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Boost Your Team's Well-being During Tough Transitions: 3 Proven Strategies: Employee Support

Supporting Employee Well-being: Navigating Transitions with Care

When I work with leaders, the first question I usually get asked is…

"How can I ensure my employees are okay during this transition without, like, ya know, being their therapist?"

It's a good question. And the answer is there is a lot you can do. These posts focus on three key aspects: communication, employee resources, and memorializing.

So, let's dive into the second part of the series and explore the importance of employee resources.

Part 2: Employee Resources

When I ask organizations how they support leaders through challenging times, I constantly hear, "We have a great Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for help." EAPs are valuable resources, but I haven't met one, yet that supports the leaders while they lead a transitioning team.

I often urge HR teams to understand fully their EAP's limitations so they can explore additional avenues of support.

For this post, let's break down employee resources into three categories: the obvious, the not-so-obvious, and the great.

The Obvious: Understanding EAPs in Detail

While most leaders are aware of EAPs, it's crucial to understand the services they provide comprehensively. Many EAPs offer access to grief counselors or mental health professionals, but only to support the individual, not to help the leader manage the very large task of leading a grieving team.

It's essential to know the specifics of what your EAP offers. How many counseling sessions are available? How long does it take for employees to connect with a counselor after reaching out? By familiarizing yourself with these details, you can better guide and inform your employees and are not scrambling and feeling embarrassed that you don't know or that your EAP is not as robust as you thought it was.

The Not So Obvious: Expanding Local Resources

In addition to EAPs, it's beneficial to explore local resources that can offer specialized support. Grief groups, for instance, exist in many cities or can be accessed via Zoom. They can provide a space for employees to process the loss of a co-worker or other significant changes. Similarly, career groups that assist with resume writing and job hunting can also offer support during transition or layoffs. It's worth checking if these groups assist those who remain employed, as the emotional toll of layoffs can be akin to grief.

The Great: Establishing Clear Time Parameters

This may feel different from the first two, but it's not. It's just another way to offer support. When employees face difficult circumstances, it's common for leaders to say, "Take as much time as you need."

However… this open-ended approach can inadvertently create confusion and resentment. Your idea of the time they need is five days; their idea of the time they need is 15 days. See the problem?

Instead, talk with your employees and ask them how much time they anticipate needing. Some may require only a day or a few half-days, while others require weeks or to be on leave. And some may need time later! Setting clear parameters together ensures everyone is on the same page and can plan accordingly.

I like EAPs. Some of them are pretty robust and offer great support, and others are really terrible. But they are an essential part of your company's support system. It's crucial you know precisely what and how they offer support.

As for training your leaders on what to say, make sure they don't make a knee-jerk reaction by offering indefinite time off. It can breed a feeling of no support, which is not what you want! By embracing these practices, leaders can foster a supportive environment that promotes employee well-being.

Thank you for joining me today.

Stay tuned for the final part of this series next week, where we'll explore the power of memorializing during transitions.

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