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How are Work Stressors scored?

An average figure is calculated for each question and category. The scores range from 0 to 4. A lower score indicates poor performance or a potential problem area. Scores are normalised.

Work stressors are then benchmarked. Your scores are compared to other organisations which have completed the survey. The benchmark comparison group consists of a dynamic sample of data from Irish employees and organisations. The scores are then colour-coded depending on how well your organisation’s results compare.

The scoring benchmarks developed for each question and work stressor category are presented as colour coded percentiles:


  • RED – Your department/service scored in the bottom 20% - urgent action is required.
  • AMBER – Your department/service scored below average (between 20% and 50%)  - improvement needed.
  • BLUE – Your department/service scored above average (between 50% and 80%) – good, but there is the potential for improvement.
  • GREEN – Your department/service scored in the top 20%  - an excellent result – try to maintain performance.


Benchmarked scores are particularly useful as they allow organisations to identify opportunities for improvement. For example, you may feel your organisation has scored well in a particular work category (e.g. Role), however if your peers (i.e. other organisations) are all performing better there is clearly an opportunity to consider improvement.


Why are the scoring thresholds different for different Work Stressors? (KPIs)

We are often asked ‘Why does 65 score in the red category for ‘Role’ but in the green category for ‘Demands?’ It is important to remember that benchmark scores vary from category to category and from question to question. For example, the average response for the Control category (76) may be higher than the average response for the Demands category (64). Therefore, it may be possible to score 70 in each category and be above average in one yet below average in the other. The percentile boundaries as well as the averages vary for each Work Stressor. Please note that scores are useful to compare with past results and to benchmark against other companies but cannot be meaningfully compared across different categories.


Interpreting Workplace stressors results

The Work Stressors questions do not indicate there is a problem. They indicate the presence of conditions that may lead to a problem. This is an important distinction to make. Even when the data appear to suggest clear hot spots, it is important to assess this further with employees. You will need to share and discuss the outcomes of the survey and other data collected with employees, and explore any issues raised in more detail.


Scoring psychological wellbeing

This additional section has been included in the Work PositiveCI to assess employee wellbeing levels and it assesses both negative and positive aspects of employee wellbeing. An index was created through a combination of two validated tools - the PHQ4, a screening tool for psychological distress and the WHO-5 Well-being Index . The scales were combined through the categorisation of the threshold score values to create a ‘traffic light’ summary score (‘Green’, ‘Amber’ and ‘Red’).


Work PositiveCI assesses the causal factors and consequences of poor psychosocial working conditions, but does so within a positive framework. It identifies possible work factors that can be improved and impact the health and wellbeing of those working there. By adopting a positive framework the message communicated to the workforce should be that of identifying potential hazards and putting in place controls – psychosocial risk assessment.


Exposure to Critical Incidents

While there are many stressors that are common to most workplaces, there are some that are specific to certain job types. The Work PositiveCI survey contains CISM sectorial specific audit questions for individual participants to indicate the frequency and scale of experiences of critical incidents encountered within their job and the types of support measures that may be most helpful.