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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit   Dealing with Stress in the Workplace 2.10.0   Reality Check on Frustration, Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout [2.10.g]

Reality Check on Frustration, Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout [2.10.g]

  • Roadblock Myth: Some may think that frustration, stress or burnout is unimportant when it comes to retention issues within your organization. 
  • Reality Check: According to a recent survey by, “poor employee experience” with employers can trigger workers to leave (often within a year and a half); if the experience is positive, workers stay longer (at least three-and-a-half years). The 700 survey respondents cited pay, the quality of project work, and work/life balance as the most important factors in retention.” [1] 
  • Roadblock Myth: Stress is an undeniable part of our work lives and we just have to accept it.
  • Reality Check: The American Psychological Association's 2007 Stress in America survey illustrates the problem of work-related stress and retention: 52 percent of Americans have considered or made a career decision—such as looking for another job or rejecting a promotion—based on workplace stress. Fifty-five percent ofemployees report lower productivity when they are stressed, 50 percent believe stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives, 33 percent experience stress from balancing work and family, and 35 percent ofAmericans say jobs that interfere with family or personal time are a significant source of stress. Nearly 75 percent of people consider their job a very significant or somewhat significant source of stress, up from 59 percent in 2006.
  • Roadblock Myth: Behavioral health workers are well equipped to work through the stress.
  • Reality Check: According to a 2006 report from Australia’s National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), national surveys of frontline AOD workers across Australia stated that the most satisfying aspects of AOD work were derived from “altruistic factors, such as client outcomes, one-to-one client interactions, and doing work that was of value to society.” The report also states that nearly one in five workers reported above-average levels of stress. According to NCETA, predictors of high work stress were role overload (21%), low job autonomy (6%), high client-related pressure (4%), low workplace social support (3%), and low professional development opportunities (1%). Additionally, as American research has also found, high work stress was strongly associated with low levels of job satisfaction.

[1] Krantz, G. (07/03/07). Retention experts struggling to keep best and brightest. Workforce Management Quick Takes, July 3, 2007, Retrieved October 24, 2007, from     

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