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When one of your employees becomes seriously ill, you face two major challenges at once: understanding the emotions of the employee and other co-workers, while making sure that the necessary work still gets done.

Extended employee illnesses are especially hard on small businesses, where every employee is vital. That’s why responding to these challenges requires tact, sensitivity and flexibility.

Mistakes can mean not only hurt feelings, but potentially legal liability problems, too. The key is balance: Consider the sick employee’s needs while devising strategies to maintain the work routine.

Give support, not advice. When employees tell you that they’re seriously ill, your immediate response should be to express your overriding concern about the person’s well-being.

Resist the urge to dispense advice or offer prescriptive medical solutions, such as, “It’s probably best not to exert yourself right now.” Such advice could come...(register to read more)

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