Lessons from Rooney: What to do when employee personal problems creep into work
In light of Everton footballer Wayne Rooney’s recent return to tabloid headlines, wellbeing expert and Health Assured CEO, David Price, advises employers on what to do when staff personal problems begin to impact on their professional role.
Wayne Rooney’s latest PR disaster has seen him charged with drink driving and having to face allegations of impropriety with a woman whilst his wife was away on holiday. it’s a story that has nothing to do with his footballing career, and yet it’s sure to impact his day job at Everton and could ultimately affect his performance on the pitch in upcoming fixtures.
But, how should employers go about dealing with potentially fragile personal problems employees may be facing?
Performance and conduct are usually the first indicators to suggest that someone is suffering from problems. Especially if it is out of character.
When performance drops we know the business can suffer. As employers, we may be tempted to manage the performance and not the person, which in times of distress can lead to disastrous consequences as relationship problems can be one of the biggest causes of stress and unhappiness in life.
With that in mind, it makes good business sense for employers to acknowledge the role they can play in assisting their employees through the upheaval of their personal problems. Employers cannot ignore the impact of a relationship breakdown may have on the well-being and productivity of their employees.
Employees may find themselves in a position of uncertainty about their family, the future, whilst facing financial, childcare and living difficulties.
Work may suddenly become secondary, having a direct impact on business. Employees may be worried about legal procedures, financial disagreements, the impact on the children, time off work and the cost of solicitors and barristers? fees.
Their anguish at home may inevitably spill over into the workplace, leading to disruption, disharmony, depression, stress, anxiety and ultimately reduced work productivity or even job loss.
Employee assistance programmes
Employers can have a huge influence in ensuring that their employees feel supported when going through personal problems by running employee assistance programmes (EAP) that offer staff confidential support including counselling, information, guidance, and referrals on any work, personal or family issues.
These services save employees time, stress and anxiety, and enable them to stay more focused and productive at work.
As well as a dramatic change in emotions, practical difficulties may arise in the breakdown. If the employee is getting divorced they may need time off work to attend meetings with solicitors, barristers and even court hearings.
Working hours may need to be changed to accommodate new childcare responsibilities. Information may need to be provided on pension splitting in divorce. The more prepared the employer is the easier the employee will find this process.
Employers can also show support by being familiar with organisations that offer advice and information on the alternative approaches to managing relationship breakdown.
With mediation, a trained mediator provides a structured and informed environment in which parties can discuss and negotiate matters relating to their separation, including finances and children.
The loss of a valued employee is a disruption for any business. But for micro enterprises it stresses the importance of keeping hold of good people if you possibly can - know what makes your employees tick. more»