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Home > News > March 2007 > 22 March 2007

CIPD guides aim to help combat work related stress

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published three new guides designed to help organisations combat work related stress.

The guides, aimed at line managers and HR professionals, were launched yesterday at the CIPD's Stress and the Role of Line Managers Conference in London .

According to the CIPD, employers must train line managers to take a hands-on approach to improving the well-being of the workforce, which will help alleviate stress and reduce absenteeism.

Ben Willmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, said: "Workplace stress is the most common cause of long-term absence and also damages employee morale and productivity and leads to high staff turnover. Employers that fail to manage stress are also vulnerable to litigation and potentially high compensation payouts.

"Good people management can help to prevent most of the problems causing stress at work, such as lack of control over workload. If managers set clear goals, communicate with clarity, consult, provide feedback and recognition and develop and coach their teams, stress is much less likely to become a problem.

"Managers also need to be able to recognise when the people they manage are working under excessive pressure so they can intervene before individuals suffer from stress-related ill health. It is important for employees to have confidence in their managers so that they can admit to difficulties without fear of appearing weak or incompetent."

The CIPD says the guidance, published in association with the Health and Safety Executive, draws on 19 key management behaviours that play a vital role in preventing, identifying, and tackling stress effectively.

The behaviours have been used to create a framework that aims to enable line managers to work on the skills required to reduce and prevent stress at work. The behaviours include:

* Managing workload and resources: this requires managers to monitor team workload and refuse to take on additional work when the team is under pressure.

* Empowerment: this requires managers to trust employees to do their work and to give employees responsibility.

* Accessible and visible: this requires managers to make time to talk to employees and avoid being constantly at meetings.

* Expressing and managing own emotions: this requires managers to have a positive approach and avoid acting aggressively or losing their temper with employees.

* Communication: this requires managers to communicate clear goals and objectives and avoid holding meetings behind closed doors.

The CIPD says the guides will be free to download from from 22 March 2007.

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