All businesses have a duty of care to their employees and safeguarding their mental health is a fundamental part of this. April is National Stress Awareness Month and a time to reflect on the negative impact of stress in the workplace.

We all know that stress is one of the most common causes of long-term work absence in the UK but how much do HR professionals understand about the impact that trauma can have as a contributory factor to stress and work burnout?

It’s important to understand what psychological trauma is and how it can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental and physical health. Trauma-informed care is an approach that recognises the impact of trauma on individuals and seeks to create a safe and supportive environment for healing.

So how can HR take a trauma-informed approach to supporting employees through work stress and burnout?

Create a safe and supportive environment

Creating a safe and supportive environment is an essential part of a trauma-informed approach. This includes:

  • Establishing trust: Building trust with employees is essential. This can be achieved through open communication, active listening, and a non-judgmental approach.
  • Fostering a sense of safety: Employees need to feel physically and emotionally safe in the workplace. HR can ensure that the workplace is free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of violence.
  • Providing choice and control: Employees need to feel that they have choices and control over their work environment. HR can provide employees with opportunities to give feedback, participate in decision-making, and have a sense of autonomy.
  • Empowering employees: Empowering employees to take control of their work environment and manage their stress can help them feel more confident and reduce the risk of burnout.

Offer resources and support

HR can offer resources and support to help employees manage their work stress and prevent burnout. This may include:

  • Counselling services: Counselling services can help employees manage their stress and cope with trauma.
  • Training and education: Providing employees with training and education on stress management and mental health can help them understand the impact of stress and develop coping strategies.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Offering flexible work arrangements such as hybrid or flexible hours can help employees manage their workload and reduce stress.
  • Peer support: Providing employees with peer support networks can help them feel connected and supported in the workplace.

In summary, taking a trauma-informed approach to supporting employees through work stress and burnout is essential for promoting employee wellbeing and preventing burnout.

HR can create a safe and supportive environment, offer resources and support, and empower employees to take control of their work environment. By doing so, HR can help employees manage stress and prevent burnout, leading to a more productive and healthier workforce.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a trauma-informed organisation, you can find further information on the Platfform Wellbeing website.

About Platfform Wellbeing
Platfform Wellbeing is a commercial training, workplace wellbeing and counselling service aimed at organisations across the private, public and third sector. It offers kind, compassionate responses at times of distress and supporting organisations with creating cultures and teams than enable people to thrive. We are part of Platfform, a mental health and social change charity.

April 2023