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Preventing stress in the public sector

The negative effects of stress in the workplace are well known: increased sickness and absenteeism, decreased productivity and avoidable, costly mistakes. And these are not restricted to front-line staff, they are evident all levels within organisations.

Unfortunately, the prevention and management of stress can no longer be seen as a nicety. In November 2004, the Health & Safety Executive published their “Management standards for work-related stress”. The standards are voluntary but the HSE has indicated that they will be used as evidence against employers that continue to ignore their responsibilities in managing stress under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Whilst it would be practically impossible to eradicate all sources of work-place stress, there are a number of interventions that can help to minimise them. H2 offers a range of relevant, effective and cost-effective training and coaching topics that can be used to provide staff with the support and skills needed to deal with the most common causes of work-place stress:


Relevant courses and coaching topics from H2 (click on a topic for details):

Assertive communication

In order to achieve maximum potential, individuals need to develop an ability to communicate clearly and effectively. This requires a high level of self-awareness and sensitivity to the impact of their behaviour on others - as well as an ability to respond confidently and professionally in a range of situations, including those that are difficult or stressful.

This course will enable delegates to develop specific communication techniques that will be invaluable in a wide range of workplace situations. It covers the three main categories of behaviour within the assertiveness model: passive, aggressive and assertive and will give the opportunity to develop skills in dealing confidently and professionally with colleagues, suppliers and customers. The course uses self-analysis tools and practical examples, and explores how to become more assertive in challenging workplace situations.

Career development

Organisations clearly benefit from having individuals who deliberately plan their careers, and pursue opportunities to grow their current job. Career Development Training from H2 will provide participants with the frameworks and inspiration to work out what they want from their careers. It will enable them to discover how to get to where they want to go; to formulate their own goals and ambitions and to seek higher levels of job satisfaction. It is particularly recommended for anyone who feels that they aren’t getting what they want from their career, or anyone looking at improving their career prospects.

Change management

Organisational and structural changes are common throughout the Public Sector. Whilst they are often essential, the effects of change an uncertainty are known to undermine the morale and performance of staff. Poor management of change can lead to employees feeling anxious about their employment status, new work responsibilities, new managers/work teams, new hours, working further from home or in a new environment. This course will assist participants to understand the impact of change on individuals, and they will learn how to gain commitment to planned changes through improved communication.

Conflict management

Public Sector staff are increasingly having to deal with difficult incidents and conflict at work. Without support and training in positive conflict management, these incidents are likely to cause them stress and declining morale. H2 Conflict Management training will enable course participants to deal more professionally, confidently and calmly with difficult encounters. It will provide explanations and practice of the essential skills needed to manage potentially damaging situations, both safely and professionally.

Customer care

Good customer service is the basis for sustained increases organisational success. This course will enable participants to meet the ever-increasing needs of their customers, and can be developed from a range of modules to meet your exact requirements. The course will use a range of relevant, powerful and motivating activities that draw on participants’ own experiences and generate ideas to make improvements to the way they work with and respond to their customers, including handling ‘difficult’ customers and dealing effectively with complaints.

Dealing with difficult relationships at work

Increasing numbers of people have to deal with difficult relationships at work. If the issue is left un-addressed, it is likely to cause severe stress, poor performance and declining morale. This course will enable participants to deal more professionally, confidently and calmly with difficult encounters at work. It will provide explanations and practice of the essential skills needed to manage potentially dangerous or damaging situations, both safely and professionally.

Influencing skills

More and more organisations are moving towards team-based, rather than hierarchical structures. This means that there is a greater emphasis on communication and negotiation across the organisation, than on positional status. Influencing Skills training from H2 will enable participants to practice the necessary skills to fulfil their personal objectives, whilst maintaining strong, long-lasting professional relationships. It is particularly recommended for anyone required to manage, to motivate or to influence their colleagues, customers or suppliers.

