Stress Management

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Stress Management

Evidence-Based Organisation Change ...

TimelessTime consultants are reliable in delivery and thorough in research and investigation. I particularly like the fact that their work is always thoroughly reviewed and conclusions are evidence based.

HR Director, Leading UK Charity

The Client and Their Requirements

Our client, a leading national charity, was busy implementing significant change in its operational systems. Part of this change was an upgrade in its accounting software.

On the face of it, this upgrade was simple enough. The charity had bought the upgrade on a supply-only basis - a logical decision considering the previous stability of past software enhancements. The alternative would have been to buy on a more costly supply, instal and verify contract.

Typically when purchasing software, a leading user is appointed as liaison between users and the vendor. One of the principal accountants took on this job, agreeing to do her 'day job' whilst acting as coordinator for bug fixes and for upgrade compliance.

The Challenges

The upgrade did not go to plan. The enhanced software had a string of bugs which, when fixed, broke other functionality. The bug management went into melt-down and the principal accountant found herself working into the night to keep up with the workload.

She then went off work long-term with stress , exhibiting classic physiological symptoms.

As the principal accountant commented, "I tried to get bugs resolved by the vendor, but it was impossible to break the cycle of bug after bug. And I was the only person managing the implementation. Typically there were 60 major bugs and 10 minor bugs at any one time."

At that point, TimelessTime was asked to assist.

Our Approach

As John Berry, consultant at TimelessTime commented, "I used the HSE Management Standards Indicator Tool - not as a data gathering questionnaire as intended, but as a prompt and guide to a qualitative interview with the principal accountant."

It became clear from that interview that there were several easily identified causes of the stress.

The root cause was that the charity had bought the software update on a supply-only basis. Neither the vendor nor the charity's own IT department took any responsibility for implementation and subsequent system acceptance. It was down to the principal accountant.

There were several secondary issues spanning weak management support (caused in turn by a change in manager), a poor diagnosis of stress and lack of colleague support (caused by a stove-piping of roles).

The Results

As John commented, "The principal accountant's HSE scores showed squarely that her problems were imbalance in the demands of her enlarged job and resources she brought to it. Management also provided her with little support. Using a modicum of analytics, a solution was easily developed and put in place to anable the principal accountant to cope."

By using the HSE tool as a basis for a much more robust qualitiative analysis it was possible to deteine the key issues under the six management standards. By addressing these issues and implementing interventions the principal accountant was able to return to work. A phased return ensured that she was supported in manging both her workload and the project whilst she built back up to her normal working hours.

I regard TimelessTime consultants as highly innovative in the way they solve problems.

HR Director, Leading UK Charity