Everyone has problems and personal struggles. As an insurance agency, we know just how costly and devastating many of these issues can be. Keeping your employees healthy and happy is a huge issue, especially in our modern age.
Many adults are undergoing mental or emotional struggles that they may be hesitant to talk about. These issues can include alcoholism, divorce, depression, or even anxiety.
If you're an employer, it's vital that you remain sensitive to these issues and concerns. Learning how to care for your employees properly is tricky. How can you reach out and assist your team members without overstepping? Should you reach out personally? Here's what you need to know.
Make sure you pay attention to the normal behavior and production levels of each of your team members. Sometimes a lack of enthusiasm at work, angry outbursts, or even failure to show up can indicate a personal problem at home.
This could be alcoholism. As The Recovery Village describes it, alcoholism “can manifest in different ways, but some things to look for are: noticeable weight loss or gain, chronic bloodshot or watery eyes, heavy perspiration without physical activity, smell of alcohol, looking puffy or bloated, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination or balance, increased bruising, changes in skin complexion, and frequent complaints of stomach pain, nausea, or heartburn.”
Regardless of the issue, it's crucial that you pay close attention to your team members. If someone does come to you with a problem, make sure you acknowledge the issue and address it with the staff member. Depending on the type of issue, they may need time off from work to work through their situation.
If someone does come to you and express that they are struggling with a problem, make sure you offer options. For example, if a staff member is going through a particularly nasty divorce and they need a few days off for court, aim to be as accommodating as possible.
You may also talk to them about their schedule at work. Perhaps you can change their hours, days, or responsibilities, even if it's temporary, to help them through this particular time. You may also want to suggest they seek help to deal with their issue. If your organization offers counseling or health services, you can refer them.
Create a Plan
One of the most important things you can do to help an employee through a difficult period is to help them create a plan for moving forward. While there’s nothing wrong with facing a problem, such as alcoholism or anxiety, it is important to seek assistance for these issues.
It’s important to note that employees won’t always bring up their issues to you. As Lexology points out, “[employees] may be unwilling to disclose any private, medical information to an employer for fear of stigma or other reasons.” As an employer, it’s your responsibility to make them feel able to talk to you about things like this.
If you have a team member who is unable to perform their duties, it's time to talk with them about finding professional help, taking time off from work, or possibly changing positions. Sit down with your team member and have an honest talk about how they plan to move forward and, more importantly, how you can help them to do so.
It's not easy being a supervisor. Helping your team face their issues can be tricky, challenging, and frustrating. You may feel anxious or embarrassed when you're helping someone through a difficult time; however, it's vital that you give them honest, reasonable advice they can work with.
Never shy away from addressing a problem, mainly when it may affect other team members at work. Instead, talk with anyone who is struggling to find out how you can help them through this challenging time and what accommodations they may need to move forward.