How Do You Measure Your Employees Overall Resilience to Stress at Work?

There have been many observations, experiments, and definitions of stress. Countless perspectives and brilliant minds have tried to comprehend this broad and complex term. Stress is kind of elusive, isn’t it? 

Tests, experiments, questionnaires, and HR professionals have been dealing with it for decades, but somehow, it’s still a major problem for organizations.  

There goes a very old saying: “better safe than sorry.” Which is how we are going to structure this article.  

We don’t want to divide stress into categories because that’s purely theoretical, and not very practical for organizations. What is practical for organizations? How do people behave at work, that’s practical and stress does impact that.  

Whether it’s a sudden change of behavior, not delivering expected results, or absenteeism, which roughly cost the UK workforce 14 billion pounds in the year 2020. Can you believe that it’s been almost a year before all this pandemic started? And in Serbia? Overall 2 million Serbian Dinars per employee.

To me, it feels way longer. You see, that’s the thing with people perceiving stressful situations, they tend to prolong the negative impact and memories, which unfortunately stick with us for a very long time. That’s how the employees feel, whether they are working at home or in an office. We need a fresh look into this urgent topic, but first.  

The billion-dollar question: “How do you work under stressful conditions?”  

Now, this is one of the most controversial HR interview questions out there. Employees know they have deadlines and expectations to fulfill, and that’s alright, but why do we have to call these “stressful conditions?”  

What do we expect from candidates here to answer? Sure, everyone will tell you how they handle stress with ease, but the answers are cliché.  

We have to make a difference between the terms “challenging” and “stressful.” For someone to grow in an organization as an individual and as an expert, we have to provide challenges, so employees will learn that the company’s manager’s overall leadership knows the difference between these two terms.  

To be challenged or to be put under stress? 

So, what’s the catch? To be challenged, means you have the appropriate number of assignments, the right support from managers or superiors, and the knowledge, you want to enhance. To be put under stress means you have multiple assignments that you don’t have the right support from managers or from superiors and the knowledge is far beyond your current capabilities. 

Resilience can play a role here, but it’s not that impactful. Why? Resilience can only alleviate the harmful impact of stress because all human beings have boundaries. Do you really want to be the one who will test them? Many things can go wrong from the point.  

Maybe if we stopped with the question: “How do you work under stressful conditions?” we reformulate that into: “How did you overcome the most challenging conditions at work?” Things would get better.  

The answer to “better safe than sorry” quotation  

Earlier, we mentioned that there is a more effective way to handle stress at work. Sometimes the simplest solutions are often the hardest. The answer lays in your most valuable asset: people. By valuing every individual, you create a healthy organizational culture.

People build healthy organizational culture, right from the start of selecting the right candidates, onboarding, and when they are faced with challenges. What does your organization get from this? Instead of spending too much money and time on fixing the stressful conditions, you can put in the effort of taking your employee’s needs and company goals in synchronization. This way, you build healthy organizational culture, in which people don’t fear to ask their colleagues or superiors for help, advice, or insight.  

It’s a long process, it won’t happen overnight, but it mostly depends on the management team and leadership. As my dear mentor would say: “I won’t always praise you, but you will receive appreciation for every impactful result, and I have expectations from you and we have our individual and common goals, not stress. Graduates experienced and seniors need challenges to grow, not stress to feel like superstars in the beginning and then collapse after few months.”   

For our final sentence, some people deal with stress like this: “If stress burned calories, I’d be a supermodel.” Unfortunately, it only burns our spirit.  

How can we make an impact together? Contact us here and start a project with us.  

Strahinja Krstić – Marketing Communications Specialist, PsyConsulting