You’re a Leader…not a Social Worker
All too often, when working as an employee retention speaker or employee retention trainer, I have to explain to participants that a main component of Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.® is to Care about your people. We often forget that fact so this employee retention author will repeat it. They are PEOPLE. The sooner leaders start to see their employees as people, the better off everyone will be. Yes, they are your employees but they are people first. However, one danger in this approach is that leaders sometimes cross the line and start to act like social workers.
There are times when employees experience issues in their lives. In fact, 20% of your employees have issues going at any one time that impact their ability to work optimally. This could range from a personal health issue, aging parents, mental health etc. Your employee’s ability to deal with those issues so that they get over that bump in the road is essential. You as a leader may play an important role in that process because often, the leader is the person who the employee goes to in order to talk about the issue they are having.
When an employee brings up an issue of a personal nature, you play a key role in being able to facilitate that person getting to the proper resources in order for that employee to get the help they need. However, your role is one of being a leader, not a social worker. You’re not the one to diagnose the problem. Your role is to make sure the employee knows that resources are available to help the employee through the difficult time. Most organizations have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that employees can access to get to the proper people that can help them.
This employee retention consultant has found it is not uncommon for employees to come to their supervisor first because they know the supervisor, see them every day and the supervisor is a familiar point of contact. When that occurs, the supervisor needs to get the person the information they need to connect with the Employee Assistance Program. Then, the supervisor needs to step back and stay out of the situation. As a supervisor, you are NOT a licensed social worker or therapist. You need to stay out of it and let the EAP handle it.
The simple act of being there for your employee, listening and then referring the employee to the EAP shows you care yet you still have not crossed the line and acted as a social worker. Caring, is essential in building relationships and bonds that help your employee retention strategies. It is part of C.R.A.P. It works for everyone involved. Remember to always…Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.®