Managing your manager

Effective management depends on the development and maintenance of a productive two-way relationship. This will only happen both people understand each other’s roles and responsibilities, and have an ability to create a positive working dynamic. This course will enable participants to consider their own responsibilities towards their manager, and to discover how they can play an effective part in ensuring a working relationship that is rewarding for themselves, their manager, their team and the organisation as a whole.

Management & supervision for new managers

New managers are often required to combine their management and supervision role with demanding operational responsibilities. And yet, ask anyone with a manager, and they’ll probably tell you that effective supervision and management can often make the difference between mutually beneficial/productive involvement, and an experience that is less than satisfactory for both parties.

This packed and practical 2-day course will enable delegates to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve results through the effective management and supervision of staff. It will help to break down their responsibilities into easily achievable stages of development, and to approach their new role with confidence.

Negotiation skills

The development of on-going relationships is key to any successful organisation. Unless negotiations achieve a win-win outcome, it is likely that such relationships will break down over time. This training from H2 will demystify the process and the underlying core skills of effective negotiation. It will give participants the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to become effective negotiators, in a wide range of face-to-face and telephone situations.

Stress management

The negative effects of stress in the workplace are well known: increased sickness and absenteeism, decreased productivity and avoidable, costly mistakes. Conversely, many people thrive on a degree of positive stress to keep motivated and productive. Successful companies are usually those that manage to strike the right balance between the two. This course provides the support and practical assistance to manage stress in the workplace, by introducing powerful and flexible tools for use by both individuals and teams within the organisation.

Time management

The workplace is becoming ever more demanding and hectic, resulting in increasing time pressures and levels of stress. Developing skills in time management can have a real impact on productivity, and can help to ensure that individuals and teams remain healthy and motivated. This course provides delegates with the practical support to maximise efficiency and productivity. It also shows delegates how to minimise stress for themselves and others, by managing their own and/or their team's time effectively.

Working under pressure

Learning how to work under pressure has become a necessity in today’s workplace. This H2 course will provide the support and practical assistance to help participants to manage their time, tasks, relationships and stress at work.


Other relevant services provided by H2 (click for details):

Self-report inventory (psychometric testing)

We offer the option to participants on relevant courses/coaching sessions to participate in a comprehensive pre-course test that measures critical stress, lifestyle management and coping scales. The test involves individuals completing an on-line questionnaire on a range of behaviours and cognitive styles that have been found to contribute to stress-related problems. The areas covered are:

• Work/Life Stress
• Health Habits
• Social Support Network
• Type A Behaviour
• Cognitive Hardiness
• Coping Style
• Psychological Well-Being

The tool then generates a comprehensive feedback report for the trainer/coach and for each participant. This summarises the results and provides information for optimising the ability to deal with stress and cope under pressure. Although not essential for the running of any of our courses, completion of the test enables us to provide targeted interventions in which we work with participants, explaining and exploring the results and looking at practical ways of improving their scores in each area.


In support of the 2004 “Management standards for work-related stress” H2 offers to work with organisations to take preventative measures through a stress risk assessment. Depending on the specific requirements, we will conduct an employee attitude survey, about how satisfied staff are with their jobs. The audit will cover the following areas:

  1. Demands – Whether staff feel they can cope with the demands of the job, including the work pattern, workloads and working environment
  2. Control – Whether staff feel they have an adequate say over how work is done
  3. Support – Whether staff feel they have adequate resources and support from the organisation, colleagues and managers
  4. Roles – How well staff understand their roles and responsibilities, and whether the organisation ensures that they avoid conflicting roles
  5. Relationships – Whether the staff feel that the organisation promotes positive working practices, helps to avoid unnecessary conflict, and deals with effectively with unacceptable behaviours
  6. Change – Whether staff feel that organisational changes are managed and communicated effectively.

Where problems are identified, we can help organisations to consult with staff about possible solutions, and to put in place an action plan that details the steps to be taken (such as additional training for managers and front-line staff), and a timescale for on-going review.


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