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  • Esther Orioli 11:28 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Study: Millennials are more stressed than older generations 

    Milliennials experience higher levels of stress than other generations.

    The world that Generation Y came of age in is certainly different than that of their parents and grandparents, and this influences many things for them, including their stress levels. According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association (APA), Millennials – individuals currently in their 20s and early 30s – are more stressed than any other age group. On a 10-point scale where 1 means very little stress and 10 means "a great deal of stress," the average of all American adults is 4.9. For Millennnials, however, it's 5.4.

    "Younger people do tend to be more stressed than older people do," Mike Hais, a market researcher and co-author of two books on that generation, including 2011's Millennial Momentum, told USA TODAY.  "It may be they are more willing to admit to it. It may be a phase of life."

    Other key findings of the study include:

    • 39 percent of Millennials say that their stress levels have increased in the past year 
    • 52 percent of young adults say that stress has kept them awake at night at least once in the past month
    • The top sources of stress for Milliennials   are work (76 percent), money (73 percent) and relationships (59 percent)
    • More than any other age group, Milliennials report being told by a health care provider that they have either depression or an anxiety disorder.

    Employers looking to help Milliennials with stress need to provide technology solutions that include personal assessment and behavior change. Most importantly, to be successful any stress or resiliency program should give individuals the choice to focus on the things they are most interested in improving, rather than dictating what they work on. When it comes to managing stressors and building resiliency, like so many things, self-interest drives behavior.

  • Esther Orioli 11:25 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    EQ becoming increasingly important at international firms 

    Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a key leadership trait.

    In a recent post we discussed a Gallup study that found that majority of companies pick the wrong members of a team to take a managerial or leadership position. Businesses often make the mistake of placing a disproportionate amount of importance on a person's experience and hard skills rather than their ability to lead. 

    While the Gallup study focused on companies in the United States, the same issue is plaguing firms in India, according to Live Mint, an Indian newspaper affiliated with The Wall Street Journal. Many of the human resources and leadership professionals interviewed by the source said companies in India have been slow to screen applicants for emotional intelligence (EQ). A few firms, however, are discovering that EQ is a critical skill for good leader. 

    "It's a competency. It is about understanding what you are feeling and what others are feeling," Pratap Nambiar, director of Leadership Circle India told the source. "It essentially includes things like empathy, compassion. It is like the elephant in the room, it is always there. When your emotion gets the better of you it means that you will do something that you will regret later."

    The key challenge for companies is finding candidates with just the right amount of experience and essential leadership characteristics. 

    Being a great leader involves more than having extensive knowledge about a subject or organization. Managers must also harness the power and acumen of their emotions, and use them as a source of energy, information, and connection, to inspire their teams and lead by example. The key challenge for companies is finding and promoting people who have just the right blend of experience and essential EQ competencies for leadership. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be measured and developed and that makes for a much bigger pool of candidates.

  • Esther Orioli 6:06 am on April 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    The Big Lie – Health and Wellness Programs Address Stress 

    While many organizations believe their Health and Wellness programs
take care of employee stress, surveys report stress is a bigger, and more expensive, problem than ever.

    As a stress and resiliency analytics expert working with global organizations, I feel compelled to talk about one of the greatest myths in the workplace that's costing U.S. employers $300 billion* annually.

    Everywhere I go, when I ask company leaders what they are doing to address employee stress, I hear the same thing, "Oh we offer a health and wellness program to all our people and it handles stress."

    There's the lie. Not intentional, but misleading nonetheless. Because if companies were doing a good job with stress, then their people would be healthier, more productive, more attentive and able to harness their creative energies. Instead:

    • Stress is (still) the number one workforce risk issue in the workplace globally. It ranked above lack of physical activity and obesity. In fact, it ranked higher than smoking, substance abuse and poor nutrition.**
    • Nearly eight in 10 (78%) companies identify stress as a top workforce risk issue, but employers and employees have vastly different opinions on the causes.**
    • Only 15% of employers identify improving the emotional/mental health (i.e., lessening the stress and anxiety) of employees as a top priority of their health and productivity programs.**
    • Some 83% of American workers say they feel stressed out by their jobs, up from 73% in 2012***

    Companies hope that employee stress is being handled by the health and wellness programs they already offer. Not so. Despite decades of traditional health and wellness programs targeting what's known as The Big Four of Health Promotion: nutrition, weight control, exercise, and smoking cessation, stress is a bigger issue than ever. And the skyrocketing healthcare costs associated with obesity, inactivity, stress related illness, and other expensive problems like depression and anxiety, are often outcomes of poor stress management, rather than root causes. That's how companies end up spending big bucks treating symptoms. It's like an exterminator who removes the mice but doesn't patch the hole where they got in. So after forty years of these types of programs being in place, stress is still a big workplace issue. A pervasive, expensive, "but what can we do about it?" problem.

    So what are they doing wrong? First, they lump stress under the health and wellness category, and focus on the physical symptoms, with little regard for its unique, contributory facets to productivity, overall performance, engagement, and poor interactional patterns of decision making, communications, and motivation.

    Another important thing they do wrong is to ignore the majority of their population that current day health and wellness programs are not addressing. How do The Big Four programs help healthy weight, physically fit, non-smoking employees who have a lot of stress? They don't.

    Further, stress contributes greatly to employee disengagement, a workplace issue costing U.S. businesses $450 to $550 billion per year, according to Gallup Inc.'s 2013 State of the Global Workplace survey. And that's also not being addressed by health and wellness programs.

    It's critical, and way overdue, for organizations to look at workplace solutions that specifically target stress and build resiliency. If they continue to ignore stress in all of its forms, emotional, mental, and behavioral, in addition to the physical, or to shove it under the catch-all of health and wellness, their healthcare costs will continue to rise, overall performance will drop and talent will leave. Most frustratingly, people will continue to suffer from this measurable and manageable current day issue. And you'll read about this again in next year's studies.

    *World Health Organization
    **2013/2014 Towers Watson Staying@Work Survey, conducted by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health
    *** 2013 Work Stress Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for Everest College

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