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Before you start – Prepare the organisation

As part of this process you need to consider:

Management Standards
  1. Identify the risk factors

    Step 1 - Identify the stress risk factors: understand the Management Standards.
  2. Who can be harmed and how

    Step 2 - Decide who might be harmed and how: gather data.
  3. Evaluate the risks

    Step 3 - Evaluate the risks: explore problems and develop solutions.
  4. Record your findings

    Step 4 - Record your findings: develop and implement action plans.
  5. Monitor and review

    Step 5 - Monitor and review: monitor and review action plans and assess effectiveness.

The first stage in dealing with any problem is to accept that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. This is an important aspect of gaining the commitment of people at all levels within the organisation to work together to resolve the problem of work related stress using the Management Standards approach. Data indicates that the performance of individual employees and the organisation as a whole can be improved by effective management of the main risk factors for work related stress.

"We knew we had a problem but we had stress on the too hard pile."
Senior Manager, Probation Service

Read more about preparing the organisation

Work to ‘prepare the organisation’ forms a key element of the Management Standards risk assessment approach. Before beginning the next stage, you should


  • secure senior management commitment;
  • secure commitment from employees and their representatives;
  • set up a steering group;
  • develop a project plan;
  • secure adequate resources – in particular, staff time;
  • develop a communications/employee engagement strategy;
  • if appropriate, develop an organisational stress policy; and
  • record what you have done.

If your organisation is following its own approach to risk assessment for work related stress, you may still find it useful to review your coverage of all the above issues as part of your preparation before beginning your risk assessment.

You are now ready to begin your risk assessment for work related stress. Find out more information about Step 1: Identify the risk factors.

Updated 2012-12-04