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April 1, 2024

Communication Tips to Help Employees Through Life Changes

Communication Tips to Help Employees Through Life Changes

Managers can struggle to find the right words to support a team member going through significant change. Even if the change is positive, its dramatic impact on the individual still elicits mixed emotions from the employee’s supervisor. Managers have goals to reach and quotas to maintain. A team member’s evolving and potentially stressful personal life could disrupt the manager’s ability to deliver on commitments. 

However, a manager can minimize ill effects and deepen their relationship with the employee through proactive communication. A study by The Workforce Institute at UKG which included 3,400 people across 10 countries, 69% of people claimed their manager impacts their mental health more than their doctor (51%) or therapist (41%). 

Managers should approach conversations thoughtfully and intentionally. By carefully addressing their concerns and employee’s needs right away managers can provide the support the struggling employee needs to continue being effective at work. Some important best practices to consider are as follows.


Choose A Helpful Setting

Choose a place where the employee feels comfortable to open up, maybe a neutral place away from work. The environment should be quiet, private, and non-intimidating.


Ensure Confidentiality

Managers should ensure that an individual’s sensitive information may be shared only with essential people. 


Be Flexible

Treat people as individuals and focus on their personhood. Refine communication to complement the employee’s style. Ask the employee for input to alleviate any work-related difficulties they’re experiencing, and keep an open mind about their implementation. 


Pay Attention To Delivery

Ask simple, open-ended, and non-threatening questions and allow the employee to explain their circumstances and experiences in their own words. Keep in mind that only 7% of communication happens through words alone. 38% happens through voice tone, and 55% is nonverbal. Use active listening queues to show employees your sincere interest and concern for their wellness. Don’t try to guess or make assumptions. Rather, get important details from the employee directly and pause to clarify anything ambiguous.


State Concerns

If issues such as a high absence rate or slow output impede work performance, clearly explain your observations and the existing problem. Addressing issues directly helps expedite the solution process. 


Devise A Plan Of Action

Create action points that support the employee’s ability to execute in their role and their physical and emotional wellness. Set a date for completing the action points and a date to review their effectiveness. 


Encourage Outside Counsel

Employees experiencing dramatic change can benefit from working with a private coach or a handful of specialized coaches. 

  • Coaching specialists can provide relevant advice and support to individuals in specific circumstances. 
  • Simply talking with a coach can reduce pressurized stress as people sometimes struggle to share their worries with those closest to them. 
  • Coaching can improve employees’ outlook and motivation by helping them stay focused on what they can control.


Be The First To Reach Out

Sometimes, employees dealing with big personal changes don’t feel ready to talk about their concerns immediately. Tell them you’re always available to talk if or when they become ready. Make sure the employee knows about the support services available. Reassure the employee that you will help them get the support they need.


Encourage Team Connection

Managers can also drive a theme in their team communication that reflects a safe environment where people matter as much as the job. Many managers know that encouraging team members to share and be vulnerable with one another raises productivity levels from a problem-solving aspect. But it also prepares the group to weather the ups and downs that individuals may face as part of a team. 


Tact is critical when talking with employees who are experiencing personal change and dealing with the stress associated with it. With well-planned and thought-out communication, managers can encourage employees and provide them with assurance that their company cares. 

Coaching support can benefit more than front-line workers experiencing tremendous change. TaskHuman’s leadership coaching resources can help managers better prepare to help their team members remain productive throughout life’s volatility. All of TaskHuman’s coaching experts can be reached on demand through our platform. Workers and managers can meet privately when they need to lean on a personal coach for insights and emotional support.

Reach out to learn how TaskHuman partners with companies to meet wellness and performance goals across the organization.


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