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Stress Risk Assessment Case Study: Financial Services

The Brief

A department within a financial services firm invited In Equilibrium to conduct a stress risk assessment.

The client department was a highly dynamic and successful team with ambitious plans for continuing and future expansion. This highly positive position was not without its pressures: senior management was therefore keen to prevent stress-related problems from arising and to take a proactive approach to minimising stress risks.

The aims of the stress risk assessment project were: to identify potential stress-related problems and their sources and assess who was at risk and how; to generate options for risk minimisation; and to achieve maximum team participation and involvement in the process.

Method

We used a qualitative methodology, conducting focus groups, semi-structured interviews and small-group meetings to gather in-depth information about the issues from the perspective of all concerned. Discussion of pressures was focussed on the Health and Safety Executive categories of risk factors (or ‘hazards’): demands, control, support, relationships, role and change; plus any further issues identified as pertinent to team members. In addition, we reviewed relevant management information (sickness absence, staff turnover and long working hours reports) to explore the quantifiable impact of pressures on team members.

Results

We delivered a detailed report to the client with extensive recommendations for how they could reduce stress risks for staff. As a result of these recommendations, the client took a range of actions that targeted issues that had been highlighted as potential stress risks. In addition we were invited to conduct a number of follow-up projects, including: providing 360 degree feedback to assist with leadership development for partners and senior managers; and facilitating a task force, which met to review progress on the recommendations and highlight issues that arose subsequently.

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