~by Brooke Chaplan~
Everyone experiences life hardships from time to time. These circumstances are just a natural part of life. Unfortunately, many employees feel they must choose between keeping their job and handling their business during times of hardship. As a business owner, it’s important that you show concern for the health and well-being of your employees, rather than contributing to their stress.
With employee hardships, there are a few ways you can show your support in a professional way:
1. Offer Counseling Services
One way to show your support is by offering an employee assistance program. These programs are designed to help employees through personal and emotional issues in a confidential and cost-effective way. Most programs offer a wealth of online resources as well as a call center for immediate and 24 hour support. Many programs will even offer a certain amount of counseling sessions at no cost to the employee. Consider incorporating this benefit into your overall benefits package and communicating this option to all of your employees. It’s a feature that can make all the difference to a struggling staff member.
2. Create Time-Off Policies
Another successful strategy is to create a policy permitting time off for mental rest, grief or other life trauma. This policy should outline a consistent, fair and manageable process for requesting time off for dealing with personal matters. Your policy should outline the amount of time off, the process for requesting it, and a clause about the employee’s job security during this time off. These parameters will help ensure the policy is not abused. Your staff will appreciate this considerate and understanding gesture.
3. Create a Culture of Confidentiality
Confidentiality is crucial to an employee’s trust and relief. You’ll want to design an overall culture of confidentiality within your group. Provide training to your human resources staff and take measures to ensure this confidentiality is being honored. Your employees will feel much better about bringing pertinent issues to your attention if they know the information will be held in confidence.
4. Develop a Wellness Program
While you may not always be able to offer advice or time off, there are other ways you can help combat stressful life situations. Exercise has been proven to improve mood, reduce blood pressure and alleviate stress. Offering employee discounts at a local gym or encouraging healthy habits through a corporate wellness program may help your employees naturally manage some of these challenging circumstances.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help your employees through hardships without crossing any boundaries. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, divorce matters or illness, your workers’ well-being in times of hardship is important to their success. Employ one of these strategies today, and your employees will be pleased with your consideration and care.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.