Stressed Employees Need HR Resources, Boundaries

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media , March 17, 2014

Sometimes, she says, it's helpful for HR to know what's going on in an employee's life. For example, if a spouse has cancer or an employee's child has a substance abuse problem, it will likely affect their performance, and it can be helpful for HR to know this information.

But what's the procedure if an employee is opening up to you and it's getting a bit too personal?

"If it was not in some way work-related, like harassment or hostile work environment—I would listen carefully, then redirect it," said O'Keeffe, adding that she would recommend the EAP in that situation.

"We go to healthcare because we care about people," she said. "We care about patients, about our colleagues and their families. But you have to have healthy boundaries—overstepping that isn't good for you or the employee."

"We're trying to walk the walk and talk the talk. We've got to be thoughtful and proactive with our employees. Make sure people are taking care of their health amidst the stress. Stress can kill you," O'Keeffe said.

Lena Weiner is an Associate Editor at HealthLeaders Media. Twitter

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2 comments on "Stressed Employees Need HR Resources, Boundaries"

M Burbary (3/20/2014 at 9:43 PM)
I was struck in the face by a surgeon. No one witnessed it. Later that same morning he had a major melt down that everyone saw. When his assault was reported, I was moved to another site and life has gone on as usual for him and I have a long commute. My word against his according to HR. So much for zero tolerance for violence. Nobody cares, don't let anyone kid you.

Michael Cylkowski (3/17/2014 at 5:40 PM)
"Stress can kill you" says O'Keeffe, but then again she says, "HR needs to have healthy boundaries." Eh? Your company's culture is often the stressor so do something about it. Where are all these supposedly wonderful 'wellness programs'? A large part of the ACA is to get patients to adopt healthy behaviors. It seems the healthy behavior here would be for the employee to walk away from the stressor. Surely O'Keeffe realizes that providing professional counseling is cheaper than recruiting and retraining replacements.




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