When employee stress levels start outweighing job satisfaction, it can wreak havoc on a workplace. Don't let that happen. Studies consistently show that taking a positive approach to psychological health and safety can generate measurable improvements in employee engagement, retention levels, productivity, and innovation and creativity. And there's a tool to help you stay on top of it.
The tool is a confidential 6-item questionnaire, available online, from Guarding Minds @ Work*. The website will also tabulate results and produce a report, all at no cost.
"It's a quick and easy way for an organization to understand whether employees are feeling more stress or more satisfaction in the workplace," explains WSPS consultant Janet Carr.
Promoting satisfaction over stress offers enormous mental health benefits for employees, but that’s not all, says Carr. It can also provide significant benefits to the entire organization. "To a large extent, satisfaction determines employee engagement and productivity. When employees feel they have little control over their work and are putting in a lot of effort but receiving little recognition or reward, their satisfaction with that workplace environment can decrease, and with it their motivation, commitment, and contribution to business goals. This can have a huge impact on overall performance within that organization."
What the questionnaire asks
This evidence-based online survey, available in English and French, asks people to assign one of four responses ranging from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree" to the following statements:
I am satisfied with the amount of involvement I have in decisions that affect my work.
I feel I am well rewarded (in terms of praise and recognition) for the level of effort I put out for my job.
In the last six months, time pressure at work has caused me worry, "nerves" or stress.
In the last six months, I have experienced worry, "nerves" or stress from mental fatigue at work.
I am satisfied with the fairness and respect I receive on the job.
My supervisor supports me in getting my work done.
It takes just a matter of minutes for employees to respond online, says Carr, but the tabulated results will quickly indicate whether stress levels could be compromising worker satisfaction and performance.
Putting the results to work
Many workplaces that conduct the initial scan go on to conduct a more in-depth online employee survey with 68 statements, says Carr. The collective responses provide an index of performance across 13 recognized psychosocial factors that affect employees' psychological responses to work and work conditions. These factors include the way work is carried out (deadlines, workload, employee involvement) and the context in which work occurs, including relationships and interactions with managers and supervisors, colleagues and co-workers, and clients or customers. These two surveys are just some of the free tools available to people on the Guarding Minds @ Work website.
Not sure how to proceed? WSPS consultants like Janet Carr can walk you through your options, starting with how to ensure employee buy-in, to developing an action plan based on results. "For instance, a critical step is getting senior leadership commitment to the process. We can present a business case to senior leaders and help the organization move ahead and start addressing psychological health and safety in the workplace."
WSPS also has a range of complementary resources, including online and public training courses, downloads, videos and articles. Check them out today.
* Guarding Minds @ Work was developed by researchers from the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addictions (CARMHA) within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. It is based on the premise that there are a finite number of psychosocial workplace factors that influence mental or psychological health in either a positive or a negative direction. GM@W can help workplaces identify factors that act as supports for mental health but also those that present risks to mental health, with the goal of strengthening the former and abating the latter.