Rise in staff absence prompted Quintiles to adopt stress policy

As a medical research organisation, Quintiles takes the health and wellbeing of its staff seriously.

It introduced its current stress management policy in 2012 as part of its holistic health and wellbeing strategy.

A driving factor behind the stress management policy was an increase in stress-related sickness absence. To address this, Quintiles formed a health management team, which concluded that the organisation should improve its approach to increase awareness of, and participation in, existing benefits.

Jacqui Riches, associate manager, employee wellness for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says: “We already had some great things in place and they were being used very well, but what we wanted to do was really look at how we could view it from a different angle and make it even better. It wasn’t about identifying a void and then putting something in place. We realised we were doing really great things. What we wanted to do was re-market these.”

Benefits on offer include an employee assistance programme, online wellness workshops and seminars covering issues such as increasing emotional resilience.

The organisation has also taken steps to improve managers’ awareness of the programmes available to enable them to support employees in preventing stress, and dealing with stressful situations, as well as managing staff through stress-related absence. However, Quintiles also recognised that managers, too, could feel under pressure from work-related issues.

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To overcome this, the organisation launched two health and absence toolkits, one for managers and one for the general workforce.

It also took steps to address physical ailments that were known to lead to stress. This included holding seminars aimed at reducing backache and soft tissue injuries.