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Manage stress to optimize employee performance

If your employees are too stressed, they're probably not happy on the job or performing at their top capacity.

If your employees are too stressed, they're probably not happy on the job or performing at their top capacity. According to Forbes magazine, maintaining just the right amount of stress is the key to success. Employee rewards and recognition programs can be a useful tool in creating the right balance.

Forbes explained that intermittent periods of moderate stress can be beneficial to performance and professional growth. It's the constant, highly intense stress that can be physically damaging and hinder employees from being productive. Times Union mentioned that lowering stress is one of the top factors in employee engagement, referring to the type of stress that causes excessive worry and anxiety. Eliminating situations that cause stress altogether can result in boredom and a lack of interest, Forbes cautioned, neither of which is conducive to employee engagement. In fact, studies have shown that optimal productivity occurs under a moderate level of stress, when workers feel challenged and motivated but not overwhelmed.

It's not difficult to see how reward and recognition programs can foster this positive type of stress. Setting goals with incentives can add a little pressure and mix things up to keep workers interested and challenged. Fostering a culture of appreciation can help to offset intermittent periods of greater stress and provide a supportive community that provides positive outlets for anxiety, Forbes suggested.

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