TGIM: How To Help Employees Cope With Extreme Stress

16 Jan

Employee reacting to stressToday we’re back with our TGIM series, or Thank Goodness It’s Monday.  Each Monday our posts will focus on employee engagement and we hope to hear your thoughts on Twitter using the #TGIM hashtag or with a reply to us @SageHRMS.

Some employees arrive on the job and are immediately overwhelmed. This is not uncommon and should not be viewed as an indication of a bad hire. Instead, managers should tap into their sense of empathy and work to acclimate the new employee. But that’s not the only source of fear or despondency in the workplace. Personal troubles are inevitable, and managers need to help their workers cope with their troubles while also staying at a comfortable distance.

Organizations should implement strategies for managing each tier of talent, says the Harvard Business Review. This includes making sure that average employees are put in roles that take full advantage of their strengths.

Organized and effective performance reviews are one of the most common ways to gauge employee satisfaction and the relative progress of a new hire. However, such meetings are less effective in determining whether an employee is the right fit for a specific project or position.

If their performance is mediocre, don’t let them trudge along in roles that are not right for them, especially if they involve management of coordination. Poor attitudes or disengagement can be contagious, particularly when it comes from a leadership position.

To preempt such a situation, managers should perform frequent “fit tests” to compare both strengths and interests with current job responsibilities, the HBR adds. Ask yourself: Is someone in product development, for example, but better suited for a research position? Trust your instinct and be honest, as recognizing and dealing with a mismatch may help an otherwise average employee become a star.

As for workers dealing with a distracting personal situation, it’s important to show concern for their dilemma. Listen and sympathize with their situation and offer time to deal with it.

Inc. magazine suggests that people have to be able to hear each other and genuinely listen to their stories. Of course, it can be a challenge encouraging colleagues to share their feelings and personal lives in a work environment – it’s even a cliche, of sorts.

Inc. points out that persistent sleeplessness, loss of appetite, anger, crying, distraction and an inability to deal with pressure are all signs that an employee made need some time off to deal with their personal lives. Keeping them in the office will only drain resources and contaminate workplace morale.

What are some other ways managers can help employees cope?

Let us know what you think on Twitter by tweeting with the hashtag #TGIM, or reply to us @SageHRMS.

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