We all need some stress in our life to keep us involved and alert but too much can wear us down and seriously affect our physical and mental well-being.

The consequences can range from poor customer service and low productivity through to serious accidents, family breakdowns, and even suicide.

And often, colleagues and bosses aren’t aware of the problem until it’s too late.

Imagine what work would be like if everyone simply loved their jobs. It would be a delight to come to work each day and everyone would be an enthusiastic contributor to the company’s success.

Well, that’s probably not going to happen but here are three steps that can drastically cut workplace stress making everyone healthier and more productive.

Step 1: Review the What

A lot of frustration and stress can be attributed to the work being carried out, especially when the purpose is obscure or the process is cumbersome.

Sometimes there are soulless tasks that add very little value which can be scrapped altogether. Others might be combined or done differently for better outcomes.

Female employee smiling while looking at her paperworks.

Photo courtesy from Flickr Images by @peoplecreations

Start by looking at the tasks which consume the most time and energy and, as you review what is being done, also consider the how. Technology has changed most things and new applications are coming out all the time.

There are apps that can easily automate most business functions and, being cloud based, they don’t require any capital expenditure or system upgrades.

The monthly subscriptions can be expensed, often fitting within existing budgets, and even if the budget needs to be stretched, the improvements in efficiency and productivity can produce significant ongoing returns.

Be prepared for an initial spike in stress while learning any new system and, if it is a dramatic change, you may need to plan a progressive training program.

Also consider if a single all-in-one system will suffice, or do you need the potentially better outcomes of separate best-of-breed apps?

The goal here is to eliminate the mundane and meaningless, and provide a sense of achievement, efficiency and worth in the tasks left to be done.

Step 2: Review the Who

Ever noticed how some people seem to really enjoy jobs we wouldn’t do in a fit? And then there are some tasks that we do that drive us nuts.

You might call some people “a natural” in their role while others are a continual problem.

Look at who you have now, how well they are performing, and will new technology change what is expected from these people.

Male and female executives talking to a male candidate.

Photo courtesy from Flickr Images by @pressfoto

You will have two goals in this, learning how you might de-stress current workers and profiling who you should hire in the future.

Look at skills, experience and qualifications to see if additional training may be needed and if any backgrounds suit the role better than others.

Then look at attitudes and personal fit for the role and company culture. e.g. Is the job task or people focussed, is the culture disciplined and controlled or free and easy?

Many very successful companies swear by the mantra “hire for attitude, train for skills”.

Step 3: Match the Who and the What

Now that you have re-defined the roles and profiled the characteristics required, you are in a good position to match people to jobs.

Staff with the right temperament and experience for the role they are in will stand out as your best performers.

Then, you may find that some staff are totally wrong for their current role but will thrive in another area, and some are just not a good fit in any role.

Employee meeting for company's benefit

Photo courtesy from Flickr Images by @javi_indy

Moving forward, as you bring new people into the company, your goal will be match their experience, knowledge and temperament to the tasks that need to be done.

Unfortunately, reading resumes and conducting interviews just doesn’t provide sufficient insight to know how they will perform on the job.

Ideally you will augment your recruitment process with predictive hiring techniques using surveys and questionnaires to match knowledge and experience, combined with psychometric tools to identify the candidates with the right attitudes.

Until recently, these techniques haven’t had widespread use due to cost and time constraints.

However, RecruitPack now provides a platform that allows you to easily benchmark your star performers, and then use those benchmarks to screen and assess new recruits, ensuring you have the opportunity for a perfect match.

If you would like to explore this further, there is a free DIY guide available at recruitpack.com.au.

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About the author:

David Wilson has been a licenced employment agent for over twenty-five years including twelve years as General Manager for Skilled, four years General Manager SA for KONE Elevators, and running his own HR Consulting and Recruitment business.

He stated Nuage Software Pty Ltd in 2010 to bring RecruitPack to market to help companies manage recruitment and improve selection.