How To Deal With An Employee That Is Going Through A Personal Crisis

So many managers make the mistake of thinking that the personal problems of their employees have nothing to do with them, and shouldn’t factor into their work lives at all. This is a complete misconception because everybody is going to experience personal problems at some point in their lives and you can’t just separate that personal crisis from your everyday life. It will naturally affect their ability to work and if you don’t prepare for that, you’ll find yourself in trouble.

Employee going through personal crisis

Managers that don’t want to deal with the personal problems of their employees often make this mistake because they’ve got the wrong idea about what their role as a manager should be. They think that their only job is to organize their team. That is a hugely important part of a manager’s job, but equally as vital is their ability to motivate their team and keep them happy. A workforce that is unhappy is going to be far less productive so it is in your best interests to work with them when they’re having personal problems and help them to move past them so they can get back to doing their job as effectively as always. When your employees face a difficult situation, here’s what you need to do.

Listen To Them

Sometimes, your employees don’t need you to make any drastic changes to their work life or refer them to counselling. Often they just want to know that you understand their problems and they’re sympathetic to them. If you notice an employee is acting differently or they seem distracted, call them into the office and just ask them if everything is ok. More often than not, speaking to somebody about it can make the whole situation far better without needing to take more drastic action. Be sympathetic and don’t pass any judgments on them. You also shouldn’t try to make too many suggestions about how to deal with whatever is troubling them, just be available to listen to them and let them know that you’re here to support them.

Give Them Time Off

In certain situations, your employees are going to need to take some time off to recuperate. This employer’s guide to bereavement leave will tell you everything you need to know about dealing with an employee that has recently lost somebody close to them. There are no legal guidelines about bereavement leave, however, a lot of employees request that one be written into their contract when they start the job. Check over their contract and see if there are measures in place already, otherwise, you’ll need to come to some sort of arrangement with them.

If one of your employees is suffering from mental health issues, they will almost certainly need time off to get better. If they stay at work then their performance will only get worse and they won’t be able to improve their situation. Giving them some time off allows them the opportunity to get back to their normal selves and return to work revitalized. When employees are suffering from mental health issues, they are entitled to take paid sick leave. If they already have sick leave written into their contract, you need to give them what was agreed. If not, you are still obliged to pay them statutory sick pay for the time that they’re off.

Refer Them To The Right People

Refer them to the right people

While it is part of a manager’s job to keep their employees motivated and happy, you aren’t equipped to deal with severe personal problems. If somebody is struggling emotionally they need the help of a professional to work through it. Don’t try to take on too much and deal with everything yourself because you’ll only make it worse. When an employee comes to you with a problem, refer them to the relevant people and help them to help themselves.

Be Flexible With Hours

You might not need to give your employee a long time off work, they might just need you to ease their workload a little. Having them work a little bit is better than nothing. Don’t try to force it on them but if they feel that they are capable of working some hours still, you should facilitate that. Just let them know that they can work as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. Letting them work from home is also a great way of giving them the time that they need, without having a huge gap in the workforce. If they’re working more flexible hours, it might be best to get some other employees working with them so that they could delegate their day to day duties when they’re out of the office. This is often the best way to ease them back into their normal working life as they recover from a personal crisis.

Change Their Job Temporarily

While they might not be in a position to take on their normal workload, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to do anything at all. If you can move some employees around and perhaps switch them with somebody that has a lighter workload, it makes things run a little smoother. Some people prefer to keep busy while they’re going through a difficult time so even if they can’t handle the stress of their normal position, they might still be able to work in some capacity. Having them continue to work for the company takes the strain off you as you don’t need to fill those gaps.

Return To Work

One of the worst mistakes that managers make in these situations is forgetting all about the situation as soon as that employee returns to work. Even though they’re ready to start getting back to normal, that doesn’t mean that everything is perfectly fine again. You need to make sure that you’re checking in with them regularly to make sure that they’re still doing ok and ask if there is anything you can do to make the transition back into work any smoother for them.

Your employees are your most vital asset so it’s important that you take care of them when they’re having a hard time.


Lynne Huysamen

Mommy to a pigeon pair, blogger and online marketer. Lover of chocolate, good books and buckets of coffee.

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