Val Stevenson: What are employers doing around stress in the workplace?

Many organisations are turning to prevention rather than reacting to the symptoms of stress and are seeking to support staff who are already affected. This is through the exploration of resilience.

This means creating a greater awareness as an individual something we can all benefit from as well as having programmes to equip managers to have a better understanding of the topic something they can add to their manager toolkit.

There are many definitions of resilience. My favourite is: ‘The ability to identify, assess and respond to a potentially disruptive situation in order to prevent it from becoming a crisis.’

Resilience is not just about work. It improves the individual’s ability to achieve in all aspects of life. Employers should not stop the support mechanisms, but prevention is better than cure, and they should be thinking about running workshops or introducing resilience training as part of their management development.

At Deloitte, we are doing just that. We take all mental health issues very seriously and try to prevent stress. The firm has trained nine of its senior partners to become mental health champions, in an effort to increase openness about mental health among staff, and to offer a support system to those who need it.

We have found that the mental health champions can direct staff to further help and support, and can sometimes prevent the issue from getting worse. Often having someone to talk to about their workload, or stresses outside the workplace, can really help. All employees are valuable to the firm, and if we can help them through difficult times, they will be happier when they are ready to return to work.

– Val Stephenson, HR director at Deloitte