Many business owners and managers often focus on keeping the business thriving and gaining. Thus, they ensure that their employees are giving their best performance and are always at their peak productivity. However, if you have a few employees with health problems, it may be challenging to find a managing style that would cater to their needs without compromising your business operation.
Downside Of Terminating Sick Employees
While it may be easier to terminate employees with health problems, you need to remember that doing this comes with a few consequences. First, this move could taint your company’s reputation as your sick employees could easily post on social media or job sites about how unfairly you treat your sick workers. These negative reviews could be seen by your potential job candidates, leading them to steer clear of your business. Remember that social media should be a way to promote your company’s image, and not be an avenue for hatred.
Second, it would take you another time, energy, and money to recruit new replacements and train them. Keep in mind that even if your employees have health problems, they’re still more skillful and more knowledgeable compared to the new hires you’re planning to bring on board. So, instead of firing them and wasting more time and money hiring new ones, you may utilize their skills and talents by making them mentors or coaches on tasks related to their positions.
Third and most importantly, your business could be punished by law when you fire employees with health problems. This includes wrongful termination solely because of illness or disability.
Managing Employees With Health Issues
As an effective and responsible business owner or manager, you need to know how to accommodate your employees’ health needs while they get their jobs done. For your guidance, here are six tips for managing employees with health problems:
1. Let Them Open Up Freely
Before making any changes or adjustments to your managing style, you need to know the nature of your employee’s health problem first. The soundest way to do this is to let them open up honestly about their health issue. This may seem like an easy step, but the truth is, plenty of employees are afraid or embarrassed to open up about their health issues for fear that they may be discriminated against and be denied of their needs.
Thus, you need to guarantee them that you are serious about helping them and won’t be using their health problems against them. You can check out HIPAA Exams and other helpful resources to know more about the importance of privacy and confidentiality of a person’s health condition.
Once your employees are comfortable enough to open up about their condition, check if their health problems are related to their physical or mental health and how it would impact their ability to work and perform in your company. You also need to review if they can still work on a regular schedule or a few adjustments are necessary.
In case employees don’t cooperate on this step or refuse to open up, your best move is to continue treating them as if they’re physically and mentally fit.
2. Provide A Clear Job Description
After knowing the employees’ particular problem, you can use your gathered data to modify their job descriptions to accommodate their needs. For example, if you have a factory worker suffering from a physical health issue, see if you can utilize that person’s skills by giving him another role such as a factory mentor or an office-type job.
You also need to consider if a person’s health problem is a short-term or long-term condition as it would help determine if the changes to be made are only temporary or permanent. Providing a clear job description that caters to the business and the employee’s needs will help both of you to stay on the same page.
3. Consider Unconventional Working Arrangements
There are no rules when it comes to brainstorming ideas on how you can switch up your working arrangements to accommodate the needs of your employees. For example, if your employee couldn’t work full-time due to his physical disability, you may want to consider putting him on a remote work setup to save him from the hassle of traveling to work. Or, if your worker has regular doctor’s appointments on Mondays and Tuesdays, then consider scheduling him to work on weekends to make up for the missed working days.
4. Track Their Health Status Actively
Part of your primary duties is to look after your employees’ health and safety. So, even if you’ve already provided your employee with a lighter and easier job role or a more flexible schedule, you still need to track his health status actively. You can obtain your employee’s health update by putting this condition into writing to ensure the employee regularly complies with this policy and keep you posted about his health condition.
Remember that some health problems could worsen over time. Actively tracking health conditions will help you stay informed if the adjustments you’ve made were effective or further changes are necessary.
It’s also recommended that you keep track of doctor’s appointments or checkups. Every time a leave or undertime is requested, ask for proof showing a scheduled checkup for that day. This is to prevent your employees from taking advantage of their flexible schedule for regular absences.
5. Listen To Your Employees’ Suggestions
Your employees know what they are or are not capable of doing. Thus, consider listening to their suggestions on what type of changes they’d like with their current job. However, this doesn’t mean that all their suggestions could work well for your business. For example, a factory worker won’t be able to bring his task at home, the same way an office worker can. So, if he offers this request to you, don’t reject it right away. Instead, explain why that request is unworkable and think of other alternatives that will both work for you, such as making him a factory trainer.
6. Keep Them Connected
Sometimes, employees with health problems can’t help but feel isolated from the other staff, especially if they’re away for their checkups or they’re mostly working from home. Therefore, make an extra effort to keep them connected with the rest of the team members. For instance, if some of your employees work from home due to their health problems, let them virtually participate in your meetings or conferences.
If you’re planning some social events or company celebrations, see to it that they don’t have any doctor’s appointments or checkups on that day so they can attend. Keeping them connected will make them feel valued and cared for by the entire company.
There’s no perfect way on how to manage or treat your employees with health problems. Fortunately, these tips will help you get started in creating a managing strategy that will work for them and your business. Remember that a good company succeeds if it understands how to treat its employees with compassion and respect, in health or sickness.