10 Employee Problems You Should Never Ignore
Realistically, no one wants to have to think that their employees could have issues significant enough to affect the overall business. No one really has a desire to believe that someone they’ve hired could do something to damage the company because of issues in their home life that can affect their performance, or even cause them to deliberately make choices that can become disastrous for the company and the rest of the employees as well. Here are 10 things to keep an eye out for in employees that need to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent a major catastrophe.
1. Pay attention to overall morale and if there’s a negative shift, take steps to address it immediately. It could be something as simple as a newsletter that gets included in everyone’s check envelope designed to uplift everyone’s morale
2. If you hear of an employee with a relationship issue don’t ignore it. Have one of those “parental” talks, even if the employee is older than you are. At least the employee will know you care about their situation. Having literature and brochures about family health can help alleviate issues and even save those relationships.
3. If an employee has a death in the family, show immediate sympathy and support. If the death is of a spouse or close family member, not only are sympathy cards and letters effective, but the offer of paid time off and even psychological or other medical support is helpful as well.
4. In these tough economic times, many employee issues are financial ones. While a small to medium sized business may not be able to directly help employees with loans, extra hours or even raises, they can put together workshops and other aids to help employees cope with economic hardships. Effectively promote these programs with bulletin board announcements, or a note in pay envelopes.
5. While the topic of inter-office relationships is a difficult one to deal with, even when they are expressly forbidden in the HR manuals, they still take place. Instead of dealing harshly with them, try to find ways to meet the needs of the company while helping people build good relationships. They may have to work in different departments or buildings, or even cities, but helping employees with their relationships shows them that the company does care about more than the bottom line.
6. While inter-office relationships can actually make for a stronger company in some cases, in others there could be major outside ramifications. For instance, if there’s infidelity involved, that could have far reaching impact on the company. If this is the case, then all those involved will need to be included in whatever decisions are made. While relationships are important, those that could damage the company need to be dealt with carefully.
7. Watch for pattern changes in employee behaviors. If an employee starts being consistently late or starts working over as much as possible, sit down with them and evaluate why this is happening. It could be something as innocuous as a spouse’s job change affecting wake-up times, or it could be a health related issue that needs to be addressed
8. Also keep an eye on employee productivity. Most employees will work great for the first few weeks to show they can be “great”, but then will drop to a “normal” level. If that productivity drops off dramatically, or increases just as dramatically, there’s a deeper employee issue there that needs to be addressed. The only way to know what the issue is will be to ask the employee directly.
9. and 10. Employees relish being appreciated. If you see some behavior changes in an employee that aren’t directly attributable to health or family related employee issues, it could simply be that they don’t feel like the company sees the contribution they make. That’s where having Employee Appreciation days and events can make a huge difference. Also, having incentive programs for safety and for productivity can help employees that may not feel as appreciated to reach for the incentives, enabling them to get that satisfaction in a more tangible way.
While it would seem that one person couldn’t affect the morale of an entire company that can actually be the case. Finding the ways to build that strong sense of community and family with all the employees in the company is one way of being able to both build up morale and also to know what is going on with everyone within the organization. Some companies don’t keep up with employee issues, but the companies that are strong, that will survive and grow are the ones that do.