Guidance for Managers During Turbulent Times

Unfortunately, 2018 is beginning much like 2017 ended. We continue with a climate of political and international unrest, natural disasters and violent shootings. The complaints of workplace sexual harassment have risen to an all-time high. Is this the new normal or an anomaly? Managers have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of their employees.

Whatever 2018 brings, it’s a good opportunity to look around your workgroup to see how people are doing. Does anyone look particularly “down”? Are you aware of someone who’s been more affected by these disturbing times than others? Has someone in your group experienced personal tragedy or loss this year on top of the uncertainties in the world?

Although employees usually hope to escape their problems when they come to work, it is impossible to leave them totally behind. As a manager, taking a minute to really look at someone and ask how they are doing can make a big difference in that person’s life. Everyone has to find his or her own words, but saying something like this can be exceptionally meaningful for a struggling employee.

A few talking points:

  • “I know it’s been a difficult couple of months for you. I’m wondering how you are doing.”
  • “Is there anything I could do to help during this time?”
  • “Do you have people in your life who are supporting you?”

Depending on the responses, you might wonder whether the employee knows about the support services offered by the EAP.

  • “Are you aware that we have a confidential counseling program?”
  • “Could I get you some information about the Employee Assistance Program?”
  • “The EAP is free and confidential. I won’t even know whether you’ve used it or not.”
  • “It sounds like you have a lot on your plate and I’m wondering if the EAP could help you with any part of it?”

Managers are in a unique position to notice when someone is struggling. EAPs have been known to provide comfort and save lives, simply because a manager noticed an employee in trouble and encouraged them to access the EAP.

Despair can take many shapes and sizes. Is there anyone you are worried about today?

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