How to develop solutions
The development of interventions to address the causes of work related stress is the key output from the Management Standards approach. Interventions will be focused on closing the gap between the organisations current level of performance and that described by the Management Standards states to be achieved.
It is important that those who will be asked to implement an intervention are involved in its design (bottom up approach). The involvement of employees can be achieved by the use of focus groups or other fora as appropriate.
A key output from each focus group, or other discussion group, should be a preliminary action plan. In developing an action or intervention it is worthwhile considering a number of factors, as follows:
- Primary: these are focused at addressing issues at source, preventing the problem from continuing and having an adverse affect on employee health. These are the ideal type of intervention and are normally the most cost effective.
- Secondary: these focus on helping employees deal with the situation. However, they do not address the underlying cause of the problem.
- Tertiary: these interventions are aimed at improving the well-being of employees who have been made ill by their work and if absent, facilitate their return to work.
Level of the organisation
- Organisation (strategic): this is where the issue is having a detrimental impact on the performance of employees across the organisation.
- Team or group (macro): where an issue is affecting a number of different groups of employees. That is, the intervention is outside the control of a single group.
- Individual (micro): typically interventions at this level would focus on a local issue affecting a small number of individuals. These interventions can be important as they demonstrate that the organisation is listening to their concerns and is taking action to address them.
- Short: if an intervention can be designed to deliver a positive outcome in a short time period then this opportunity for a quick win should be taken.
- Medium: interventions that are expected to deliver their results in months rather than days or weeks. In this instance it is important to consider how employees will be kept informed of progress?
- Long: where an intervention will not deliver a positive outcome for a number of months or possibly years. Again, it is important to consider how employees will be kept informed of progress?
We have provided some suggestions for interventions for each of the Management Standards. They are not meant to offer pre-packaged 'off-the-shelf interventions but rather a resource to use to when considering your own interventions.