Helping Employees When Life Gets Rough

Jim Luff
Posted on November 20, 2013

Sometimes employees dealing with personal issues need a helping hand on and off the job.

I pride myself in employee retention and keeping employees for as long as possible. It isn’t just about giving someone a job. It is about making them a part of a family. Although it is a work family, we are united as a family. Sometimes that means you have to step up a little bit in the same way you might with one of your own kids. I am happy to say that our employee bearing employee #001 is still employed here after being hired in February 1990. Employee #003 is still here since 1993. Active employees still include #034, #054 and #067. The next employee hired will be #171.

Several years ago, I had a long-time dispatcher who seemed to be depressed and having problems. I found out her home was being foreclosed. I asked her to allow me to negotiate on her behalf with her mortgage company and sign a letter authorizing this as part of our “employee assistance program.” The short conclusion is we agreed to advance two house payments as a show of good faith on company checks. Thereafter, we would do payroll deductions from her pay and send the mortgage check on the first of each month. The mortgage company got their money and I got the employee back to happiness and productivity. This is just one way of reaching out above and beyond.

In another instance, one of my employees became hooked on an illicit street drug. Her life went from being a beautiful, productive young lady to someone who was employed but living on the streets with poor attendance, poor work and health problems. Today, after one year off work in a treatment program, she has returned to work. I have attended “sessions” with her. I have visited her in the facility several times and never gave up on her. I have her permission to share this with you today. She is drug-free and a fabulous worker. I treated her no differently than I would one of my own kids.

As the holidays approach, make sure your people have somewhere to go. I have had many employees occupy a seat at my Thanksgiving dinner because they had no place to go. As Thanksgiving approaches, let me remind you to be thankful for your employees. It is the employees who allow you to live the life you do. Do all you can to provide a quality life for them.

— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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