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Why Aren’t You Helping Your Employees Out?


I have to admit, my time has been limited and I’ve been coming home exhausted from work. I have many different posts ready to start or complete but I haven’t had the energy to write something worthwhile. And if anybody knows when I put out crap, it is my readers. So I have chosen to not post instead of giving you sub-par performance (you’re welcome, by the way).

Why has it been an exhausting couple of weeks? Sure, there are always work things going on that take up a lot of time and energy. That’s not it though.

The biggest brain drain this week has been the financial crisis that has hit Wall Street (and Main Street). While our politicians are busy trying to make things worse in Washington D.C., we are trying to calm fears in our own workforce. I have answered more than my share of questions. I have also tried to be proactive on the employee side. But with each passing day, it seems more and more evident that uncertainty is ruling the day.

What I haven’t seen in all of this are ways that employers are helping out their employees. Has anybody seen stories of ways that employers are helping? If so, please share!

If a raging newsaholic like myself can’t find an article on workplace assistance for those employees impacted, I have to believe we haven’t come up with anything good yet. And if we haven’t thought of anything good yet…

What are we in HR getting paid for? Being old school mentality HR people? Not looking at the bigger picture? Doing the same thing we say we are fighting against (the perception that we aren’t strategic, don’t have vision and can’t see beyond our employee handbook). Yes, yes and yes. That’s exactly what is happening if you aren’t moving to think about how you can help now.

I was going to wait for someone to pipe up about right now. “Hey, what do companies care about this? We can’t babysit our employees? Yadda yadda!” I’m not waiting. You should care about it because it hurts your employee’s performance. Does that perk up your ears folks? It should.

How could it impact an employee’s performance?

  • Employees could be facing more personal financial pressure. That could lead to
  • Employees using work time to stress out about their financial position
  • Employees moonlighting (or even daylighting) to relieve credit issues
  • Employees looking for positions elsewhere to increase income
  • Employees could be worried about the current economic condition of the company
  • Employees could be worried about their pensions or 401k if they are close to retirement

How could this impact HR people?

  • Poor employee morale and productivity
  • More turnover (both layoffs and voluntary turnover)
  • More anxiety and questions about the company
  • Increasing uneasiness about retirement

So again, how is this not your problem HR person? And if you acknowledge that it is a problem, what are you doing to fix it? Need some ideas?

  • Look at your pay advance and hardship loan policies
  • How flexible can you be with time off? Let your employees take personal time to take care of business while banks and brokers are open.
  • Bring a financial adviser on site to meet with employees.
  • Advise employees of the financial situation of the company and be honest about some of the struggles you may be facing because of the economy.
  • If you know a layoff may be possible, start preparing right now with outplacement resources for impacted employees.

And most importantly, make sure you help the company stay in business. The best support an employer can be during this time is often a steady paycheck.

Any other good feedback from HR folks?

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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