Kingston Smith

It’s not personal, it’s business! Right?

Have you heard the expression ‘leave your personal issues at the door’? How relevant is this in today’s working environment?

There is an emphasis on employee wellbeing, duty of care to your employees and being an employer of choice. So why, if an employee is going through a tough time personally, would an employer take such a stance?

There is a direct link between high retention rates, high employee engagement levels and having a supportive management team. So, could an employer benefit from taking a softer approach?

So called ‘personal’ issues (such as relationship issues, money worries, family problems and alcohol/drug use) can have an effect on the workplace.

Maybe your company has an employee assistance programme in place? Typically, such programmes do offer advice in these areas, although they may not stand out as business issues. One consequence of not dealing with a personal issue could be that health issues arise, potentially leading to disability discrimination. This could expose the company to risk if the situation isn’t handled properly.

Equally, an employee may think their situation is personal and doesn’t affect business, for example, issues surrounding personal hygiene. It doesn’t necessarily affect their performance or ability to carry out their role effectively. But it can affect their team, or even the professional image of the company. Additionally, you do have a duty of care for the wellbeing of that employee.

Times have changed. Acting with compassion can affect business in a positive way. There is sometimes a need to address an issue in the workplace even if it doesn’t affect an individual’s productivity. In today’s working life, the lines between business and personal issues can sometimes become blurred. How do you cope with this?