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How To Support A Troubled Employee

Support A Troubled EmployeeOver the course of your career, you will most likely come across an employee who is going through a hard time. Or you may find that you are in a difficult situation yourself. When someone loses a loved one, is going through marital struggles, or dealing with substance abuse, life must go on. The world doesn’t stop, even though it may feel like it does. So, how does one deal with an emotional situation while they are working? And how does an employer support a troubled employee?


Not many people know about the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This a shame, as it can be a great support system for a troubled employee. Most health insurance companies provide this service to their employees. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2014 Employee Benefits report, 74.0% of businesses currently offer EAPs. The program is intended to assist employees who are dealing with personal problems that may adversely affect their performance at work and their wellbeing.


Here are some aspects of an EAP that are a benefit to both the employer and employee:

  • Undoubtedly, your company has invested time and money in hiring your employee. Arranging a replacement is expensive and time-consuming. (Unless you partner with a staffing agency, of course!) An EAP will allow the employee to deal with their situation while they are still working.
  • Often short-term counseling is cheaper for the employee than receiving therapy through their medical plan.
  • The employee does not have to take an extended leave, which can cause work to pile up and lead to additional angst.
  • Supporting employees in this way is likely to boost your employer brand, as you will be seen as a company who truly cares about their employees’ health and happiness.

Follow Up Support:

  • Show your sympathy as a team. Depending on the situation and the employee’s wishes, the office should get together to send flowers, a card, or whatever they feel is suitable.
  • Check with the troubled employee and see if there is any way you can arrange for some practical assistance, such as taking care of their pet, preparing meals, or the like. Small gestures often go a long way.
  • Try to be cooperative at the office. Make accommodations for the employee whether it be working from home, working shorter hours, or temporary delegating some of their responsibilities.


If the troubled employee’s situation is affecting their work performance for too long it is important to discuss other support options. It can vary greatly how long it takes someone to work through an issue or get over a loss. If it becomes a long-term problem, it is appropriate to suggest additional counseling or see a therapist. Most importantly, check in with this employee on a regular basis to monitor how they are doing. Make sure they are aware of the company’s policies and know that they are not alone in their suffering.


Click here if you are looking for further information regarding Florida EAPs.  For more advice regarding best practices in the workplace or to learn more about our staffing services, please visit our website. Our expert recruiters are always willing to discuss HR policies and tips with you.