Some managers believe that employee personal issues are irrelevant in regards to how a person performs at work. It would be great if employees could truly leave all problems at the door when walking into work. However, this isn’t the reality of life in the workplace.

Each employee is different and this means each one needs to be treated in a different way. Some employees never need help with personal issues. Others do need this type of help when something happens in their personal life that causes great strife.

This means it’s a part of management’s job to get to know each employee, make sure they are overall happy in life, and to work toward helping that employee if the signs of personal trouble show up at work. Here are tips to help struggling employees.

Listen to Employees

Sometimes the simple act of listening to an employee does wonders. Some people simply need to vent and get some frustrations off their chest, so to speak.

However, there’s a difference between listening and trying to solve a person’s problems for them. There’s nothing you can do as a manager to solve your employee’s issues at home or elsewhere. It’s up to them to ultimately find the solution.

Refer to Appropriate Resources

Although you can give a little advice here and there, your personal tips probably aren’t the best way to get help for your employee. Instead, it’s better to steer them toward a preacher, friends and/or family, professional counselor, or possibly a Utah addiction recovery center.

Don’t be afraid to relate your own story if you ever ran into a similar experience in the past. You might explain how you solved the issue. However, make sure that as you relate this story about you that you keep all the focus on the employee’s current situation. It’s not about you. It’s about making sure they understand how to get help for themselves at this time.

Again, don’t try to solve the problem for them. Direct all your efforts at gently leading them in a direction where they find their own solution to their personal problems.

Accommodate Temporary Needs

If an employee needs some sort of special treatment on a short-term basis, be willing to provide them this type of leeway. Come to an agreement on how long these special accommodations will last and ensure the employee is clear on this agreement.

Working Location/Hours Flexibility

In terms of special accommodations, this is probably the easiest area where you can make concessions. Maybe they need a little time off in the short-term. You may use their sick time or vacation pay, if available.

If the problem is likely to persist for a longer time period, then maybe a different work schedule can solve the immediate issue. This may come in the form of allowing the employee to come in an hour or two later than normal, or leave earlier at the end of the day. Possibly, allowing the employee to work from home on particular days is required. Sit down and talk through the various alternatives that may help lessen stress on your employee.

Offer a Different Temporary Assignment

Is there possibly a different position within the company that the employee can work in for now? This is more extreme in terms of the latitude you allow this person but it might end being quite effective.

Perhaps a person in management can temporarily take on a less demanding position while someone else temporarily steps in at that position for them. Or, if the employee going through the difficult situation travels a lot for the company, maybe someone can take over these duties for now.

Be Clear About the Situation

Always be crystal clear that all temporary adjustments are just that: temporary. Your employee should know that if these temporary changes last too long, then they may need to become permanent at some time in the future. Don’t threaten them, of course. Just let them know you want to help the best you can while also looking out for the company and other employees.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Stay in touch with this employee as their situation continues to develop. Make sure they are doing everything they need to do to find their ultimate solution to their problem.

Use the above tips to help any employee going through a tough personal situation to discover a solution and work toward its completion. Remember that you can’t expect to use an employee’s strength to the advantage of the company without sometimes needing to be there to pick them up when they struggle.

 

by: Angela Pattridge