Quality statement 3: Identifying and managing stress

Quality statement

Employees are managed by people who are trained to recognise and support them when they are experiencing stress.

Rationale

Line managers are in regular contact with the employees they are responsible for, so they are in a good position to identify the early signs of stress. They can also help prevent the symptoms escalating into illness and sickness absence.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of arrangements to ensure that line managers are given training in how to recognise and support employees when they are experiencing stress.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, training records and copies of training documentation.

Process

a) Proportion of line managers who are trained to use a stress risk assessment to identify and respond to sources of stress.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who are trained to use a stress risk assessment to identify and respond to sources of stress.

Denominator – the number of line managers in the organisation.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, training records and copies of training documentation. National data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's annual absence management survey.

b) Proportion of line managers who are trained to recognise the causes of stress.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who are trained to recognise the causes of stress.

Denominator – the number of line managers in the organisation.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, training records and copies of training documentation. National data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's annual absence management survey includes details of organisations that have trained line managers to identify and manage stress in their team.

c) Proportion of line managers who receive information on sources of support for stress both inside and outside the workplace.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who receive information on sources of support for stress both inside and outside the workplace.

Denominator – the number of line managers in the organisation.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, induction and training records and copies of training documentation. National data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's annual absence management survey.

Outcome

a) Identification of stress in employees.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, records of referrals and support offered to employees experiencing stress. National data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's annual absence management survey.

b) Support for employees experiencing stress.

Data source: Local data collection, including staff survey results such as the NHS staff survey. National data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's annual absence management survey includes details of organisations that have introduced flexible working options, changes in work organisation (such as job role adaptations) and training provided to build personal resilience.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Organisations (senior management teams including the chief executive and departmental managers) ensure that line managers receive training in how to recognise and support an employee when they are experiencing stress. This includes how to develop workplace solutions to reduce the risk and knowing when to provide additional support. Support could include, for example, a referral to occupational health or elsewhere, both in and outside the workplace.

Line managers undertake training in how to recognise and support an employee when they are experiencing stress. This may involve using a stress risk assessment. They are also trained to develop workplace solutions to reduce the risk. In addition, they are aware of occupational health and other sources of support both in and outside the workplace and know when to refer employees to these sources of support.

Employees have a line manager who is trained to recognise when they are experiencing stress and knows what to do to help. Action could include, for example, making changes to how their job is carried out, or temporarily reducing the workload. It could also include referring them for support from occupational health or elsewhere, both in and outside the workplace. This will help employees to continue in work.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Stress

Stress is a natural, but sometimes distressing, reaction leading to a psychological and physiological tension that is referred to as the 'flight or fight' response. It may be positive or negative. Stress has many causes. Some may be work-related, for example, excessive workload and a poor work–home balance. Other factors include financial worries or family issues. In most cases (and with appropriate help) people will adapt and cope. However, sometimes stress can lead to psychological or physical health problems.

[Adapted from NICE's guideline on workplace health: long-term sickness absence and incapacity to work, glossary; NICE's guideline on workplace health: management practices, recommendation 1.9.1; and expert opinion]

Support when experiencing stress

Support can involve addressing work issues and understanding how to carry out a stress risk assessment. In addition, it can involve identifying internal services (such as occupational health services, if available) and external services that may be able to help. (The latter could include fitness for work occupational health services, an employee assistance programme or the employee's GP.)

[Adapted from NICE's guideline on workplace health: management practices, recommendations 1.8.2 and 1.9.1 and expert opinion]