Happy New Year!?
Am I the only one whose new year did not go as planned?
We are a dozen days into the new year and the hopeful feelings, optimism, and renewal, have been replaced with uncertainty, dread, fear, and anxiety.
This is normally the time of year that people spend time on self-reflection, empowerment, resolution-setting, and vision boards.
But I’ve been making the rounds of the water cooler and breakrooms and I for one am a little disturbed. People are genuinely disturbed by recent events, are nervously evaluating their peers’ mental state, and are using much more time off than in previous years.
I’ve made many referrals to employee assistance and really hoped the person used it. I’ve watched normally self assured people lose their footing.
The air around us vibrates with the collective deep sighs of a great number of our society who are trying to maintain some semblance of normal.
While we watch the dates change on our calendars we know with each day we draw closer to a new world and it scares the heck out of people.
Recognize that there are large nbees of people who feel empowered, vindicated, and hopeful who wish the rest of you get it together.
The two groups are at polar opposites and there may be an increase in misunderstandings.
As Employee and Labor Relations experts, we need to be mindful of thsee circumstances when new instances of misconduct arise. Managers are feeling some kind of way, employees are feeling it too.
We need to encourage our clients to look beyond the surface and get to the root. It doesn’t make sense that an employee would act out and put themselves in jeopardy of losing a job.
But this is the time when misconduct by both employees and managers may occur over miscommunication, hurt feelings, or frustration.
Let’s do our best to get to the root causeby asking questions and address misconduct with the least amount of discipline needed to correct the behavior.
We still have companies and agencies to run. If we fire everyone who is going to do the work? I’m not advocating ignoring the problem but am suggesting talk then the appropriate action.
We may want to encourage managers to have frank discussions with their staff and allow the employees to voice their fears. Invite the employee assistance professionals to the meetings so they can reassure employees their feelings are valid and to provide resources to the staff.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we do know it will come.