Research shows that team coaching can improve the work environment
Conversations between managers and employees are at the core of a method that can improve both the work environment, the wellbeing and presentation in the workplace. The method has been developed by our researchers who believe that group discussions on risk assessment are a simple way to prevent risks in the organisational and social work environment.
“It is about always staying one step ahead, mapping out and addressing the psychosocial prerequisites in an organisation already before someone gets sick. Employees need to be involved in the efforts through a close discussion with their manager. Managers in their turn must have the authority, resources and knowledge to be able to observe and implement changes together with their team to create a decent work environment,”says Rachael Tripney Berglund, doctoral student at MDU.
During the four-year research project which has been financed by AFA Insurance, researchers have investigated the variations in the psychosocial conditions between various parts of Volvo Construction Equipment’s operations. The employees in one department did a training course, after which they made a risk assessment of the department. In addition, the comparison group also did risk assessments, but without training, and these employees did therefore not have the same prerequisites for succeeding.
Solving work environment problems
“What we saw clearly was that the department, which was trained in psychosocial risk assessments and in managing a good discussion, showed an improved work environment already after six months. Even after one year, you could see a noticeable difference with the comparison group,” says Rachael Tripney Berglund.
The method developed is resource efficient and cost-effective, according to Rachael Tripney Berglund. It can be summarised in a concise handbook, “Förebyggande arbete med organisatoriska och sociala risker” (Prevention of organisational and social risks) (which you can download via this link External link.).
“For an organisation, this method of training and team coaching can contribute to solving the work environment problems at the level where they are best placed to be solved, i.e. in the teams. The work groups know what they need in order to thrive and perform well,” says Rachael Tripney Berglund.
Tips for managers and organisations from researchers to ensure a decent work environment:
- Management should set a good example and work systematically with the manager’s psychosocial work environment through training and risk assessment in close discussion with employees.
- They should work with mapping out the psychosocial work environment at the company departments before someone gets sick and thereafter work actively with the results. In this way you can work with the causes instead of staying at the same level of stress and manage the symptoms.
- Create time and space for regular and individual talks between managers and employees. It is important that the manager actively listens and has time to focus on their employee during the conversation to build trust.
- Let managers own the risk assessment for their employees. Make it clear that the managers are responsible for taking and implementing measures – the process where everyone participates is driven by the manager.
- Encourage managers to listen and let everyone in the group be involved in the work with the organisational and social risks. It is essential that the group produces and evaluates the measures on their own.