Guest Blog: Workplace Health and Wellness
Be Prepared to Help Employees Through Tough Times
There comes a time when an employee or team member will experience some personal issue, health issue, or a difficult life change. These challenging situations often arise unexpectedly and can impact the workplace. Knowing what to say and what to do can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place that uses the right methodologies to support employees who are going through tough times.
Initiate a Conversation
Have you had a conversation with your employees about how you can best support them in times of need? Provide your employees with a medium in which they can communicate their needs. This can be a simple one-on-one discussion or even a survey conducted through your HR department to determine the best approach to offer support, and discover if there are any relevant well-being programs, you should be offering.
Hire an Expert
When you have people working in high-stress environments, having a few expert counsellors and doctors that work with your company in times of need can make a difference. Every HR team should have a contact list of respected professionals they can reach out to on short notice. This list could include occupational health and safety professionals, grief and trauma counsellors, psychologists, and physiotherapists. Some workplace insurance plans include dedicated helplines for your employees to speak to a professional in times of crisis.
Set Up Health and Wellness Policies
Are your policies up-to-date concerning compassionate care, bereavement, and sick days? Your company policies need to be clear on the steps and tools that are taken when an employee encounters personal issues or illness. During troubled times, employees appreciate a company that is accommodating. Whether it’s policies that provide them with the capability of making up hours instead of having to take sick days or top-ups for long-term leave. Tailor these policies to accommodate your organizations work environment.
When you ask your employees for feedback you may find that they care more about certain things over others. For example an employee may prefer to have someone take over their workload for a week over having a fully paid sick week and coming back to a pile of work. Or there are cases where employees may prefer to be at work, but they need to provide care for an elderly parent or child in order to not take time off. Listening to your employees needs and creating policies catered to them can save a company a lot of money in turnover costs, and can be an effective retention tool.
Have a Contingency Plan in Place
If someone on your team needed to leave immediately to deal with a personal situation, would you be prepared? Every business needs to have a plan in place for when employees take short-term and long-term leave - who will cover their role and how will work be distributed to avoid losing productivity? This is not about replacing your employee but ensuring your team can pick up the workload if someone is out for an extended period of time.
Create an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Does your office have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place? If not, now is a good time to work on setting one up. First, survey your employees to find out which aspects of health and wellness are important to them and what initiatives are not a good use of their time.
Finding a program that’s right for your business can ensure that your employees receive proper care and support when they are going through tough times. A well-thought-out EAP can also help to strengthen team members’ mental and physical health, maintain a productive workplace, and positively impact employee retention.
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