The Stress Audit – risk assessment
The process begins here with a simple stress audit. Feedback enables a stress policy to be formulated which in turn facilitates a stress management or awareness training programme.
There are various internationally recognised stress audit instruments available. The Holmes Rahe test uses a simple check list questionnaire. Stress is measured according to the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale, the number of “Life Change Units” that apply to events in the past year (or past month) of an individual’s life are added and the total score will give an estimate of how stress could affect the individual’s performance at work and trigger further assessment.
Where the Holmes Rahe test measures the life events that could impact on an employee’s performance, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a shorter instrument that measures the individual’s perception on how they are able to maintain control whilst faced with life events and changes in their circumstances and environment.
Each instrument can be used as a single measure for a snapshot of a group working in a department, group or team (the nomothetic). The findings of group assessments aid in the specific format of group stress awareness training modules. In addition the findings for each individual (the idiographic) provide a single measure of stress in each employee. Those with a high risk score, together with those who have been diagnosed with work-related stress and signed off work can be appointed to receive external confidential support.
Repeated measures, using either instrument, are designed to measure the differences before and after a stress management strategy such as group training and awareness, or individual external support have been introduced.