"Leave your personal problems at the door"...this doesn't reflect the reality of modern management.

With depression rates in the general population on the rise, chances are your business will increasingly be negatively impacted without coping strategies.

Recent research by Bensinger, DuPont & Associates found that 47% of employees say personal problems impact their work performance. That's a massive problem for managers. It is a significant problem that can impact overall business performance massively.

But this is a grey area for managers when there is little official training on managing this weekly problem in the business.

So how can you handle an employee whose personal issues are impacting work and help them to get their performance back on track? Here are some tips:

1. Make sure you aren't part of the problem.

Check in with the employee to see if work issues contribute to personal issues. Think about offering some personal leave, reduced responsibilities or part-time hours. Not only will this enable the employee to take the time to fix their issues, but chances are they will greatly appreciate the gesture.

2. Don't ask too much about the employee's personal life.

No matter how good of a boss you are, remember it is not your job to be a therapist. Resist this temptation. Not only are you not qualified to do so, but you may also blur the lines between manager and employee and worsen the situation. Instead, focus only on the facts, address the resultant work performance issues and encourage the employee to seek professional help.

3. Empathy.

Even though your job isn't to fix them, simply showing an empathetic response to their issues will help. When people feel down, having someone who cares and understands will help the employee. But draw your line.

4. Be Kind, But Fair. 

Do what you can within boundaries. It helps no one to give the employee support that the business cannot afford. Offer support within the limits of what is possible without impacting the business or other employees.

5. Sometimes it Doesn't Work Out. 

You will need to accept that sometimes an employee with personal problems will need to exit the business. Don't beat yourself up about this once you have done what you can. If performance continues to suffer over time and negatively impacts the bottom line and other employees, don't be afraid to gently move into performance management mode and potentially exit the employee. They may not thank you at the time, but sometimes they need to leave, sort out their issues and start afresh with a new employer.

Managing employee personal issues at work can be draining. Remember to follow these steps but set boundaries for yourself and the company.


Simon Ingleson

CEO/Founder @ RosterElf

Magically Simple Staff Rostering Software

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