Part 4: Employers' Responsibilities

Company Directors, Owners and Managers:

In order to manage stress in the workplace, all those in these positions must:

  • Make sure that the company has a Health & Safety policy and manual that addresses the issue of stress in the workplace
  • Keep abreast of any factors that might indicate that there is a problem with stress-related illness in the workplace. For example, are there high rates of absenteeism, staff turnover, poor performance or disciplinary issues?
  • Make certain that regular risk assessments are taking place and that these are checked and updated regularly and that recommendations are followed through and adequately funded
  • Plan for stress-related risks when embarking on significant changes to or within the organisation
  • Senior managers should recognise the problem and commit themselves to controlling stress at all levels
  • Organise company wide training in awareness for managers and all employees
  • Ensure that there is sufficient support for staff in dealing with individual problems and difficult work situations
  • Recognise the value of rewards for difficult and stressful work; sometimes just a "thank you" can make all the difference
  • Listen to your people

Human Resources and Health and Safety managers:

Your HR and Health & Safety Managers also have an important role in assisting employers to proactively address work related stress. These managers should:

  • Ensure that they are up to date with best practice relating to work related stress
  • Make sure that any issues or concerns about risks to health as a result of stress at work are fed back to board members
  • Regularly conduct and review risk assessments
  • Be aware that specific issues may indicate that work related stress is increasing i.e. absence, disciplinary situations and high staff turnover
  • Understand that certain decisions may increase the prevalence of work related stress i.e. organisational change and restructuring
  • Provide information to all employees about stress-related illnesses and their obligations to inform managers about risks at work

Line Managers:

All of your organisation's line managers have an important role in assisting you, the employer, to proactively address work related stress and therefore, reduce the likelihood of employees suffering from work related stress.

Line managers have a responsibility to;

  • Determine whether various recurring issues, such as sickness, absenteeism or high staff turnover is being caused by stress
  • Understand how they will monitor and address potential sources of stress if they believe it exists
  • Know who to take their concerns regarding stress at work to i.e. more senior line managers
  • Report their concerns to appropriate senior personnel while maintaining any obligations to employees for confidentiality
  • Manage their own health and well-being - often managers forget to look after themselves while thinking of others

Part 5: Your Employees' Responsibilities