today, forward thinking companies are increasingly recognising the correlation between a healthy workforce and optimum performance in the workplace. Increasingly, well-being programmers for executives and employees will become a core part of today's package

The benefits of such programmers are not only being measured through the reduction of workplace stress and absenteeism, but also have a correlation with the perception of the company as an employer of choice when it comes to securing new talent.

However, it would seem on the whole, we still have a long way to go. Although figures emerging through the current survey taking place online at HR Gateway show 100% of HR respondents agreeing a wellness programme would actively reduce stress and absenteeism, only five per cent have such a
programmers in place for executive members of staff,"
she said.

Report with thanks to Copyright HR Gateway Ltd

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Willow Grove is Now Open...!

ON Sunday 17 August the new Southport's Lloyds No. 1 Bar opened its doors to customers, offering two floors and two restarts with bars. The bar manager said, "Every think has gone well and we are glad to be open. All the staff are looking forward to getting down to pulling pints and serving customers." Visiting the bar that day were members of the construction team who said, "It is a fantastic place and we are so pleased to see it open." One Mark Fitton from Liverpool said, "This pub has fantastic looks and I will be back. It is one of the best bars in Southport." We will let the photos tell the rest.

Please email us your comments on this bar and the other bars on Merseyside.

Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.