How to Support a Struggling Employee

3 Mins read

It’s never easy to see someone struggling, especially if they’re an employee. Maybe they’re having a hard time meeting deadlines, or they’re constantly making mistakes. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to try to help them. Here are a few ways you can do that: 

Spotting the signs of alcohol/drug addiction

If you think an employee may be struggling with drugs or alcohol, there are a few things you can do to help. If you notice they smell of drugs or alcohol at work, it’s important to intervene fast before they make themselves seriously ill, but you need to do it tactfully. Find the right time and place to have a meeting with them, but don’t use accusatory language – critiquing their work performance is going to make them feel worse, so it’s better to come from a position of care. You may want to make use of Columbus employee drug testing, or similar drug testing services in your area, to determine what drugs they’re using. Once you’ve established the facts, you can offer resources, like information on rehab centres or support groups, or you can even help them to book an appointment to see their doctor if they’ve not yet sought help.

Spotting the signs of bullying

If you think an employee is being bullied, the first thing you should do is talk to them about it. They may be scared or embarrassed to speak up, but it’s important that they know they have your support. It’s critical to establish the facts if they reveal to you that they are, in fact, being bullied at work. You need to establish who is bullying them, why, and whether it’s unprovoked. If it sounds like your employee is being harassed, you have a duty to escalate the issue to a formal investigation. Let your employee know that they’re free to remain anonymous, but you should also let them know that you have a legal duty to report workplace harassment to the police if the law has been broken. Be aware, however, that they may be worried about the repercussions they may suffer if their bully finds out they’ve told you about what’s been happening, so make sure they know you’re there for them.

Spotting the signs of poor mental health

Any number of things could cause your employees to suffer from poor mental health. Bereavement, abuse, a break-up, injury or financial issues can all manifest themselves into depression, anxiety or PTSD, which can have a negative impact on their work productivity. If you think an employee may be struggling with mental health issues, there are a few things you can do to help. First, ask them how they’ve been coping at home. They may be reluctant to open up, but this gives them permission to tell you about any personal issues they may be experiencing. Employees often view their employers as inhuman, but by talking to them about their home life, it helps them to see that you are, in fact, human too. it’s important to let them know that you’re there for them and want to help. Once they start to open up, you can offer resources, like information on therapy or support groups. Mental health issues are a long-term battle, but with time and support, they can eventually overcome it.

Spotting the signs of stress

Stress is something many employees struggle with. They may feel overwhelmed by their workload, or they may have too much to do at home. Often, stress is simply temporary, caused by an important work project or new role, so simple relaxation techniques should help them until the project is complete or they’ve settled into their new position. However, some employees may suffer from chronic stress, which is harder to treat. In these cases, they may need extra support. Offer flexible working hours, which should allow them to manage their time better. Alternatively, they may need to work part-time temporarily to deal with something at home. Those with caring responsibilities or second jobs, for example, may need a more tailored approach.


In conclusion, employees may struggle for a variety of reasons. As their employer, it’s important to try to help them. This includes identifying the problem, offering support, providing resources, and showing patience. With your help, they can eventually overcome whatever is causing them to struggle.

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