How prepared are companies for the reality of employee performance breakdown during personal trauma?

There is a drive in modern business management to implement soft skills in an attempt to retain employee attention, maintain output levels and performance, and drive productivity outcomes. These are just some of the mechanisms that a forward-thinking company uses to ensure that they have open communication channels and stronger employee and management team engagement.

Now my question is, “What happens when an employee is faced with a personal trauma that envelopes their entire head-space rendering them unwittingly disengaged from their work?”. Is the company ready for this eventuality? 

Does your company find itself disengaging from such individuals, purely because the pressures of operational and financial performance drive this reaction?

Such disengagement undermines all potential to retain talent and create highly effective workforces and management teams.

These are questions demanding answers, insight and people leadership skills that many managers are not equipped to deal with.  Management of companies seek performance levels commensurate with the remuneration of the employee and are under pressure to deliver returns higher up the stakeholder channel.

There are three factors to consider here, that companies often choose to dismiss at their peril:

1.  How creatively prepared are managers and executives to navigate these waters with a colleague coping with personal trauma? What are the long-term effects for both parties of either positive or negative outcomes in this scenario?

2. How far can the company and its management be extended and what are the business and talent risk profiles of the situation?, and simultaneously,

3. How capable is the employee in being creatively part of a process that can be filled with fear, but that will ultimately guide them out of dark personal days?

My own story arose three years ago, when I found myself in the midst of a divorce that I neither wanted nor expected. It tore me to pieces, and induced an extreme downturn in my own creativity, leadership ability and productivity at a time when I was really needed to be a visionary leader at the peak of my game.

Having had this personal insight and hindsight, I wondered how many other companies are faced daily with trauma induced nosedives in productivity and performance expectations of executives and managers. How are companies and its talented resources prepared to cope with these realities of life that come along without warning and pose business risk and personal risk profiles that are daunting?

To create an analogy, let me state the case as follows:
Companies are required by law to provide fire-fighting equipment in factories and offices to deal with real fires. Evacuation drills are put into place so that in the event that a fire breaks out, the staff has a planned practiced exit strategy. What now if we liken such a fire to the wipe-out of the leadership capacity and performance levels of an executive member facing personal trauma? Has your company creatively developed and implemented a strategic “fire-extinguisher” to douse the flames of this kind of fall-out?

A forward thinking company and executive team plans for reality. This is a reality. The management of talent is truly about the management of people. The short-term guidance and strategic steadfastness of a company and its management alongside an embattled talented colleague has exponential benefits in terms of medium-term and long-term buy in by that individual to the company vision. Planning for reality is intricately linked to talent management. How pro-active is your company in the management of its talented resources?

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