HR Zone article.
The current economic downturn is having a major impact on business. Today, companies need to work smarter and leaner, and – more than ever – they need to retain the creme de la creme of their workforce.
Employee outgoings are being scrutinised and saving on expenditure is being sought across every echelon of the business. But isn’t this just good practise in any event?
We all know that the key to any successful business is the people behind it, and the most switched on employers appreciate that looking after their employees will always be a worthwhile investment.
More and more companies are seeking the assistance of coaching because they recognise its value and the importance of keeping their high performers healthy and balanced in order to maintain their high-level contribution to the company. Never has there been a better time to be pro-active. Too often companies offer support, such as counselling, to its employees when the stress has become apparent resulting in absences from work. By which time, the damage is done to that individual and – ultimately – the company’s performance. To ignore the well being of your staff, particularly those that hold demanding roles and are key to the company’s bottom line, is self sabotaging.
Stress can also cause problems with health, both physically and emotionally. A recent article published by Anastasia Stephens of The Independent states: ‘The effects of constant pressure – a form of chronic stress – are well-known. Robert Sapolsky, professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and an authority on stress, puts it like this: “In fight-or-flight, your body turns off all the long-term building and repair projects.
Constant high levels of cortisol take your body’s eye off the ball. Memory and accuracy are both impaired. Patrols for invaders aren’t sent out, you tire more easily, you can become depressed and reproduction gets downgraded.”
Stephen’s article went on to say: ‘Exposed to chronic stress for years, high blood levels of glucose and fatty acids increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A recent study at University College London found that stress raised cholesterol levels, another factor that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease’.
Take, for example, a high performance car, we recognise the importance of an annual service to maintain its engine and look after our investment. We need the same care and attention to ensure health, productivity and sustainability. Coaching is a pre-emptive tool dealing with issues before they become deep rooted and destructive.
Many believe that coaching just addresses problems or under performers, this isn’t the case. Not only can coaching help unleash people’s potential, it can also help successful people become even more successful. Sports coaching offers a good example – top performing athletes all have coaches to keep them at the top of their game, and I would argue that there should be no difference in business.
Group training has its place. But coaching offers individuals 100% focus on them, allowing them to open up in a secure private environment that is non-judgemental and non-directional. It helps clients become enlightened, empowered, grow in confidence and to achieve results.
How to look for signs of stress in an employee:
Of course, an easy assumption to make is that there could be personal problems. That doesn’t negate the help and support offered by employers. Our work and personal lives dovetail, and whatever the long-term cause or problem, our work performance will eventually be affected.