Employee setbacks: why employers should go the extra mile

The HR Dept

Everyone is subject to the risk of life setbacks which lower their productivity in the short term but should not impinge their long-term value to employers.

Too often, people who have much to offer are marginalised when it would be better for them and their company if they were supported instead.

There are relatively simple steps employers can take to foster a more inclusive workplace and retain talent which may otherwise be lost.

From a serious illness or accident to burnout, parenthood to the menopause, everyone in the workforce may at some point face a challenge which holds them back at work. It’s valuable to employers in sticking with staff during these times rather than seeing them side-lined.

Anyone could suffer a mental or physical health breakdown or some other adversity that, with a bit of nurturing, they could recover from and be back on form – as long as the employer thinks with a long-term mindset.

So, why should employers go the extra mile? If they don’t, years of knowledge, experience and investment the company has made are lost.

Using the menopause as an example, how can employers manage it so it does not spell the end of a promising career? Many women find themselves squeezed out of promotion opportunities, or even worse their job, during this time. We’d suggest training managers to recognise the symptoms and be able to discuss openly and honestly how it is affecting an employee’s performance. Some women become forgetful and complain of brain fog. Fatigue is another common problem, so would a shorter day or longer lunchtime help? Let the solutions fit the problems.

Having your managers switched on and receptive to finding positive solutions will likely generate far better value for your organisation in the long term. These sorts of adjustments are relatively easy to operate and with a mindset shift can benefit anyone within the workforce, not just women during the menopause. For instance, those responsible for a relative’s care, those going through chemotherapy or long-term physiotherapy could all benefit.

To reinforce management training, you could draft a policy that covers support throughout an employee’s career with you. In that way you can build a cohesive and diverse workforce ready to give their all to a company who cares.

So, whether it be women during the menopause, or any staff member during many potential moments of adversity they may face during their career, life and health; making reasonable adjustments is not only to protect them, but the investment you’ve made into individuals so that you can keep their knowledge and experience.

For enquiries on this topic, contact Sara Abbott from The HR Dept, at sara@hrdept.co.uk.