Step 5: Monitor and review
Step 5 of HSE's Management Standards approach is about reviewing the actions you take to tackle any identified causes of work-related stress:
- Monitor: review your action plan to ensure the agreed actions are being implemented
- Evaluate: check if the solutions you have implemented are effective
- Decide what further action or data gathering is needed. If the solutions are not working, what else can you do? If the solutions are working, can they be rolled out across other parts of the organisation?
Monitor and record progress against your action plan
You should periodically check that agreed actions are happening, for example meetings or particular activities are taking place. Make a record of this progress against your action plan.
Evaluate the effectiveness of solutions
The timescale for your evaluation will depend on the solutions you have developed. How long actions take to deliver their expected 'measurable' outcomes can vary greatly.
The timing of your reviews will depend on how long it will take to implement each action and how long the focus group and the steering group expect it will take to have any impact. If it becomes obvious that the solutions implemented are not working, don't wait for the next scheduled review but take action as soon as possible.
Methods of gathering information and data
Which methods of information and data gathering you use to evaluate the effectiveness of your solutions will also depend on the kind of solutions you have developed.
You should ask your employees whether they feel the solutions have improved the situation or not.
You may find it useful to use a mixture of approaches to consult staff, for example:
- set up meetings to review progress on major actions
- have regular sessions with your staff to talk about sources of work-related pressure, for example, as part of team meetings
- check with unions or staff representatives
- make use of informal contacts with staff to ask about the effectiveness of solutions
Another way to demonstrate the effectiveness of your plan is to collect data on, for example employee turnover, sickness absence and productivity, and see whether things have changed from when you gathered this data at the start of the approach. Don't expect an immediate change, some solutions you put in place may have quick results, others may take time to bed in and have an effect on things like productivity or accident rates.
If you carried out a survey as part of the approach you may want to repeat it. The Management Standards approach suggests that you do this after a period of time, as part of the 'continuous improvement' model. You may wish to set this up as an annual survey or as part of an annual survey.
Remember – this isn't the end of the approach, you need to build on the results: things seldom stay the same and changes within the workplace may result in further issues. So even if you have significantly improved your stress management and reduced the impact of work-related stress, you still need to review it and reassess the risk to ensure it doesn't recur.
What to do next gives advice on reviewing your organisation's policies and procedures in the light of the findings from your risk assessment.