When asked to think about what stresses out your employees the most, the first thing that pops up in your mind is likely to be an increased workload.

While that might be one of the stress inducing factors your staff is likely to face, it is not what brings them the most stress.

Instead, according to a new survey by ComPsych Corporation, supervisors’ unclear expectations (31%) is the biggest stress causing factor for your employees.

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This was followed by issues around working with others and change.

A fifth (20%) of respondents felt that “confusion/conflict between coworkers/departments” causes them stress.

Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, founder, chairman and CEO of ComPsych noted: “Employees are telling us that much of the disequilibrium around change is coming from managers. These challenges have resulted in our training topics of ‘resiliency’ and ‘coping with change’ being by far the most popular,” he added.

Here are the top 5 triggers of stress at the workplace:

1.“Unclear expectations from supervisors” (31%)
2. “Confusion / conflict between coworkers / departments” (20%)
3. The “belief that workload will increase or become more difficult” (18%)
4. “Uncertainty about future/questions about stability of company” (15%)
5. “New processes/operating rules/skills needed” in the job (13%)

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In order to help employees feel less stressed, Human Resources recommends taking these steps:

  1. Set clear expectations for employees from day one. That means you should have a solid on-boarding programme to inform employees about what is expected of them and what they can expect.
  2. Implement team building programmes and initiatives to help employees understand each other, thus minimising conflict and increasing communication among staff. For ideas on the team building programmes that work, look out for the Human Resources’ January-February feature.
  3. Set up training and development opportunities for employees to help them cope with any increase in workload and keep up to date on the skills needed for the job. Keep an eye out for  Training & Development Asia – the region’s biggest conference on corporate training & development for tips and tricks on the best employee training methods.
  4. Encourage employees via regular catch-up meetings to discuss their performance and show that you have confidence in their abilities.
  5. Ensure that company policies are transparent and set up clear career progression paths for employees to reduce uncertainty about the future and the company.

Image: Shutterstock

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