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tertain patients and staff, and with each new birth, the Brahms Lullaby
is played on the sound system. 34
• Capital One provides each employee a ˜˜fun budget™™ of $80 per quar-
ter to spend on such activities as white-water rafting.
• CDW Computer Centers gives employees free Krispy Kreme
doughnuts once a month and free Dairy Queen every Wednesday in
the summer. If the company meets sales goals, CDW offers an ˜˜old-
timer™™ bene¬t to anyone with three years of service: a free trip for
the employee and family anywhere in the continental United States
(awarded every other year).
• Southwest Airlines organizes spirit parties, cake-decorating contests,
barbecues, and chili cook-offs”all planned by local ˜˜culture com-
• Snapple has ˜˜theme Fridays™™”tie-dye day, silly-hat day. One year,
they built a makeshift miniature golf course inside corporate head-

While most of these examples are planned, some of the best stress re-
ducers are unplanned, such as sharing a cartoon with a coworker, deciding
to go out and rent a comedy video to watch over a lunch hour, having an
impromptu contest to see who can cheer up the grumpiest person in the
of¬ce, or buying a beverage on Friday evening for the person with the
toughest experience with a customer.
It™s worth remembering that not all stress can be relieved by a few
moments of fun. More serious and concerted approaches are required to
relieve the root source of stress”an individual struggling to perform a job
for which she is not suited, a bullying manager taking out frustrations from
a dysfunctional home life on his employees, or a management team that
has simply pushed its workforce to the brink of burnout and exhaustion. All
the fun committees in the world cannot remedy these kinds of problems.
Ultimately, it™s a balanced approach combining both serious resolve
and spontaneous fun that spells relief for the kinds of stress that is endemic
in today™s workplaces.

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What the Employee Can Do to Relieve Stress and
Many employers have sponsored stress management training for their em-
ployees in recent years, with most getting high marks from those who
attend. But because so much of a person™s stress is self-imposed, employees
must begin to take charge of managing their own stress levels.
Here are a few stress-busters that managers can encourage their em-
ployees to start doing, or to set the example, start doing themselves:

• Understand the basic truth that each of us has the freedom to choose
how we respond to stressful events. Train yourself to become more
conscious of, and accountable for, making those choices.
• Eat breakfast daily, drink less coffee and caffeinated soft drinks, and
start eating more healthy foods and, if overweight, in smaller por-
• Organize the work to be done the day before. Sort your in-basket
according to priority and work on high-priority items ¬rst.
• Establish set times in the day to review e-mail and voicemail.
• Let go of the need for perfection. Very few things really have to be
done perfectly.
• Take all the vacation you have coming. Reserve those days on your
calendar as far in advance as possible.
• Don™t try to do two or three things at the same time. Chronic multi-
tasking takes a toll.
• Don™t bring work home with you every night. Instead, stay later or
go in earlier occasionally.
• Let voicemail answer when you are extra busy and don™t need the
distraction. As someone said, ˜˜Just because someone throws you the
ball doesn™t mean you have to catch it.™™
• Block out your calendar ahead of time to make sure you will have
the uninterrupted time you need to ¬nish a large project to complete
several smaller tasks.
• If you are annoyed or angry, speak up in a diplomatic way. If you
˜˜gunny sack™™ your frustrations, they will fester and increase your
stress levels until they come out in inappropriate ways.
• Don™t hesitate to ask coworkers for help when you are trying to
handle peak workloads.

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

• Take breaks to clear your mind and relax for a few minutes at a time.
Go outside for fresh air if you can.
• Take lunch out of the of¬ce whenever you can, or just go for a
lunchtime walk.
• Delegate more.
• Create a morning ritual”either quiet meditation or reading time”
that can help set the tome for the entire day.
• Block out your calendar days before it starts to ¬ll up to assure that
you have the time needed between appointments or to work on
important projects uninterrupted.
• Take a two-day getaway break to do what restores and energizes
you”and not just on the weekends.
• Exercise every day, if possible.
• Don™t be afraid to ask for ¬‚ex-time, part-time work, job-sharing, or
other family-friendly conditions if it can help to make your life less
complicated and stressful.
• Seek more sources of grati¬cation besides your job”pursue a new
hobby (or an old one), spend more time with friends and family, take
more vacation days, travel more often, treat yourself to a massage, go
for a drive to no place in particular”whatever works to give you
more balance.
• If you are in the wrong job or working for a manager who cranks up
your stress levels, create a plan to change your situation and start
working it today.
• Get enough sleep.

Employer-of-Choice Engagement Practices Review
and Checklist
Review the engagement practices presented in this chapter and check the
ones you believe your organization needs to implement or improve.

To Reduce Stress from Work-Life Imbalance and Overwork:
47. Initiate a culture of ˜˜giving-before-getting.™™
48. Tailor the ˜˜culture of giving™™ to the needs of key talent.
49. Build a culture that values spontaneous acts of caring.
50. Build social connectedness and harmony among employees.
51. Encourage fun in the workplace.

