Managing Employee Stress in COVID-19 Times.

The last eighteen months have been unprecedented times for any business and one aspect often overlooked by employers is employee stress. This can be caused by many factors and has been somewhat heightened by the current pandemic. How can signs of stress be identified and what strategies can employers put in place to minimise its impact.  

Employee stress is not good for business, most of all it’s not good for sufferers either as it can lead to serious health problems plus effects on business productivity and team morale. A study by MetLife (the American Insurance company) suggests that employees have been suffering from stress in 2020 because of:  

  • Financial issues (81%). 
  • Job insecurity (77%).  
  • Fear of catching the virus (60%).  
  • Social distancing restrictions (47%). 

In addition, a total of 38% of adults are reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders, (an increase of 27% since 2019) and 30% percent of employees say they feel stressed, burned out or depressed at work on a regular basis. These are quite disturbing statistics so it has become even more important for employers to identify key signs which may be indicated by: 

  • Frequent sickness for minor ailments when previously the employee was never sick or took time off work.
  • Low productivity. 
  • Emotional outbursts – rapid changes in emotions or unusual anger or laughter. 
  • Non communicative behaviour or lack of engagement signified by a loss of concentration, illogical speech or difficulty in explaining things. Other indicators are apathy, failure to participate in calls or cancelling continually.  

Strategies for Managing Employee Stress.  

Fully engage all staff and provide easy communication channels for staff to voice concerns about their own status or that of a colleague in confidence. Provide training to help employees identify signs in themselves and others and to recognise an employee who is struggling with stress and anxiety. Have a process and procedure for dealing with employee stress in a sensitive manner. Consider introducing more flexible working practices (33% of employees state that working from home reduces stress). 

Impact on Human Resources and Recruitment. 

For human resources managers new training may be required so that stress can be quickly identified along with appropriate communication channels and strategies for dealing with issues identified. With this topic of work-related stress becoming more evident as the pandemic continues potential talent may be interested in any future employer’s policies and processes for dealing with stress.  This information along with the employer’s policy on flexible working should be divulged by any interviewing managers to candidates. Using recruitment tools can help human resources managers to reduce their own work stress by making the recruitment and selection process faster and more efficient.  

One such company who are game changing the face of recruitment by providing a robust process to ensure more efficient recruitment using any channel is Hire Digital, a start-up recruitment company with a global presence that has invested heavily in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to manage the digital tech recruitment process. Their talent management software platform gives digital talent recruiters a strict criterion for posting job adverts and descriptions and their AI works in such a way that it generates a much smaller more targeted candidate list by using up to 40,000 attributes. They key to this is efficiency, recruiters spend less time generating job advertisements and trawling through hundreds of CV’s to get their shortlist, Hire Digital tech can rapidly access up to 1bn talent globally. 

Hire Digital is an AI technology with a human touch that is completely revolutionising the recruitment and selection process. It’s two times faster, 50 % cheaper and ten times more accurate than traditional hiring tech. To find out more speak to Robin Brohl at Hire Digital he is a real person and would love to engage with you and help you streamline your recruitment processes. 

Data courtesy of MetLife