So you’ve noticed a few frequent behaviours that are out of the ordinary with a team or staff and it’s causing you concern. You’ve decided it’s time to engage with them to see how they are. What do you do now?
Below are some top tips on how to compassionately engage with them.
Choose a safe space to talk
Pick somewhere private and quiet where the person feels comfortable and equal. A neutral space if possible outside of the workplace is great. If they are a remote worker, consider whether going to where they are may help.
Practice active listening
People can find it difficult to talk about their mental health, especially when you ask too many closed questions. Ask simple open and non judgemental questions. Be patient and give them space to talk. Focus on the issues and behaviours – not the person.
Avoid making assumptions
Don’t try to guess what symptoms an employee might have or the reasons for them.
Be honest and clear
If certain behaviours are causing you concern, such as high absence levels or anti-social behaviour, it’s important to address these at an early stage.
This is critical. The person talking to you needs to feel reassured of confidentiality. They are talking to you about sensitive personal information. If you would like to share any information they have told you, seek their permission. However, you should have policies in place on what to do if the person has shared information that indicates they are a serious harm to themselves or others.
Develop a clear action plan
Work with your employee to develop a clear action plan on steps they can take to better improve their mental health. This should include regular agreed check ins, processes for raising concerns early and where to seek support.
Encourage them to seek advice and support
They are not alone. You can gently encourage them to speak to their GP if they feel it’s right for them, or seek counselling or hypnotherapy support via Paranimo.
Remember to look after yourself
Having conversations like these can be emotionally intense, so make sure you seek advice and support for yourself if you feel you need to. It’s important to practice what you preach, which will add credibility to when you offer advice and support to people to look after their own mental wellbeing.