Stress Talking Toolkits

These toolkits are designed to help managers talk with workers as part of their overall approach to preventing and managing work-related stress.

The toolkits should not be used in isolation as your only measure for preventing stress. They help start conversations to identify causes of stress for your workers and identify possible solutions, but you should still manage any identified risks.

They were developed for smaller organisations so they can gather data that larger organisations may gather through surveys. The conversations also can replace the ‘focus group’ element of the Management Standards approach. They can also be used in larger organisations by:

  • managers or team leaders as part of their management role:
    • in performance reviews, sickness absence management or return to work interviews, or one-to-one meetings
    • to develop ‘reasonable adjustments’ to get colleagues back to work
    • in resource and demand planning
  • senior managers:
    • during change management projects
    • to identify good practice that can be shared
    • to test potential interventions (using them before and after implementation to evaluate them)
  • HR:
    • to investigate where stress is identified or where there are multiple cases of stress
    • to develop ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with mental health issues or returning to work following illness
    • to follow up the results of staff surveys, for example checking or comparing results
  • occupational health providers or employee assistance programmes as a consistent approach to referred cases, whether relating to stress or not, or for data gathering

If the toolkit is being used within a larger organisation it may be necessary to establish a route for managers to pass staff feedback up to the relevant people, for example HR staff, a stress champion or a health and safety team.

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Updated: 2024-02-27