Despite the best efforts of employers and human resource personnel, personal problems and interpersonal conflicts continue to impact employees in the workplace.
Stressed and conflict-involved employees cost employers millions of dollars a year, and perhaps one of the biggest workplace costs is not absenteeism, but the loss of productivity as a result of distracted employees: Employees who are stressed and distracted by unresolved personal problems, employees who are experiencing conflicts at home or with co-workers, and employees who are distracted from work by distressed co-workers who seek their support.
Employers and human resource personnel refer to the loss in productivity resulting from employees showing up to work despite illness or distraction that makes them unable to perform to their employer’s expectations as presenteeism.
This is not a new problem to employers or human resource personnel, however the economy and fear of job loss may be exacerbating the problem. Employees can feel increasingly vulnerable and powerless in terms of job and financial security, resulting in a decreased ability to actively address the issue.
Human resource professionals have primarily referenced employee illness as a cause of presenteeism, however it seems that emotional distress and preoccupation with work & personal life stress could be a significant contributor as well.
Employers have become increasingly aware of the negative affect personal problems can have on employee functioning and many have responded by implementing employee assistance programs (EAPs) – which, to a degree, mitigate some of the impact of personal problems and interpersonal conflicts on presenteeism.
Existing EAPs are limited in their scope however as EAP counselors are often limited in their ability to fully address the underlying issue. An employee faced with a divorce or child custody issue may seek out the services of an EAP counselor to assist with his or her distress over the situation – however the EAP counselor can only give referrals and assist the employee in feeling better or coping with the stressor. Similarly employees who are having a workplace issue may seek the services of the EAP, where again the counselors are unable intervene in means that can impact the actual situation, only assist the employees in determining there options and coping with the stressor.
Mediation, on the other hand, is a means of intervention that can resolve the personal problem or interpersonal conflict, allowing employees to focus on their jobs not their personal lives – reducing the resulting presenteeism.
Mediation resolves the conflict or personal problem. Combining an effective mediation program with existing EAP services can have a significant impact on presenteeism in a way that EAP services alone cannot.
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Tags: business, conflicts, distracted employees, employe relations conflict resolution, employee, employee assistance programs, employee stress, employees, employment, interpersonal conflict, intervention, labor, management, mediating employee conflict, Mediation, occupational safety and health, personal life, presenteeism, Resolve, stress, workplace mediation, workplace mediation benefits