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How to Help Your Employees When They Have a Crisis

March 1 2019 - Even the most reliable employees can encounter problems in their personal lives or with their health that impact on their work, even when they try to avoid it at all costs. In years gone by, many bosses adopted the attitude that workers should leave their problems at the door, and it was no concern to anyone in the workplace what was happening outside the workplace.

However, nowadays employers understand that caring for your staff makes a significant contribution to productivity levels, absence rates, and staff retention. More and more businesses, especially larger organizations, now have policies in place to help their staff cope with difficult circumstances.

Many companies have their own in-house therapists and support services, or sub-contract the work so they can provide for their employees' needs. Smaller companies - and some larger ones still - haven't caught up with the idea that staff welfare is not only a moral responsibility but that it can have an effect on the bottom line, so if you're working in human resources without a robust welfare system in place for staff, what can you do?


The problems people may encounter are many and varied, from a crisis like a divorce, bereavement, or road traffic accident to physical and mental health conditions. Some people cope with larger problems but crumble when faced with smaller ones, and many employees are wary of telling anyone in the company that they're having a mental health problem. You may be able to pick up on the signs that all is not well and step in to offer help and advice that will be genuinely beneficial for the person concerned.

Take for example a traumatic accident; your employee could have been seriously injured and had to face time off work, plus there's the trauma of the incident, money worries, and post-traumatic stress. Or they could have found out they have a serious illness that due to a misdiagnosis wasn't picked up soon enough and is now far more severe than it needed to have been. As well as providing a sympathetic ear, you can give the employee constructive advice on making claims for the injury by contacting a specialist lawyer through reputable sites such as


On many occasions, simple interventions at an early stage can avert more disruptive situations, and the best way to manage this is to be approachable and hone your listening skills, so employees know they have someone they can trust to turn to if they need to. Encourage everyone in the business to feel free to make an appointment for a chat, and make sure they know you can keep anything they tell you confidential if that's of concern to them. People are often wary of using support services or opening up about problems they're experiencing because they're afraid it will somehow mark their staff record and be used against them. You need to ensure everyone knows that's not the case, and that you aren't there to report on their issues to managers.

You aren't expected to take on everyone else's problems, but being supportive and giving employees somewhere to go for help and advice provides a valuable service for your organization and its staff.

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