At some point in their career, every manager will face the challenge of how best to approach an employee who appears to be weighed down by personal struggles. How you manage the situation and communicate with the employee can often mean the difference between supporting a colleague and helping them to become productive again and losing an employee.
However, every person is different and it can be extremely challenging to gauge the situation and discern what the best move to make would be. Below are a few steps to try when you need to approach an employee who appears to be upset, downbeat or losing their way.
Open the lines of communication
One of the easiest and best things you can do is to open the lines of communication. Even if you do not have a close relationship with the employee, it can be hugely beneficial to let them know that you are aware that they may not be feeling well and that you are there to talk with them when needed.
Many employees are afraid to speak with their manager about what is going on in their life, and their privacy should be respected. However, they may feel more comfortable speaking with someone from Human Resources who perhaps has more experience working with employees who are feeling stressed or who need a few days off work to collect themselves.
If your company offers counseling services or the company’s insurance plan includes therapy, it is worth taking the time to remind the employee that there are a number of different services available to them.
Consider the benefits of a flexible schedule
If an employee has opened up and told you that they are struggling with depression or a problem in their life, it is worth considering giving them the option of a flexible schedule. Taking steps such as increasing flexibility and allowing a struggling employee some leeway on metrics for the month are small things that create a supportive workplace.
Oftentimes these measures are fairly insignificant for the company itself, but they can make a huge difference for the particular employee and make the individual feel supported and cared for by the company.
Promote healthy living and wellness
Another way to help maintain a positive work environment is through promoting healthy living and physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace. This can be done in a thousand different ways but providing a health-positive working environment is one good way to generally boost employee moods and motivation.
Employers may also want to invest in drug testing products as drug and alcohol testing can be necessary for certain roles and sectors. If an employee appears upset or depressed, or they are repeatedly coming to work under the influence, using drug testing products is one way to help the employee confront their problem head-on. From that point, they are more likely to be able to work on their problem.