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1. Ellen Galinsky, Stacy S. Kim, and James T. Bond, ˜˜Feeling Over-
worked: When Work Becomes Too Much,™™ Families and Work Insti-
tute, 2002.
2. ˜˜Stress at Work,™™ report of The National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health, Cincinnati, 2004, citing survey by Northwestern
National Life.
3. Galinsky, Kim, and Bond, op. cit.
4. William Atkinson, ˜˜Strategies for Workplace Stress,™™ Risk & Insurance,
October 15, 2000.
5. ˜˜Stress at Work™™ report.
6. Dori B. Reissman, Peter Orris, Roy Lacey, and David E. Hartman,
˜˜Downsizing, Role Demands, and Job Stress,™™ Journal of Occupational
and Environmental Medicine 41, 4 (1999): 289“293.
7. Galinsky, Kim, and Bond, op. cit.
8. Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson, Tools for Creating Success in Your
Work and Life (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons, 2004).
9. Galinsky, Kim, and Bond, op. cit.
10. Randstad Workplace Report (Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2002).
11. True Careers Family and Work Survey (Reston, Va., 2002).
12. Radcliffe Public Policy Center research study, 2002.
13. Ibid.
14. Carol Hymowitz, ˜˜Bosses Need to Learn Whether They Inspire, or
Just Drive, Staffers,™™ Wall Street Journal, February 18, 1999.
15. Cited in ˜˜Business Briefs,™™ Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2000.
16. James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, Jr., and Leonard A. Schlesinger, The
Service-Pro¬t Chain: How Leading Companies Link Pro¬t and Growth to
Loyalty, Satisfaction, and Value (New York: Free Press, 1997).
17. Edward E. Lawler III, Treat People Right! How Organizations and Individ-
uals Can Propel Each Other into a Virtuous Spiral of Success (San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 2003).
18. Julia Boorstin, ˜˜The 100 Best Companies to Work For,™™ Fortune, Janu-
ary 12, 2004.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

21. Ruth Baum Bigus, ˜˜At This Company, It™s All About Bene¬ts,™™ Kan-
sas City Star, April 20, 2004.
22. ””” ˜˜Marketing Firm Tackles Nagging Issue of Burnout,™™ Kansas
City Star, August 28, 2001.
23. Mary E. Burke, Evren Essen, and Jessica Collison, ˜˜2003 Bene¬ts Sur-
vey,™™ SHRM/SHRM Foundation, June 2003.
24. Carol Kleiman, ˜˜Companies Assess Value of Work-Life Programs,™™
Omaha World-Herald, June 24, 2001.
25. Ibid.
26. Elayne Robertson Demby, ˜˜Do Your Family-Friendly Programs Make
Cents?™™ HR Magazine, January 2004.
27. Sue Shellenberger, ˜˜This Time, Firms See Work-Life Plans as Aid
During the Downturn,™™ Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2001.
28. Ruth Baum Bigus, ˜˜Firm™s Policies Are Aimed at Retaining Work-
ers,™™ Kansas City Star, May 15, 2001.
29. Charles Fishman, ˜˜Sanity Inc.,™™ Fast Company, January 1999.
30. Boorstin, op. cit.
31. Peter Simon, ˜˜No Fooling: Fun is Good for Business,™™ reprinted in
HRD KC 2000, June 26, 2000.
31. Ruth Baum Bigus, ˜˜Creating Bonds Between Far-Flung Workers,™™
Kansas City Star, July 17, 2001.
32. Boorstin, op. cit.
33. T. Rotondi, ˜˜Organizational Identi¬cation and Group Involvement,™™
Academy of Management Journal 18, 1975.
34. Matthew Boyle, ˜˜Beware the Killjoy,™™ Fortune, July 23, 2001.


Reason 7:
Loss of Trust and Con¬dence
in Senior Leaders
Business begins with
trust. . . . As companies
abandon bureaucratic
mechanisms, their leaders
need to understand that
trust is as important to
management as it is to
relationships with

— ”W® B®®©

Having reviewed so many issues and practices that lie mostlywithin the sphere
of managers to control or in¬‚uence, we now consider the special challenge
facing senior leaders”to create a culture of trust and integrity that strength-
ens the bonds of employee engagement. While this challenge is shared by
all managers and every employee, it is incumbent on senior leaders to set
the tone and the example.
The consulting ¬rm, Watson-Wyatt, which evaluates a company™s em-
ployment brand by its share performance, reports that companies with high
trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by 186 percent.1 If
the bonds of trust are weak, even the best efforts of gifted people managers
will not be enough to attract, engage, and keep the people needed for the
business to achieve its goals.
Here are the comments from Saratoga™s surveys that reveal the issues
that workers ¬nd most troubling about senior leaders in their organizations:
The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

Basic Lack of Trust and Integrity
• ˜˜No follow-up from upper management: Do what you say you™ll do
and don™t make promises you can™t keep.™™
• ˜˜The company asks lower-level employees to participate in commu-
nity service while upper management never does it themselves.™™
• ˜˜Trust is nonexistent within the company. You cannot believe any-
thing that management says. They withhold information from em-
• ˜˜Weak, unapproachable HR department. Most of the staff thinks
they are a joke. Nothing is ever kept in con¬dence. They have be-
trayed con¬dence before and the word has gotten out.™™

Isolated and Out of Touch with Day-to-Day Reality
• ˜˜I don™t think that upper management truly hears the voices and
opinions of the staff. They are de¬nitely not visible. Sometimes the
human factor is forgotten, at least with the production staff.™™
• ˜˜Take ideas from ¬eld teams who are a great deal closer to customers
and know what™s going on.™™
• ˜˜I don™t feel upper management really knows what is going on in
the lower levels when things start getting bad.™™
• ˜˜Upper management is ignorant of our day-to-day processes.™™

Greed and Self-Interest
• ˜˜Top management is nothing but greed personi¬ed.™™
• ˜˜High-powered managers were typically uninterested in anyone but
• ˜˜Very poor support of employee morale. They are more worried
about making money than anything.™™
• ˜˜Post-merger management is too focused on protecting their own
jobs, that they have ceased being both advocates for the employees
and the supervisors.™™

Lack of Concern and Appreciation for Workers
• ˜˜Upper management tends not to take employees needs into consid-
eration when deciding changes. They also convey the attitude that if
employees don™t like what is going on, they can just look elsewhere
for employment.™™


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