Is a member of your team taking more time off sick or not performing as well as they usually do? Do they seem tired, irritable, or overly self-critical? Have they lost their usual sense of humour? If so, they may be suffering from stress.
The Mental Health Foundation, which ran Mental Health Awareness Week last week, says that mental health problems are the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, says Hilary Hall, CEO of the NHF/NBF. “Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from stress at work and Mental Health Awareness Week is a great reminder for salon owners to look out for signs of mental health problems in their staff.”
Common causes of stress
Stress can be triggered by a variety of factors in the workplace, explains Hilary. “These include being unable to cope with the workload, feeling powerless and having no say over how and when work is done, not knowing what is expected in their job role, badly managed change in your salon, or workplace bullying.” (nhf.info/bullying)
Tackling work-based stress
“If you suspect a member of your salon team is suffering from work-related stress, do your best to find a solution,” advises Hilary. “Explore what’s causing their stress and if necessary develop an action plan to address it. Be aware that other employees may also be facing the same issues, so your action plan may need to be salon-wide.”
Find out more about supporting a stressed employee: nhf.info/stressed-employee
Your employee may be suffering from home-related stress, says Hilary. “As a first step, arrange a confidential meeting and ask if there is anything you can do to support them. Consider practical offers of help such as flexible working or time off to deal with the situation,” advises Hilary.
“Offer a follow-up meeting but remember that your employee is not obliged to share personal information with you, so don’t probe them.”
If appropriate, you can share details about services and organisations that can offer help and support, for example, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/getting-help
“When supporting a stressed employee, remember that you may have to hear about difficult personal problems or criticism of your management style,” says Hilary. “Try to remain objective and always listen carefully. Don’t take things personally and stay focused on finding solutions. Good mental health is good for your employees and for your business.”
NHF/NBF Members have access to a free 24/7 HR legal helpline which can help with stress-related risk assessments: nhf.info/legal-advice
The NHF/NBF offers a range of business support services for hair and beauty salons, from legal, employment and financial guidance to discounted insurance and expert advice for managing people and boosting your business. www.nhf.info