The Covid-19 pandemic has left no business and industries untouched. It has severely impacted workplaces, the stock market, and most importantly, the physical and psychological health of people all over the world. Companies who were once resistant to the idea of allowing their employees to work from home are now forced into making it a priority.
While most organizations have a crisis plan in place, many are ill-equipped to deal with the severity of the crisis affecting the business landscape. No, doubt the crisis has taken a toll on people’s life and health. In addition, the tensions associated with remote work are also impacting them and their performance efficiency.
Unfortunately, the bitter truth is – Economy and business must go on and they can’t stop for anything. This means you need to push yourself to move on regardless of the problems the crisis has thrown upon all of us.
As an organization and as an employer, it’s important to ensure your employees are safe and are doing well. The cases of depression today are soaring like never before. A recent report by Blue Cross Blue Shield found that depression diagnoses are rising at a faster rate for millennials than for any other generation. And as per the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is estimated to cost $44 billion a year in lost productivity in the U.S. alone.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to keep a check on your employee’s well-being from time to time. And offer the much-needed help and support to employees who are facing problems. Here are 3 ways to help your employees cope with difficult times.
3 ways to help your employees cope with blue days
1. Establish a personal connection. Go above and beyond to help them
Change is taking over the business landscape. Whether it’s a major restructuring or a modification to a well-established procedure, change can unsettle your employees and negatively impact the workplace. Therefore, with so many changes happening inside and outside the organization – take time to watch and listen carefully to your employees. Above all, establish a personal connection with each of them.
At times, employees may directly approach you and express their anxiety or troubles. But the majority of the time, they won’t. So, how will you detect employees who are going through rough times?
This requires you to keep a close eye on your employee’s performance and work patterns. This will help you detect the anomaly or the anxiety in their work or the way they work. When you identify something like this, take time to observe, approach them, and listen to what they have to say. Then, take action to help them deal with their difficult times.
In other words, it isn’t enough to simply help your employees with work issues — a great leader should keep his eyes open for ways to help employees out with personal issues as well. Remember, employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders are more likely to go above and beyond for the company. Most importantly, they will be happier in their roles. If leaders disregard the importance of connecting with employees, they lose the benefit of a dedicated, long-term team.
2. Show you really care for them and that you are there to back them up
A recent Limeade Employee Care Report found:
- 1 in 3 employees have left a job because they didn’t feel their employer cared about them
- 1 in 5 left a job because their employer didn’t support their well-being
Great leaders realize that they can’t achieve their goals if their people aren’t performing at their very best. With so much happening today, it’s natural for employees to look up to management for solutions. It is at times like these, you need to showcase transparency and honesty, and encourage your people to reciprocate the same. Welcome your employees by creating an environment where they feel comfortable and safe to express what they are going through.
Show them you truly care about their well-being by understanding their concerns and by doing whatever you can to help them. For instance, you find out an employee is going through a tough phase, you can help them by listening to them wholeheartedly and creating a space for them to heal. You may offer a flexible work schedule, simplify their work scope, or even alter deadlines till they feel okay to completely resume their work.
3. Make time for them. Be real and transparent with them
It’s hard for employees to feel appreciated when their leader is too busy for a simple chat. Making time for your employees is extremely crucial. This will not only make your employees feel valued and respected but will also help you to gain the insights you need to help your employees better. Not to mention, by doing so you are directly improving the overall productivity. The rule is simple, happy employees = happy organization!
After hearing their concerns and gathering the insights you need, try to fix the things that you have control over. A reassuring word from you that you are there for them can have a profoundly positive impact on your employees. If you find the problems are beyond your scope to solve, avoid promising your employees the things you cannot deliver. Instead, explore if they need professional help from counselors and psychologists. And direct them to the professionals to help them deal with the difficult phase of their lives.
Coping with people undergoing emotional turmoil is difficult, not only for the person dealing with it but also for those who interact with that person. As a leader, your job is to create a positive work environment that results in better outcomes for all employees — including those who are going through a difficult time.
Remember, by helping your employees cope with the difficult phase of their life, you are actually helping your team and your company to grow and perform better.