With support systems severely compromised over the last year, employees are more likely to turn to their work environments for emotional support when going through a tough time. It can however be difficult to assist a team member facing a wellness crisis, purely because we do not always know what to do or how to respond.
The tips below will help you to offer the right type of support to a team member that is facing a wellness crisis.
Reaching out to a team member is always better than not doing anything at all. If you do not know what to do or how to respond to the problem, start by just hanging out (go for a walk, have a virtual coffee, or do a quick check-in with the team member). By asking open-ended questions (for example, “tell me more”, “what is on your mind”) will also allow your team member to share their experience and convey their needs.
Determine what type of support is necessary. When a team member shares a problem with you, it is helpful to ask whether they want your advice or just a space to vent. The answer to this question will provide you with insight on the appropriate way to respond.
Remember that everyone experiences situations in their own unique way. Listen first, without judgment and validate what your team member is going through. For example, try responding with “I can hear that this is hard for you”, or “it is normal to experience these types of feelings when going through something like this”.
A serious wellness crisis is immensely personal and sensitive. Keep the matter confidential and do not force your team member to disclose the situation to someone that they are not comfortable with.
Make sure you know where to locate your firm’s wellness policy so that you can refer your team member to the right person should they require more formal or professional help. Also keep a list of the four emergency wellness contacts in your area on your phone (suicide help-line, domestic abuse help-line, counselling help-line, and child help-line).
If you are concerned for the team member’s safety or health, always provide them with options on safe or anonymous ways to seek the professional help they need.
Contact Crowe DNA if you need help with developing a wellness policy for your firm, or for more tips and advice on assisting employees going through a wellness crisis.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)