As an employer, when hiring an employee, you sign up for the whole package. You do not only sign up for their years of experience or their talent, you also sign up for the times they won’t feel so well and the times they will go through difficult seasons. Have you noticed weird behaviors from your employees lately? Did you notice mood swings? Have they been acting differently and seem as if they are not putting in as much effort as they usually do?
Instead of thinking about giving them a negative note on their next evaluation, you might want to go deeper and figure out why this change in behavior has occurred.
Here are 4 things you could consider doing.
Understand the source of the problem
Take the time to ask questions and try to figure out why your employee is acting differently. In these types of situation, it is important to remember that your employees are human and not machines. They will go through difficult times and it is important that you, as an employer, show that you care. When you do so, your your employees will feel valued, appreciated and most importantly, understood.
Set up some time to talk to them in private in order to identify the cause of their behavior. It could be a problem with their family, spouse, health, finances or even a mistake they’ve made at work. Giving them a chance to vocalize what it is they are going through is the first step in the right direction. Once you understand the problem, transform it into an opportunity for positive change. Employees tend to get overwhelmed when they do not know how to cope with a difficult situation. However, feeling like they have a support system at work will make a huge difference.
Make sure your employee feels comfortable: Set up a proper environment, be alone and make sure it is the right time. After understanding the root of the issue, it will be easier for you to decide what the best solution is.
A true leader understands that it is ok to slow down in order to help a member of the team in need. Do not be so focused on reaching your goals that you forget about the people who will help you reach them.View moments of emotion as opportunities to empathize and show compassion to a hurting employee. After you’ve identified the problem, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their behavior. This attitude will give you a clearer vision so that you can identify ways to make them feel better. If your employee is going through a difficult emotional phase, perhaps it might not be a good idea for them to be around too many people. Maybe you could give them a more isolated cubicle for a certain period of time. If your employee is having issues with his/her family, maybe it could be a good option to let them leave early for a week so that they can spend more time with their family and resolve their issue. While it might not seem beneficial for you right now, making sacrifices for your employee will help them go through their phase and have a stronger sense of belonging to the company afterwards.
Make sure your HR department is experienced enough so that they can help employees in their time of need. Employees need a listening ear and someone who will be able to give them useful advice. Communication and interpersonal relationship skills are a must in order to deal with these situations effectively.
Train the managers and other employees
When an employee opens the door to his/her issues, it is crucial to stay as discrete as possible. However, it is important that you make sure other supervisors or colleagues are aware that this employee will need a little more time this week to finish their projects or that they might be a little anti-social because of some personal issues. By making sure that your whole environment is cooperating, it will make it easier for your employee to feel secure during that time.
While it is normal to support your team, it is also important for your employee to understand that, emotional outbursts and inappropriate behavior that can affect their performance and your work environment will not be tolerated in the workplace. Depending on the seriousness of the issue, some employees might need more time than others to recover. However, always make sure they do not get too comfortable and use their situation as an excuse to deliver poorly.
Ann-Sophie Ovile, Writer, Short Stints