Interested to Improve Employee Experience?

Speak to the team

8 Strategies for Managers to Offer Assistance to Staff During Challenging Periods

8 Strategies for Managers to Offer Assistance to Staff During Challenging Periods

The 21st-century quest to increase productivity while reducing overhead costs has caused most managers to create brilliant strategies that are ever-evolving. It is tempting as a leader to succumb to the demands of stakeholders without considering the difficulties attached to getting the job done. 

Challenges are inevitable, and like everything in life, it takes support and understanding to navigate the murky waters. When employees go through challenging periods, it spills over into their work schedules. But what are the strategies managers can use to offer assistance to staff during this period? 

Let’s discuss signs of distress in employees and the strategies to help curb the situation in detail. 

Signs of Distress in Employees

When employees go through challenging periods, a primary sign is that they become withdrawn due to changes in their behavior. A lively employee becomes less active, prefers to be alone, and spends more time over lunch or in the restroom. They rarely respond to jokes, find witty comments offensive, and become easily irritated. Communication with colleagues and clients becomes stiff, impatient, and dismissive.

A decrease in productivity and not meeting up with schedules can also be signs of distress for the employee. It will be discovered that the employee struggle to achieve their objectives in their usual excellent pattern and need additional time to deliver results.

Also, when employees are going through challenging periods, most of the time, they are distracted and find it difficult to gather their thoughts. In their struggle to keep up at work, they become more dejected, and this also affects their retention rate.

A challenging period for an employee may also reflect in their spending habits. Some will go into borrowing heavily from their colleagues and likely spend time away from work. 

Employees can also be found reporting late to work, closing earlier than expected, disappearing for long hours, putting their communication devices on “Do Not Disturb,” and ignoring or replying to their emails late. Their mode of appearance and dressing might also reflect their current state. 

Employee Support Strategies

While the signs are numerous and are dynamic to each employee, the solutions should be tailor-made to deal directly with their challenges. Here are some of the strategies that managers can employ during challenging times: 

  1. Make work-life flexible

Post-Covid redefined the boundaries of work as companies massively adopted the concept of remote work to keep up. Managers can now ask their employees to work from home while supervisors support and monitor employees through the use of online office tools. There will be constant follow-up with productivity tools like Slack to track and deliver group projects and Zoom for video meetings. 

For other demanding fields, hybrid work strategies should be implemented, where workers are required to report to work physically but for a couple of days. This will solve the challenges of long commutes to work and time wasted in traffic and make people bond better with their families.

  1. Have an open-door policy

Another way for management and supervisors to support employees through difficult times is by creating channels for employees to communicate freely. Employees thrive where there are means of complaining and submitting feedback. A rigid setting projects a community where the effectiveness of the employees is prioritized above the well-being of the employees. Encouraging employees to speak up and report inconveniences to their supervisors creates an atmosphere for support and assistance.

  1. Commit to the health and well-being of employees 

The increase in awareness about mental health challenges is causing more workplaces to organize mental wellness programs for their employees. The World Health Organisation has marked the 10th of October as the day for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. 

Managers and supervisors can provide employee assistance by adopting the entire month for mental health awareness programs connecting employees to support channels and counselling services.

  1. Financial Inclusion 

A lot of challenges faced by employees are money-related. Amidst rising costs of living, inflation, and increasing rents, managers can create financial packages that help to take financial stress off their employees. Soft housing loans to cater to their rents, provision of staff buses to provide free transportation, and placing employees and their dependents on medical insurance are some ways to provide support to employees during difficult times.  

  1. Organize frequent group events and get together 

Gone are the days of not mixing “business with pleasure.” Deals are now sealed at lunch, over a cup of coffee, and investment signals picked at social events. For workplaces to thrive, conscious efforts are directed at making employees be on social terms with their peers. This creates a friendly and conducive atmosphere for teams to brainstorm and collaborate and a safety net for employees to confide in and find support systems during their challenging periods.

  1. Adopt an employee-friendly organizational structure

Managers adopt a fitting chain of command for their operations to create order, discipline, and a line of authority. According to Allaya Cooks-Campbella, “If your teams are not delivering the outcomes you need, the organizational structure is one possible culprit.” If the structure is mainly focused on results and does not include the role of the supervisors in offering employee assistance, growth will be stunted.

  1. Constant review of policies to best standards

Emulating the industry’s best practices helps managers compete with the top players by prioritizing the well-being of their employees.  

  1. Training and Development

To improve strategies, frequent training for leaders should be made a priority. While operational training is vital, it is also important that leaders are trained in empathy, conflict resolution, and management crises. 

According to Bernard Marr in his Forbes article: “organizations need humans with the ability to talk to them in the way that gets the best results.” Employees are motivated to deliver their best when they have supportive supervisors who are always willing and ready to help them through their challenging periods.

Managers must create a healthy work culture to manage the intricate demands of maintaining productivity while going through challenging periods. These strategies should focus on identifying and addressing the triggers that cause distress. By adopting these strategies, managers can guide supervisors on how to provide support for employees.

Explore More Posts