Persometrics offers physiological and psychometric profiling of individuals or groups. We propose businesses cost-effective stress management solutions that give customized programs whereby the individuals most at risk are given the most extensive follow-up. This contrasts with a stress management solution currently in place in many companies: a universal package which assumes that stress impacts everyone occupying that particular job the same way, coupled with expensive support of burned-out individuals after the fact. Experts in stress biomarker testing, we have developed early predictors of burnout and other stress-related illnesses, which in addition to benefiting your employees can save your company on absenteeism and staff turnover. We can assist in the hiring process by completing full personality assessments, and by developing stress profiles by means of biomarkers and questionnaires to make sure you hire or promote a candidate fit for the task. Currently only English and French reports and questionnaires are offered, but our consultants can communicate orally in German and Spanish if required.
Stress is the biggest cause of long-term absenteeism according to a UK employer survey (CIPD) and is identified as the Number 1 driver for staff turnover intention in a range of professions and industries, including international organizations (Giauque et al). A quarter of the Swiss workforce now say they are so stressed at work that they feel they are overwhelmed (SECO, 2016). This is detrimental to their health and happiness, causing significant absenteeism and reduced productivity; which in turn translates to worsened company reputation and investor relations and loss of profit for the business. Considering the impact of stress on both the company and its employees, most large companies today offer wellness services to their staff or at least have some stress management program in place for their employees.
What decision-makers all too often fail to realize is that there is no universal effect of stress. There is good stress and there is bad stress; and people are affected in different ways by the same stressors. For instance, weekly reviews with the boss may help a grounded and calm person stay on top of work duties (good stress/eustress), whereas the same intermittent meetings can cause counterproductive pressure for an individual high in trait anxiety and lead to consistent heightened stress levels due to this perceived increased work pressure (bad stress/distress). In fact, consider anxiety disorder alone, which is the most common of mental disorders and is estimated to affect more than 5% of the EU/EEA workforce (Wittchen, 2010). This disorder is highly predictive of how threatening an individual interprets a given situation. Because it is perceived stress that matters, and not just the stressor itself, we believe that one-size-fits-all stress management programs are far from cost effective and suggest instead to identify individuals that are more prone to stress and provide them with extensive support in the workplace.
Chronic stress is a silent killer: the effects can sneak up on the individual, who often does not realise the impact until it’s too late. It is also not always easy to capture information on how stressed your employees feel through questionnaires, which are not only time consuming but are plagued with social desirability biases. But hormones don’t lie. For this reason, Persometrics proposes to sample the salivary cortisol levels of individuals at your business at well-defined times to assess whether cortisol levels are at unsustainable levels for prolonged periods of time. Employees can decide whether to disclose their results to management or not; either way they will receive personalised advice on how to deal with their stress levels, which has the added value of reducing probability of stress-related absenteeism, productivity and employee turnover. The business will receive actionable advice based on test results. However, please note that Persometrics can not, and will not, compromise anonymity of test takers.
Burnout is probably the most famous stress-related illness, and it has devastating effects on tens of thousands of people in Switzerland each year, many of whom continue to struggle with physical symptoms and associated stigma in years to follow. Some professions are harder hit than others, especially "people helping professions". Other factors go hand in hand with burnout regardless of industry, such as quantitative and qualitative work overload, unmet expectations, feeling underappreciated; not having an influence of one’s position. Some of these predictors can be flagged by scoping the workplace. Others by placing the spotlight on the individuals themselves. For instance, there is a well-established link between burnout and the personality trait self-efficacy, and this may be down to a need for external validation of one’s own effort.
So, whilst employees generally expect organisations to recognise and reward good performance, some have a stronger need for such reassurance than do others and this can be quantified, and predicted. This also depends on the domain and hierarchy of the work. However, burnout ultimately involves a person-environment relationship between employee and their work. In other words, to study and prevent burnout in the workplace one must consider not only the employee and work settings individually but also how staff perceives the work environment and organisational constraints or threats to their personal resources, which involves quantitative and qualitative methods, individualised to the business or organisation. In our final report we provide a fingerprint of your business with full metrics of your current standing, together with recommendations for actions to take in order to decrease probabilities of burnout from occurring in the workplace, and how to comply with Swiss labour laws (LTr).
As experts of stress biomarker testing, Persometrics has developed a biomarker index that is an early predictor of burnout and other stress-related health issues. Each employee takes a saliva testing kit to their home and provides a sample in the morning at very specific times in relation to their awakening. The results and report with life-style advice are returned to the employee. Even though we adhere to strict confidentiality with the employee, the sponsor (employer) is guaranteed to get actionable feedback with results. This will include metrics on the employees, without compromising confidentiality. We suggest to follow up on individuals who have been deemed at risk through further testing at regular intervals to see if implemented changes to working conditions have been impactful. In addition to our recommendations for changes to work environment, employees obtain personalised reports on how to deal with abnormal stress hormone levels through life-style changes and individual confidential talks with our stress consultants if so required.
Persometrics offers tailored solutions in human profiling. With years of experience in experimental psychology (see our team’s merits ) we can obtain reliable indicators of general intelligence, IQ, working memory and personality traits both remotely or on-site. As stress consultants we can also help assess stress resilience and coping by a combination of hormonal testing and questionnaires during an intensified hiring process. It is quite natural, and even beneficial, for anyone to feel stressed during a stressful event. The stress response system is, after all, there to keep us alive. --What is important is how one handles the situation and how the hormone levels recover after the process is over. Each job is different and requires the ability to handle different stressors, whether it be the type, intensity or chronicity of the stressor; for this reason our stress consultants work closely with your hiring team to devise the best measures on how to ethically and safely mimic appropriate types of stress. Please contact us for more information.
The Persometrics team has extensive research project experience, both from academic and market research. We tailor surveys which can be hosted on our very own servers; see an example of what we are able to do by taking one of our free questionnaires, such as our ever-popular Five-factor Personality Questionnaire.