Finding positive ways to handle awkward employee issues

It feels a little awkward.

 

After all, managers are supposed to manage—manage projects, manage schedules, manage weekly meetings that last too long.

 

But some parts of managing a team include tackling tough issues. And, no, we’re not talking about budgets or typical problem solving. While those issues are a challenge, we’re talking about employee personal issues.

 

What do you do when personal issues become tangled with work? Finding a solution can feel impossible.

 

When awkward happens

What kind of personal issues do we mean? It varies, but basically, this includes personal issues that habitually interfere with work. Some of the most common are body odor or bad breath. Others include office romances, drinking, attitudes, or money issues.

 

These issues aren’t just a distraction. They also hurt productivity. One study found that 75 percent of co-workers struggle to get their work done when a co-worker has body odor. Other stats say one in three have dated a coworker. The flip side of that coin? In 2016, more than 6,700 sexual harassment claims were filed. The bottom line is: these issues shouldn’t be ignored.

 

How to handle it

Handling situations like this in the wrong way can be a costly mistake. So, it’s important to follow company policy and treat people with respect. One expert said it this way: these issues are either deeply personal or completely unknown to the employee; approach the person with compassion, authority, and tact.

 

Generally speaking, talk to them privately only after you’re aware of repeated, habitual behavior. Be informal, but also don’t waste any time being vague. Talk directly about the issues and also give them a chance to tell their side. Don’t forget to tell them how much you value and support them.

 

Personal struggles and awkward situations happen. What really matters is finding a team strong enough to weather these ups and downs together. At ClearStar, we’re here to help you find that team. Our combination of technology and professional expertise can help. Contact us today!

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