How To Support Staff With What’s Happening In Their Family

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. And sometimes, family and the significant others in our lives play an enormous impact on how we perform on the job. 

One of the underlying needs of living the value of respect, is understanding what your employees are going through at home with significant others and immediate or extended family. Grasping the importance of this is in a person’s life can help lessen the negative factors and enhance the neat things happening positively. 

Let’s see how learning about an employee’s family, significant others… even pets, can help you support your employees and give better praise and recognition. 

Learn About an Employee’s Family 

Hopefully in hiring interviews, onboarding meetings, or getting-to-know-you-sessions, you will have identified the makeup of each employee’s home environment. You will know their living arrangements with roommate, partner, spouse, or just by themselves. Whether they have children or extended family members living with them, and if they are any pets at home. 

Awareness of the relationships in a staff member’s life allows you to express best wishes to the people important to them. It tells you how many people to be mindful of if you were giving a reward such as a dinner gift card or movie tickets.

Informed of what happens on the home front gives you an idea of when to invite family members or friends to attend award events or significant recognition moments. 

When I was away from home for two weeks at a time in Europe conducting training, on the third round of traveling, my CEO said I had been away from my wife, Irene, too long. He offered to use the accumulated air mile points collected from corporate credit cards to have her accompany me on the next multi-country trip. With no pun intended, that gesture meant the world to me. 

Gauge The Emotions At Home  

Once you know the situation at home people-wise, you might pick up on the positive or negative emotional state of things at home. Is the relationship or marriage strong? Are there health concerns to be aware of? Do childcare or eldercare issues affect the employee? 

Instead of judging an employee like everyone else based on the same employee handbook standards, you may have to make some compassionate exceptions to the rule. Employers and leaders who show care and concern for their employees always reap loyal and dedicated workers in return. 

A year after I started working for Rideau, our youngest son was in a car accident and sustained a severe brain injury. Your entire world stops as you rush to the hospital to find your child in a coma. At some point I called my CEO, Peter Hart, to explain the situation. His immediate response was family comes first. “You be with your son and return to work when you’re ready,” he said. That helped me to breathe and focus on what was most important in my life right then. 

Be Sensitive To Life Changes 

When employees remain with a company for a while, leaders and managers will see the various stages of life unfold with their employees. 

You will probably see marriages, births of children, promotions, graduations, divorces, health issues, career milestones, retirement, and deaths. Are you close enough to know when these life events occur? How do these events affect the employee? Can you console or congratulate when needed? Is your online recognition program set up with appropriate ecards to send people? Do you know where to purchase the right greeting card for just the right occasion?  

The key is showing genuine care and concern in every situation and specifically to the needs of each employee. To ignore these events completely hammers in a wedge of disappointment and potential disengagement. 

Apply Knowledge Gained 

Supporting staff with what is happening in their family or at home can change the way you recognize and express care and concern. 

For example, you will be more aware of quantities and numbers when giving certain rewards. You will extend invitations to the right people to attend major events. Design of your recognition programs will have ecards and visuals that have inclusive diversity. And you will make sure you have covered all possibilities, including dogs, cats and other animals. 

Your care and concern for people will ensure that special greeting cards are on hand to deal with every life situation, because sometimes, getting a card in the mail means a lot more when going through tough times. 

Find out the allergies and preferences that each employee has so you don’t send flowers to someone who has a scent allergy. 

Have the employee’s leaders and managers inform your human resources as quickly as possible so that company leaders can respond to special situations independent of their immediate supervisor, manager, and peers. 

Investing a negligible amount of time regularly to know what goes on in each employee’s personal life, as they permit it, will pay dividends with respecting and recognizing your staff in better ways.

Recognition Reflection: How well do you know your employees’ home and family situation to show respect and better recognition?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.