How training our managers to ‘listen’ reduced absence

As a nation, we’re getting better at opening up the conversation around mental health, with many employees opting to confide in their manager in the first instance. On the face of it, this seems like a good idea: their manager knows them and has demonstrated experience at solving workplace problems. So, the employee naturally assumes, their manager might also be able to help them find answers and solutions to more personal problems.

However, for those managers who haven’t had any training or experience of dealing with a distressed employee, the chances of them providing an appropriate response are limited. So when feedback from our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) revealed the extent to which our own workforce was struggling with emotional distress, due to issues such as relationship breakup, financial worries and sleep loss due to stress and anxiety, we recognised the need to proactively develop our managers to become better listeners.

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