Home | ARTS | Human Resources Management | Work-Related Stress and Management of Stress - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

Human Resources Management - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

Work-Related Stress and Management of Stress - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

   Posted On :  13.06.2018 11:03 pm

Stress is a particular relationship between the person and the environment, which is appraised by the person as positively challenging or negatively taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being.

Work-Related Stress and Management of Stress

Stress is a particular relationship between the person and the environment, which is appraised by the person as positively challenging or negatively taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being. Stress is described as a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, constraint or demand related to what he or she desires, for which the outcome is perceived simultaneously to be both uncertain and important. For example, employees might be stressed when performance review is taking place, during which a person is unsure of the nature of the ratings he or she would receive. At the same time, the person is fully aware that while a good review might lead to tremendous improvement in pay and positions, a mediocre or poor rating could lead to being removed from the job. Though the stress might be work-related, they might have been caused by personal factors, or job-related factors.

Different types of Stress affects people’s work lives. Not all stress would be termed as bad and therefore, the goal of stress management is not to entirely eliminate stress from people’s lives. Stress can have positive effects. Positive stress or Eustress can help people to respond quickly and with adequate force in times of emergencies such as avoiding an automobile collision, moving away from flying objects, fighting a fire etc. Positive stress is useful in speeding up the pace of work to meet deadlines. It helps one to push one’s limits to improve performance rapidly and to realize one’s fullest potential over a period of years in career.

Neu-stress is a type of stress that is neither helpful nor harmful to the persons who are stressed. Stress could be sometimes anticipatory in which arousal is stimulated by an expected stressor. This is often caused by inadequate preparation or pessimism. Current stress is arousal that takes place during an experience. Stress could also be residual at times, in which the arousal continues to remain even long after the stressful event has passed. Inability to overcome the trauma of an event is the cause of residual stress. Lack of support during and first aid immediately after stressors could be the causes of residual effects on people.

Symptoms of negative stress


Stress might manifest itself in a number of ways. The symptoms may be physiological, psychological and behavioral. For example, stress could create changes in metabolism, increase heart and breathing rates, increase blood pressure, bring on headache, tighten shoulders, stuttering in speech, creation of trembling all over the body, backache and arthritis, induce heart attacks or reduce appetite in a person. Alternatively, an employee who is experiencing a high level of stress may have psychological impact and as a result might become depressed, compulsive in action, irritable, confused, bored, accident-prone, startled, argumentative, distracted, procrastination-prone or indecisive. Behaviorally related symptoms of stress include changes in productivity, absence, turnover, increased smoking or consumption of alcohol, fidgeting and sleep disorders.

Stress contributes to illness at least in four ways:

1. By imposing long-term wear and tear on the body and mind, thereby reducing resistance to disease.

2. By directly precipitating an illness such as tension headache or heart attack.

3. By aggravating an existing illness such as increased arthritic pain or flare up of psoriasis.

4. By precipitating unhealthy or illness-generating coping habits like smoking, alcohol abuse, over-eating and sleep deprivation.

Concern over stress in Organizations


Stress has been taking the toll of a sizeable segment of valuable human resources in organizations every year. Health authorities estimate that stress plays a role in at least 50% of all forms of physical illness. A Gallup poll as early as 1994 reported that 71% of the respondents viewed their jobs as the most frequent cause of negative stress. Effects of stress include some of the most serious and life-threatening ailments known in the field of medicine. Therefore, organizations have begun concerted efforts to enable employees to effectively handle the inevitable stress.

Stress management programs are systematic efforts by organizations designed to help employees reduce harmful stress. These programs include extensive in-house as well as external training concentrating on techniques of busting stress like transcendental and other forms of meditation, deep breathing, self-relaxation, physical exercises, developing positive attitudes, anger management, time management and lifestyle modification. Some organizations rely on help from their comprehensive Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and counselors in meeting various psychosocial problems of their employees like drug and alcohol abuse, sickness and disability, indebtedness and family breakdowns.

People vary in their relation with stress. One style of relating is being stress-seekers who thrive on challenge, risk and sensation. Stress-avoiders thrive on security, familiarity and avoiding challenges and risk. Distress seekers thrive on misery, illness, crises and martyrdom. Distress avoidance is a style of thriving on health, contentment, involvement. Distress-provokers thrive intentionally or unintentionally on creating misery, disharmony, illness or upsetting others. Distress reducers tend to thrive on doing everything possible to promote growth in those whose lives they touch.

According to Schafer (2004), good managers of individual stress tend to practice the following habits in their lives:

1. Anticipate, monitor and regulate stressors as far as possible.

2. Become aware of and control their interpretation of stressors

3. Believe that they can influence events and their own reactions to those events.

4. Practice daily deep relaxation to balance positive and negative stress

5. Use mental and physical on-the-spot tension reducers to control arousal
 
6. Maintain positive health buffers such as daily exercise, good eating habits, adequate sleep and healthy pleasures to build stress resistance and prevent stress build-up

7. Recognize early warning signs of mental and physical distress.

8. Develop means of mobilizing and controlling stress in performance situations.

Tranquility and serenity are rare in human existence. However, some jobs like that of office managers, sales persons, drivers and security officers do expose the people who hold them to high levels of stress than others like the jobs of college professor, trainers or copy writers . Similarly some industries like telecommunications, financial services and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are rated to be the most stressful industries. Some individuals with aggressive, ambitious personality types are more prone to stress than other types who are patient, tolerant and calm.

