Our client is an executive agency of a main Government department. They are an office based organisation operating from four sites across the UK, employing approximately 1,000 people in a variety of job roles and the full range of head office functions. Santia has an Occupational Health Advisor sited at the main office.
Through an employment survey carried out in 2013 and individual occupational health referrals, an issue was identified regarding stress in one of the departments at the organisation.
Our client was seeking a section specific stress risk audit and individual stress risk assessments. A review of the current stress management policy and process was also required, as well as a review of action taken to date and key issues within the section.
Due to the sensitive nature of the issue there was initial reluctance amongst staff and managers who consequently needed to be put at ease and reassured throughout the whole process.
Santia worked closely with the internal HR team, Head of Department, health and safety team, union representatives and in-house counsellor to ensure a full understanding of the current situation.
An independent occupational health professional carried out individual assessments of stressors within the department section during one-to-one interviews.
Santia also considered:
Current individual stress risk assessments already in place
Any action taken to date
Documentation available on each employees background
Key issues within the area
All staff grades were covered in the line management chain up to and including Head of Department.
Santia produced a written report regarding section specific stressors identified with suggestions for remedial actions, including proposals for monitoring and any further work required.
A presentation was made to senior management followed by a further presentation to staff and union representatives. Individual assessments were produced with action plans proposed as appropriate.
Recommendations were made on how to improve the organisations stress policy and risk assessment process, and specifically how to streamline the process to ensure ownership within the organisation.
The results identified an issue with stress caused by high levels of staff sickness in the department. Senior managers did not recognise there was an issue until they received feedback from staff interviews and therefore required training on identifying stressors.
Santia agreed the management action plan following the one-to-one interviews. These actions involved more engagement from staff at all levels in the decision-making process and more visibility of senior management.
Santia understood the corporate culture within the organisation and worked with the on-site counsellor and union representatives, and hence was able to provide an external and un-biased review of the situation.
The Health & Safety Advisor commented:
‘The whole survey was carried out in a professional manner with reports and assessments produced in good time. The survey was thorough with staff and managers put at ease after initial reluctance. Informative but diplomatic presentations and feedback were given and presentations adapted to suit the relevant audience due to the sensitivity of the information’