Stress is defined as a complex pattern of emotional states, physiological reactions, and related thoughts in response to external demands. Michie (2002 suggests that the unpredictable or uncontrollable, uncertain, ambiguous or unfamiliar or involving conflict, loss or performance expectation situation that are higher possibilities to cause stress.
The followings are the details of the suggested components of the stress management plan:
1) Gain Management Commitment
A successful stress prevention and management program depends on the ability of different parts of an organization to work cooperatively. The supports from senior management are essential to achieve the result and success in the whole program. The component may include the gaining support from Occupational Health and Safety/Human Resources Managers, obtain approval from Senior Managers as well as ensure that senior managers undertake a formal program role.
2) Establish a stress management program structure
Apart from obtaining the management commitment of the stress management program, it is essential to develop a structured approach to the program. This require an effective consultation to ensure that all relevant staff are able to participate and therefore the appropriate stress management strategies can be developed according to their work nature and activities (Comecare, 1997).
3) Identify the stressors (Hazard Identification)
The hazard identification stage is to gather information about occupational stress in the organization and also identify the current strategies used for managing staff whose are experienced stress response. The obtained data can be used to assess the nature and scope of the risk. The risk assessment team should interview key stakeholders (such as the supervisor and the staff involved dealing with customer in the parking fine matters), identify sources of information, develop plans for gathering information and gather the selected information. The OHS incident reports, staff reporting of stress, unplanned absence rates by time and demographic characteristics, opinion survey, employee assistance program data by demographic characteristics, etc can be collected in the hazard identification process (Comcare, 1997).
4) Analyse and identify the stressors (Risk Assessment)
In the stress risk assessment process, the organization may assess the stress issue which may associated with the workload and work organization, support from the leadership to accomplish the fine collection task, role clarity, staff identification with corporate goals. The stress risk assessment can use different tools such as expert device, consequence analysis, statistical analysis of employee opinion, workplace culture, internal communication, organization goals, etc (Comecare, 1997).
The risk of stress among staff can also be assessed what the pressures existed in the workplace which could cause high and long lasting levels of stress and decide what work group may be harmed by the identified risk (Michie, 2002)
After the risk assessment, this is important to consult with managers and other stakeholders and also conduct the cost and benefit analysis of each proposed points, and select strategies that would appropriate for control the risk. The risk assessment team should select and priorities the intervention points that should be targeted by the organization (Comcare, 1997).
Secondly, the organization should develop good situation such as provide a good working environment and social support and this can be increased by enhance the management system, employment practices, internal communication, increase support and feedback and also the work infrastructure etc. Thirdly, the organization is advised to provide employee assistance programs with helping staff to overcoming problems especially arising out in the workplace (Michie, 2002; Martin, 2004).
5) Implement occupational stress prevention strategies (Risk Control)
Based on the risk assessment result and the suggested control measures, this is important to develop an implementation plan to be discussed and approved by the steering committee. In the implementation plan of the Adelaide City Council, it is advised to include the activities responsibilities of involved parties, the role of the risk assessment team, and the requirements for the reporting of progress, with time frame, to the organization. This is important to note that the risk assessment team should be working with managers and overseeing the progress and effectiveness of the implementation plan. The implementation plan need to be tailored to circumstances of each identified area.
In this component, the activities include the evaluate strategy implementation such as finding out the efficiency of implementation and effectiveness of individual strategies; evaluating outcomes by establishing performance indicators and measuring outcomes against the performance indicators. For instance, it can be evaluated by the rate of utilization of Employee Assistance Program, changes in the mechanism of injury of workers’ compensation claims, the rate of reported workplace stress incident and etc.
To sum up, the above six components should consolidate and link up with one to another which should tailor to solve the specific stress problem in an organization. A good stress intervention and management plan is necessary to eliminate and minimize the stress issues in the workplace.