One of the best ways to support employees to retain work is to be as aware as possible that there could be a potential challenge before it gets to the point where they leave, or need to go off sick. Putting things in place to support your employees whilst they are still in work, means there’s more chance they will be able to continue doing their job, which is positive for them, for you, and the company.
Things you can look out for which may show an employee is struggling:
- Change in behaviour and/or personality
- Changes in work attendance and punctuality.
- Changes in appearance – looking tired, unwell, perhaps some issues with personal hygiene
- Becoming withdrawn from colleagues
- Overworking – sometimes overcommitting to things can actually be a sign that someone is struggling.
- Have colleagues raised concerns?
If you start noticing things like this, it can be good to schedule a 1-2-1 with your employee to have a chat with them and check in. This gives them space to talk to you, or at least lets them know you are there and willing to support. It will also open up being able to plan for how you can help.
Regular supervisions/1-2-1’s with your employees can really help give them a space to talk about any issues they are experiencing. Having a section of meetings for workplace wellbeing means you are asking directly if all is ok, and giving them the opportunity to let you know about things and for plans to be put in place to keep them well. It’s also good practice to have a section in these meetings where you ask people if they have any concerns about other colleagues – sometimes just opening the discussion for people can make a difference.
The tools below are designed to help you promote positive wellbeing in the workplace. You can use this generally, or you can use them to help employees who are struggling.
Handling Difficult Conversations
If someone is struggling it can be difficult to open up the conversation with them to check in, and also to help put plans in place to support. Some employers may worry that their employees won’t want to talk to them because they are a manager, employees may worry that if they do raise challenges then it could result in them losing their job.
Planning for the conversation can be useful, so that as a manager, you know what you want to cover and can ensure you get all the points you need to in the conversation – including that you are here to support the person and help them retain their job.
The resource below is designed to help you break down the difficult conversation so that it is easier to approach the colleague about it.
Some further tips for raising concerns are:
- Do so in private, though the employee could bring in a colleague if they wish.
- Ask open questions
- Don’t judge
- Think about your body language – are you relaxed and open – this is more likely to reassure your employee you are comfortable speaking to them and supporting them.
- If the employee isn’t ready to talk, signpost them to places or people that may be helpful, and let them know you are ready to support them whenever they are ready to talk.
Reasonable adjustments are actions which can be put in place to help an employee complete their job, despite of any challenges they might be facing. Reasonable adjustments can cover all manner of things from schedules, to equipment, to locations of work and much more. When discussing reasonable adjustments with employees it is important to give them time to think about what would be useful for them, but also bring some suggestions of your own – sometimes people can struggle to think of what would work for them, or feel bad asking; your suggestions may help prompt but also show you are open and serious about the support.
The link below takes you to further information about reasonable adjustments.
A Manager’s Guide to Wellness Action Plans
As a manager, supporting your team to draw up a WAP gives them ownership of the practical steps needed to help them stay well at work. It also opens up a dialogue between you and your team member, to help you better understand their needs and experiences and therefore better support their wellbeing. This can improve productivity and performance as well as improving job satisfaction.
The guide below takes you through the process of completing WAP’s with your employees.
Wellness Action Plan Tool
The WAP is designed for anyone in employment or a voluntary role, to support and promote their mental and physical health and wellbeing at work satisfaction. It is a tool which helps all employees manage their mental and physical health and wellbeing at work. Encouraging your employees to complete these, and reviewing them in 1-2-1s means you are taking a proactive approach to managing work place wellbeing, rather than a reactive approach to when things go wrong, which means you are more likely to retain your staff and have a positive work environment.
The tool below is for employees to complete.