Caroline Rook: Employers need to identify mental health issues among employees

Caroline RookEmployee health and stress prevention programmes are in place in many organisations across the UK. Organisations agree that there is a clear business case for the role that wellbeing plays in job performance and overall productivity.

The taboo of mental health and stress in the workplace is slowly being broken but managers can find it hard to gather when stress levels of their team members are taking a toll on their mental health. Expectation of everyday top performance can push some employees to depression and exhaustion.

Inspired by aviation and medical best practices for handling crises, Henley Business School set out to develop a simple, yet robust, protocol that would help line managers and HR personnel to identify cases of potential burnout. The protocol is drawn from studies on stress and allows for a more realistic stress management approach by paying attention to psychological clues in every day life situations and conversations that signal irrational behaviour patterns that are caused by severe levels of stress.

The Stress-APGAR provides a set of guidelines that help executives think about and articulate factors that may lead to burnout. It looks at appearance, performance, growth tension, affect control and relationships, to determine the employee’s mental wellbeing. This can become a starting point for conversations on how to create work environments in which good and bad stress remain in balance.

Caroline Rook is a lecturer at Henley Business School