Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How to Manage an Employee During a Personal Crisis

When an employee is going through a personal crisis of any kind, it can impact their work performance. Particularly when you’ve managed this person for a while, dealing with this kind of personal issue can feel uncomfortable. You may not know where to draw the line between offering support and ensuring that this person continues to do their job. Here are some tips for succeeding as a manager when your employee is struggling at home.

Toe the line between manager and friend

No one wants to be heartless when an employee is going through a personal struggle, but spending hours rehashing the latest divorce drama can blur the line between manager and friend. The employee may end up taking advantage of this, often without even realizing that they’re doing so. When you know all of the latest details about the employee’s struggles, it’ll be hard to keep them on track professionally, and may allow them to neglect their duties within the office. You can be sympathetic and supportive while still serving as an effective manager. Listen when needed and when appropriate, but don’t get heavily invested in the situation at home.

Treat everyone equally

Even if an employee is struggling at home, it’s important to treat them just the same as you would any other team member. By giving this person special treatment, it can cause resentment and tension within the office and may create drama between employees. Though it may be challenging, it’s important to make sure that everyone receives equal treatment during the workday, regardless of what’s going on at home.

Have a backup plan in place

In the event of a personal crisis, particularly the death of a family member, it’s likely that your employee will need to miss work. To prevent chaos from ensuing when this happens, it’s important to always have a backup plan in place. Once this plan is set up, make sure that everyone in the office is aware of the details. It’s better to establish this contingency plan before it’s actually needed in order to keep the company running smoothly.

How have you handled an employee’s personal issues? Let us know in the comments!  

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.