How to Manage Employee Going Through These 5 Types of Personal Turmoil

Managers at a small business usually have built a rapport with employees when compared to managers that oversee a number of employees. Even star employees could be going through personal issues that cause their productivity to drop for a period. Managing these situations needs to be done sensitively as employees will remember if management was hard on them during a personally trying time. Treating employees in the right way during these periods can increase employee retention and the overall image of the company to the whole staff. The following are personally difficult situations employees might face and how you can help them as a manager.


Divorce is extremely common so there is a large chance that you will manage an employee going through a divorce. If the employee comes to you about this you need to be understanding during this time. Allowing the person to work from home if possible can be a big deal as they can meet with their divorce attorney during the day. Something small as allowing their divorce lawyer to send correspondence to the office can work wonders. The last thing anyone wants is mail to be opened by a soon to be ex leading to an enormous fight. Top employees might struggle at this time but it is not the time for a reprimand. Others will immerse themselves in their work so production will not be an issue at all.

Death in the Family

A death in the family can take quite a long time to get over for an employee. Allowing remote work a few days a week or for an allotted number of days monthly can allow time to grieve without sacrificing income. A person might not want to see their coworkers on a certain day where they are struggling. Technology has made it quite easy to work remotely without impacting productivity or quality of work. Creating a policy for deaths in the family can make it clear that the company cares about its employees.

Financial Troubles

Financial issues that your employees might be having could have nothing to do with their employment at the company. With this being said, employees that are in financial peril will likely be distracted or stressed which will impact their work. Bringing in financial advisors regularly to talk to employees about 401K options or allocation of income can be important. Top producing employees should be compensated with bonuses as they shouldn’t be getting paid the same as the lowest person on the productivity totem pole.

Chronic Illness Diagnoses

A person that finds out that they have cancer or another chronic illness needs to be managed sensitively. The best thing that you can do as a manager is to help accommodate their needs. Being harsh on the employee due to declining numbers could cause the entire staff to view the company or a manager poorly. There is a chance the person will have to quit but do offer them a part-time or full-time role remotely if possible.

A Parent with an Out of Control Teen

Parents might have a teen that is nothing short of a nightmare when it comes to encounters with police, trouble at school, and substance abuse. The employee letting you as a manager know about this can allow you to be compassionate. Try to help the employee in a variety of ways as out of control teens can destroy a home in a matter of hours if they have been suspended from school without parents being home. Do not offer advice as you do not know the situation but do offer them help by recommending programs or simply asking if they want to talk about it. An outside perspective can help provide clarity to what they should do. Do not overstep your bounds but rather give them time to vent.

Personal turmoil in the office needs to be managed in the correct ways. One aspect to realize is that some people always seem like they are in crisis and might be trying to take advantage of the goodwill of the company. Assess each situation differently as you know your employees better than anyone!


Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.