The current cost of workforce stress in the US is around $300 billion annually.
How is stress robbing your organization?
The tricky thing about measuring the impacts of stress is that stress by itself doesn’t incur costs, but like an oil spill or medical illness, it permeates throughout an environment.
Stress is a condition that negatively effects multiple aspects of a business. But, there are three main areas: Turnover, Healthcare costs, and Lost Productivity.
Is your organization paying attention to all of these? Let’s take a quick look into how to track and understand them.
Job Turnover Costs are easier to track. It’s estimated that 40% of job turnover is due to stress, while the average cost of replacing employees is around the amount of their yearly salary. Stress sure can be expensive.
Your organization likely is tracking turnover, but do you know how much of your turnover is due to stress? Even if you have properly worded exit surveys and interviews, it’s hard to know if you’re getting accurate data. Employees tend to not be transparent about their mental health concerns with their employers, especially once they've become burned out enough to quit.
Healthcare Costs are a little trickier to navigate. We know stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It's difficult to measure the extent, but it’s highly likely your workforce's medical issues have been compounded by workplace stress.
More directly, absenteeism due to mental health is something you can measure. Whether from sick days or a FMLA, you can track productivity lost from employee absence as well as any additional company spending for their medical absence. Data shows that companies pay an average of $702 per employee yearly for stress-related absence.
Productivity Costs are the most difficult to track. How much time and energy does stress waste? More than you think. Because stress responses require are energy consuming, this leaves less energy for work and increases an individuals margin of error and mistakes.
But you need to be actively monitoring this in order to really see the picture. Usually this is done through a combination of employee feedback on stress levels and internal productivity measurements. You can also measure company financials alongside the feedback, though this can begin to resemble tracing a crime scene.
And although it can be complex, productivity is where I get the most excited because it’s untapped potential.
Not only can you stop the incurred costs of lost productivity, you can reverse them to become even more profitable and productive. I specialize in workshops that pair employee feedback on stress levels while helping leaders manage insights, so that in a short time your organization can begin to see the correlation between stress and productivity within your workforce.
If this sounds like a lot, it can be. Stress is a modern phenomenon, it's a pervasive challenge for any organization that is serious about its people.
Of course it may be enough to just take a good look at the science, and acknowledge that there is likely untapped productivity potential. You can then consult an expert who helps your employees to reduce stress, and just see how it goes. If the workforce responds positively to it, then you are providing a benefit that positively impacts both your organization.
I offer various consultation services for organizations serious on tracking and reducing stress so they can be more happy and productive.