How to Help an Employee through Difficult Personal Issues
October 9 2019 - It is normal for people to deal with life issues that affect their working performance from time to time - whether this is a divorce, the death of a family member, or mental health conditions.
During these difficult periods, employers must be understanding and focus on ways to support their staff and maintain performance in the workplace. You should keep in mind that happy and healthy workers will be far more productive in the workplace, which will have an obvious positive impact on sales and revenue potential.
With this in mind, here are some useful ways to help an employee through difficult personal issues.
Often, people feel uncomfortable telling their manager that they're experiencing some difficulty in their personal lives. They may feel embarrassed or think that you won't be interested in their personal circumstances. Help your employees feel more comfortable by having an open door, and making yourself available to speak to employees. If a usually conscientious employee starts to miss deadlines and appears stressed or overwhelmed at work, then meet with them and have a discussion to get to the root of the problem.
Remember that investing time in building good relationships with employees will help you detect any warning signs and identify when an employee is going through a difficult time. Check-in on your employees by speaking with them or sending them an email. This shows you care and will also allow you to check how they're coping.
Take the time to listen
If an employee comes to you to discuss difficulties in their life, you must take the time to listen to their issues and show an interest in their situation. Obviously, you want to show empathy, but at the same time, you must remain professional and avoid becoming an employee's confidant.
Make sure that you listen to your employee's struggles before offering advice. Consider how you can work together to support your employee and address the issue of performance during this time. For instance, if your employee is going through a difficult divorce, then you may suggest that they speak to a reputable lawyer to get expert legal advice on the divorce process. Whereas, you could suggest that an employee visits their health care provider to get guidance if they are suffering from a suspected mental health condition.
Take a far approach
When an employee is struggling with a stressful situation like divorce, you usually have the option to offer them paid leave. This gives them the chance to relax, heal and return to work feeling re-energised when the time is right.
Taking a compassionate approach should have a positive effect on employee satisfaction and overall productivity in the workplace. However, it's important to remember that other employees will expect the same treatment if they suffer hardship. For that reason, you must take a fair approach and apply this evenly across your workforce. Always avoid offering one employee more than you could offer others, as this is likely to lead to problems later on.