Although most employees strive to conduct themselves professionally and keep their work and personal lives separate, there may be periods in which they go through hard times that make it impossible to do so. As a manager, you have the power to make the situation a bit less stressful for your employee, which along with being the empathetic thing to do, will also prevent productivity and morale issues. Learn more with these three ways to help an employee going through a hard time:
Look for Warning Signs
Many employees don’t necessarily feel comfortable coming to their boss and letting them know about their difficult personal circumstances. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to get to know your employees, so you can sense when something is wrong. Be proactive in observing their behavior and any changes that indicate they may be struggling, such as increased absences, changes in mood, or difficulty meeting performance standards, like missing deadlines or making mistakes. Tread carefully – don’t pry for specifics, but you can ask them if everything is okay, and let them know you’re always available if they need to discuss anything with you.
Discuss Options for Workload
Often employees who are going through a hard time personally actually find comfort from the normalcy of their job, but just aren’t in the position to be as productive as usual. Once an employee has felt comfortable opening up to you about their situation, it may take a major weight off their shoulders for you to talk about logistics with them. Discuss options for flexibility with time off, working from home, or temporarily reducing their workload for a period of time. Communicate the fact that you want to help out of concern for them and because you value them as an employee, not because it’s inconveniencing you somehow.
Check in Regularly
It’s often the seemingly smallest actions that employees who are going through difficult personal times find the most comforting. Make it a priority to touch base and check in with them regularly to see how they are doing, whether during a weekly one-on-one meeting or just a quick email or an in-person chat. Doing so not only helps the employee feel acknowledged, but it is also a way to build a company culture that values being supportive of one another and truly being a team.
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