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Stress in the Workplace

Creating well corporations that reduce stress and increase productivity.

Returning to the workforce in 2016 from 5 years as an entrepreneur was quite the adjustment. Things in corporate America and the nonprofit sector didn’t disappoint with being the exact same as I remember leaving them, cold, calculating, and difficult to navigate for the vast majority of employees. Armed with previous experience, this time, I was ready for the toxic environment most corporate cultures have encouraged and embraced.

Accepting a position with an international nonprofit as a Sales Director, I was tasked with increasing revenue and building a solid sales team in the most non-sales environment I’ve ever worked for. How non-sales? My support staff, weren’t considered to be sales support, but rather transaction drones, though I was the sales director, and the sales team, was the front line of sales.

This non-profit, was both the furtherest thing from a true sales environment and a nonprofit. As the last national nonprofit organization I worked for raised most of their money (approximately 95%) thru grants, and private fundraising, this one, only received about 5% grant money; leaving 95% to be made through sales generating tools like membership, classes, and personal training. A taxing and daunting task for an organization who:

  1. No longer practices what it preaches aka it’s core values.
  2. Offers little to no sales support.
  3. Offers little to no easement into their corporate culture.
  4. Finds a constant employee turnover with sales directors.

This culture was allegedly devaluing people by being fired/pushed out for matters seeming personal in nature, rather based on performance, and lack of support from upper management. Additionally, employees were quitting because they feel unsupported both from a training and fundamental holistic perspective. Mainly, after speaking with a few, feel as though they were sold a soiled dream.

It’s a hard adjustment, moving from a space of leadership, to employment and an even harder space to be in when you find the best way to survive is to dumb down to people who are intimidated by “the way you walk into a room” (a serious accusation brought against me), and have basic, at best, understanding of your area of expertise. One would hope for supervisors and bosses who would embrace such a seasoned professional, but one by one, they left. Rumors lingering in the air, the true answer to the question I asked before accepting the position, “why were there so many positions available with your organization,” was finally being revealed.

As if the task of performance isn’t stressful enough in sales, dealing with the chaos and lack of support piles on more stress. Let’s face it…America is stressed out!

In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, the number one cause of stress in the US? Job Pressure. An overwhelming 50% of those stressed are accounting for psychological symptoms of anger exhibiting as a result of it. Combined with financial pressure, and relationship issues, all these occurrences lead to health issues, which round out the top four spots of reasons why we’re so stressed!

Is it too much to ask to work for an employer who appreciates you? See your value?

My father’s generation were able to work in a time where employers maintained some level of loyalty and appreciation. Now, it’s safe to assume, as employees undergo more and more stress, performance is affected, thus having the adverse reaction that one could possibly want or expect in a work place. With so many people teaching you leave work at work, and home at home, it’s hard to when the alarm rings in the morning, your gut wrenches and anxiety floods over your entire body.

Has Human Resources failed us? Indeed they must have. Toeing the line in which to “help” employees with adverse working environments, all the while ultimately protecting the interest of the corporation to mitigate potential law suits. It’s not against the law for them to not like you. In fact, it’s not against the law for your employer to harass you, make your life a living stressful environment; I found myself in the middle of the fire daily, referring to Thursday as “write-up Thursday”.

According to wikipedia, one of the competencies of the human resources department is to “bring out the best work ethic” within the corporate culture. As we continue to see the polluted and muddied waters of toxic workplaces, when will corporate cultures undergo a long over do corporate cleanup?

In fact, studies show, productivity suffers as absenteeism increases, as the toxic workplace drains employees of morale, desire, and enthusiasm about the company for whom they were once excited to work. As employers show less and less support and loyalty, so do employees; resulting in them playing leap frog with the corporate world in order to find a place where their voice is valued and appreciated.

Employer health care costs continue to rise, as an overwhelming amount of illnesses are stress induced, according to the American Institute for Stress. Curable issues like, depression, high blood pressure, weight gain, migraines, digestive issues, and more could all be significantly reduced according to WebMD, thus improving your overall mood, function and productivity in life and at work.

From Los Angeles, to Denver, to Dallas and NYC, I’ve heard countless stories of employees who are fed up and disgruntle, hurt, emotionally drained and stressed out! As if being hours away from your family to provide isn’t stressful enough, waking up to a job that doesn’t celebrate you, and your unique qualities they in fact hired you for, makes you want to hit the snooze button more, or call out frequently, thus lowering production, and effecting a businesses bottom line.

If research suggests it is far cheaper to engage and demonstrate loyalty to employees, then why aren’t more corporations both nonprofit and for profit, taking measures to create well communities thus establishing environments people feel productive and capable to be what you need them to be and more?

At what point, do corporations look to building relationships with employees and clients alike? Instead of looking to solely build more profit, not understanding the correlation of building better environments take less capital, less effort, and will have a better effect they could imagine on their bottom line.

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