The Stress Claim Allegation: The Seven Common Causes Of Stress Complaints
Ahhh… the stress complaint.
Sometimes it can cause you just as much stress as the employee that’s made the claim.
According to Fair Work, work-related stress is the term to describe the mental, physical, and emotional responses of an employee who is experiencing stress as a result of work demands, and perceives that they are not capable of meeting those demands.
Today’s blog is about informing you on the common stress complaints we see, and what you can do to prevent it.
Not all of these are going to be things that would be attributed to a work-related stress claim, but they are certainly things that we see to be to potentially causing some pressure or some unhappiness in the workplace.
Treat it as a “prevention is better than a cure” approach through the power of awareness.
1. Being singled out by managers and senior staff.
A common stress claim we hear about all the time is when a staff member believes their manager is against them and unfairly targeting them out.
This may come in the forms of treating them differently to other people, singling them out in front of other staff members or putting them down publicly in front of others.
2. Excessive workloads with no assistance of support.
When a staff member feels overwhelmed with excessive workloads and no support, it can quickly escalate to a stress claim.
It is important to provide realistic volumes of work that fits the level of skill of the role and/or provide support in prioritising the work they’re doing.
It is also important to determine whether this is a capability issue or a resourcing/work allocation issue.
There will be peaks and troughs in workflow and the level of work required to deliver, however if excessive workloads are ongoing and doesn’t let up, a stress claim could be inevitable if not addressed.
3. Unachievable deadlines.
When stringent or unachievable deadlines are set, it can put an employee in a long term pressure-cooker situation.
This can be difficult, as every business has deadlines that could have a really serious impact on others of not meeting that deadline, and can certainly create a lot of pressure for a staff member.
When a deadline is unachievable, it can become a very common allegation within your business. Ensure you clearly state deadlines up front, why they are important and provide adequate resources for people to complete their work in a realistic and attainable time frame.
4. No clearly defined job role or responsibility.
A fourth stress is they’re not clear on their job role, outputs/success factors or their responsibility. This can mean that things do not get completed correctly (or even at all) if they are not aware of their scope, autonomy or expectations. This can cause confusion, tension and conflict amongst team members who look to blame others for things not getting done.
Also if these expectations are unclear, it is also more difficult to properly determine whether an individual is a good recruitment hire in the first place and/or develop them against the requirements of the role.
5. Not being able to ask for help.
A detrimental stressor for staff is not being able to ask for help, or they don’t have the ability to as nobody who can help is ever around to listen.
This may come down to finding there’s no one in the business, including you – that’s approachable, available or there to get a gauge/feel for problems early, or to check in to see if they need any support or guidance.
6. Not having enough resources to get the work done.
The sixth stress claim is they don’t have enough resources to get the work done that is required, whether that’s paper resources, technology, tools, or the appropriate kind of things they need to actually get their work done.
This could include extremely unrealistic KPI’s and targets to be achieved without any financial or practical resources.
7. They hate their jobs.
Lastly, they actually don’t enjoy their work and/or their organization.
We know what it’s like to come to work and not enjoy the job.
Having processes to check in on team member’s enjoyment and satisfaction is critical in getting on top of this and addressing early.
As mentioned, not all of the above would be ‘compensable claims’ however they are good to be aware of.
If we can get on top of them and do something about it, it’s not only better for the individual, it’s certainly better for the team and for the organization as a whole.
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