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Employer tips for dealing with employee divorce

Like it or not, employees’ personal lives will impact their general well-being and professional performance. With divorce rates hovering between 40 and 50 percent in 2018, managers, owners and HR personnel will not have to wait long before they get word that an employee needs to change their insurance or contact information because they are getting divorced.

How you handle this is important. Not only do smart business people understand that employees will have complicated personal lives at times, they find the appropriate manner to respond so the employee is supported without impacting the company too much.

Here are 5 tips from a divorce coach for handling these delicate situations

  1. Take the time to have a conversation about the situation without getting too personal. Ask about their biggest challenges at work and discuss strategies on how they deal with them, perhaps if possible taking something off their plate. Your goal is to keep them focused and coming to work.
  2. Stay away from clichés or sage advice. Listen and offer thoughts if solicited, ideally if you have been through it yourself. Offer an attorney recommendation if you know of one who specializes in family law.
  3. It may be a small office or a close-knit team, but avoid engaging in office gossip. Do not allow idle water cooler chit-chat on the topic -- it is distracting to others and may leave the employee feeling isolated at work.
  4. Watch for signs of anger or disrespectful behavior on the employee’s part. A non-judgmental conversation about professional behavior may be necessary.
  5. Also watch for a loss of confidence and a severe drop in the quality of their work. Conversely, make an effort to acknowledge good work when the kudos are deserved.

How you handle this can be a positive

It always the best rule of thumb to stay out of the personal lives of employees. But striking the right note of support can turn that employee into someone who finds greater appreciation of their job. Other employees will look at how it was handled and feel that they are also respected and looked after by management, which in turn means a happier more productive work atmosphere.

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