As a business owner or entrepreneur, you likely want to do everything in your power to support your employees. After all, they are the ones who help make your business run smoothly on a day-to-day basis. And employees also want to feel like they have a supportive work environment.
Unfortunately, there will be times when employees go through difficult personal situations, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, or an illness in the family. These types of events can take a toll on someone both emotionally and mentally, and they can impact their work performance.
You may not always know the best way to show your support, but here are five ways you can provide much-needed assistance and boost morale in the process.
1. Keep The Lines Of Communication Open
One of the best things you can do is keep the lines of communication open. This way, if an employee is struggling with something, they feel comfortable coming to you and sharing what’s going on. You can then offer advice and resources accordingly.
For example, you might suggest they take some time off to deal with the issue at hand. Or, you could connect them with an employee assistance program that offers counseling services. The key is to make sure your employees know you’re there for them and that you’re willing to help however you can.
This could go a long way because, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), when employees feel like they can talk to their boss about personal problems, they are more likely to be engaged and productive at work.
2. Recommend Legal Assistance for Relevant Cases
Sometimes, personal problems spill over into the workplace. If an employee is going through a custody battle, for example, they may need to take time off for court appearances or to deal with other legal matters.
If this is the case, you may want to recommend they seek out legal assistance. An experienced custody lawyer can help them understand their rights and options, and they can provide guidance on how to proceed. For instance, the lawyer could help them negotiate a parenting schedule that works for both parties involved.
You could also offer to cover the cost of legal services as a way to show your support. This would be especially appreciated if the employee is going through a tough financial situation. Sometimes, there’s a need to invest a little to save a lot later.
3. Encourage A Healthy Work/Life Balance
When employees are going through difficult times, it’s easy for them to get bogged down and feel like they’re never going to get ahead. As their employer, it’s important to encourage a healthy work/life balance, so they don’t burn out. This may mean being flexible with hours or allowing them to take a mental health day every now and then.
This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but it’s important to remember that employees who feel like they have balanced work and personal lives are more productive and engaged. Plus, if you’re flexible with your employees during their time of need, they’ll be more likely to return the favor down the road.
So, if an employee comes to you and says they need to leave early for, let’s say, a doctor’s appointment, don’t hesitate to approve the request. It’ll show them you care about their well-being and that you’re willing to work with them.
4. Be Understanding And Compassionate
Remember that everyone copes with difficult situations differently. Some people may need time off work to deal with things, while others may find that being at work helps them take their minds off of things. As an employer, it’s important to be understanding and compassionate so that your employees feel supported no matter how they choose to deal with their challenges.
For example, if an employee is going through the death of a loved one, they may need to take some time off to deal with the emotional fallout. However, they may not want to talk about what’s going on. In this case, simply checking in from time to time to see how they’re doing can go a long way.
On the other hand, an employee who is dealing with a divorce may want to talk about what’s going on. In this case, listening and offering support can be helpful. Just be sure not to pry or give unsolicited advice. The bottom line is that you should let your employees lead the way when it comes to how much they want to share about their personal lives.
5. Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
If you don’t already have one in place, consider offering employee assistance programs (EAPs). These programs provide confidential counseling services for employees who are dealing with personal or work-related problems. Having an EAP in place shows your employees that you care about their well-being and want to help them through tough times.
In addition to providing EAPs, you can also offer training and resources on stress management. This will teach your employees how to better cope with difficult situations and prevent burnout down the road. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!
No one is immune from tough times — not even your employees. As their employer, it’s important to do what you can to support them when they’re going through a tough patch. By keeping the lines of communication open, providing legal assistance, encouraging a healthy work/life balance, being understanding and compassionate, and offering EAPs, you can show your employees that you care about their well-being and want to help them through whatever challenges they’re facing.