In terms of organizational factors, any attempt to lower stress would have to begin with employee selection, during which care has to be taken to ensure that an employee’s abilities match the requirements of the job. Subsequently, improved organizational communications will keep ambiguity-induced stress to a minimum. Similarly a performance planning program such as Management by objectives will clarify job responsibilities, provide clear performance objectives and thus reduce anxiety. If stress can be traced directly to boredom or work overload, jobs should be redesigned to increase challenge or reduce the work load. Redesigns that increase opportunities for employees to participate in decisions and to gain social support have also been found to lessen the burdens arising out of stress.

Stages of Reaction to Stressors


Stages of coping refer to primary appraisal and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal involves the determination, based on one’s knowledge of the stressor, whether we are potentially threatened or are in jeopardy. Assessment of resources for dealing with the stressors is called secondary appraisal. Hans Selye is considered the father of Stress Management Studies. He specified the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) to depict the stages undergone by people facing stressful situations. GAS comprises of three phases, the first being alarm, a state of heightened alertness and bodily arousal, followed by Resistance, a stage of putting up with and opposing the stress-causing force. The third phase would be one of exhaustion, when the person begins to give up the struggle against the stressor and submits meekly to the reality.
 
Major sources of organizational stress include confusing directions and conflicting demands from two or more people. The other sources are too much work or too little work, career insecurity and lack of opportunities, irritating habits of co-workers, conflict of work with responsibilities of personal lives, impersonal and dehumanizing effect of use of high technology, extreme conflicts and so on. Stress in modern organizations occurs due to the demands of meeting targets and deadlines at work. For many employees, change creates stress. A dynamic environment characterized by takeovers, mergers, restructurings, forced retirements and mass retrenchments has created a large number of employees who are stressed out.
 
For example, General Electric, under the leadership and guidance of its CEO Jack Welch introduced the formula called 20:70:10 wherein the whole workforce was divided into three categories namely the top 20% of best performers, the middle 70% of average performers and the bottom 10% of poor performers. While the first two groups were rewarded in two different ways, people in the third group were earmarked for summary dismissal. As a consequence, employees wanting to save their jobs at each year were supposed to have performed not only better than last years and better than the targets, but also better than at least 10% of the people. Since the process of eliminating continued every year, the performance standards kept rising each year for all the employees. This resulted in a highly stressful working situation for employees of the organization, quite a few among them succumbed to stress related disorders.
 
Quelling negative stress and maintaining functional stress, involves eliminating or modifying the sources of stress, developing optimism and hope, taking good care of one’s body, using relaxation techniques, talking out of one’s problems with others, rewarding oneself for a job done well and leading a complete, satisfying personal and social life. Job stress stems from any situation in the workplace which a person perceives to be fearful. Office politics is a fear-producing factor to many employees. To defend oneself against highly stress producing, devious and unethical office politics, an employee must take steps like documenting one’s side of the story, confronting the devious persons and maintaining a consistent record of high levels of integrity and good performance outcomes. Employers must provide support and nurturing and also strive to create an environment that is planned, efficient and orderly. Communication to employees should be timely, accurate and appropriate.
 
Stress could be sometimes anticipatory in which an arousal is stimulated by an expected stressor. This is often caused by inadequate preparation or pessimistic feelings by the victims of stress. Current stress is arousal that takes place during an experience. Stress could also be residual at times, in which the arousal continues to remain even long after the stressful event has passed. Inability to overcome the trauma of an event is the cause of residual stress. Lack of support during and first aid immediately after stressors could be the causes of residual effects on people. Stress could be reactive to specific situations or endogenous or in born in certain people who are more vulnerable to stressors.

Handling persons with high levels of stress is a challenge for every Human Resource professional. Over the years, management practitioners have evolved the following formula for handling persons with stress:

1. Being attentive and use effective listening as a step towards building rapport with the person who expresses symptoms of stress.

2. Allow the affected person time to ventilate his or her feelings freely.

3. Acknowledge even small degree of truth in what the person is saying.

4. Demonstrate your understanding and empathy towards the victims.

5. Encourage their participation in caring, supportive relationships

6. Help the people to interpret difficulty and change as a positive challenge or opportunity rather than a life-threatening tragedy.
 
7. Build confidence in their abilities to master difficulties and challenges that might come along.

8. Strengthen their beliefs in universal and everlasting values and ideals.

9. Re-create their perception of being in control by making them realize their ability to influence the events around them and / or their reactions to them.

10. Enable them to respond constructively and objectively to their life’s events.

11. Help persons with stress to generate innovative and situation-specific solutions to difficulties and dilemmas.

Rational thinking, realistic self-talk, re-examining assumptions and beliefs being held for a long time, praying, solitude and contemplation, being in nature, reading and writing, hypnosis, bio feedback and auto suggestion, music, yoga, hydrotherapy, massage and humor are some of the need-based stress management strategies advocated by organizers of workplace wellness programs all over the world, to recuperate employees from their anxiety producing work situations. Engaging in voluntary, intrinsically satisfying and socially sanctioned leisure experiences and recreational activities during one’s free time is found to be a sound antidote to stress, as it rejuvenates a person and compensates for the energies lost at work. Whatever be the nature of the programs conducted to help people against stress, they are aimed at goals like low illness risk, maximizing energy for daily living, enjoyment of daily lives, continuous development of one’s abilities and commitment and responsibility towards the common good.
Tags : Human Resources Management - Employees’ Morale And Motivation
Last 30 days 84 views

OTHER SUGEST TOPIC