Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cheer Leaders! Organisational Behaviour

Cheer Leaders! Organisational Behaviour

Ignoring tell-tale signs of employee depression can have adverse consequences on organisational well- being

Key learnings:
  • Mental well -being is as important an aspect as the physical health of the employee
  • Absenteeism, negative attitudes and unexplained behaviours cost the company in terms of money and healthy work culture

Absenteeism and lowered productivity as a result of physical stress and ill-health are causing a dip in the productivity levels of organsiations. However, depression and state of mental distress cause a lot more than just a drain in productivity levels.

Depressing facts:


Most often, depression is ignored and employees or individuals are told to pull up their socks and get going

  • When an employee is depressed it affects his working pattern and thinking
  • Depressed employees either think or worry too much or remain indifferent to situations and people around
  • Depression costs employers USD 44 billion a year in lost productivity

Absenteeism and presenteesim Organisational losses because of absenteeism are always accounted for. But, many a times, presenteesim causes loss in terms of productivity. Presenteesim as a consequence of depression can be defined as "the people with depression showing up for work but not functioning at anywhere near full capacity. Some examples are failing to return phone calls, turning in poor-quality work, missing deadlines altogether, not following up on new business leads, being paralysed with indecision, inability to face work at all, coming in late, leaving early, or not even returning from lunch, difficulty in getting along with coworkers, withdrawing from the social environment at work."

Sadly, many of us brush aside these things hoping that time will help us overcome difficult situations. Doctors however warn that it is very important to identify signs of depression among employees. Some apparent symptoms are:

  • Diminishing performance
  • Absenteeism
  • More mistakes at work
  • Complaining of disturbed sleep and falling asleep at work
  • Fatigued feeling all the time
  • Losing the cheer factor
  • Minimised concentration
  • Upsetting talk and worrying always
  • Displaying emotions at the drop of the hat
  • Remaining isolated from co-workers
  • Reluctance to join in informal meetings and fun outings
  • Irritability and emotional outbursts

Sometimes depressed individuals spread gloom and the learning and development of the work place can be affected. Any team member's unhealthy attitude can create tensions and affect performance of the entire team.


Role of the employer


When any employee or co-worker exhibits any of the above mentioned signs, managers should address the issue immediately. Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programmes that include mental health and psychological counseling. Research shows that work place depression can cost the organisation millions and experts suggest that employers must encourage their employees to seek professional and medical help.


Helping workers


Learn more and keep employees' informed about depression and how to handle co-workers exhibiting signs of depression.


Awareness is the key here:


Mocking and ridicule can worsen things. All said and done depression is a disease that is curable.


1. Alert: Depressed people are prone to causing mishaps. An alert work environment can thwart risks. Similarly, suicidal tendencies or tendency to harm own self and others are particularly high. An effective EAP must ensure the best medical aid to such employees.

2. Be non-judgmental: Managers are not medically certified to deal with depression cases. It is in the best interest of all to refer such employees to the medical team or experts.

3. Confidential matters: Matters like treatment for depression needn't be discussed with co-workers.

4. Stay flexible: Help the employee by offering flexi schedules during the time of treatment and allowances so that his absence from work doesn't pinch him financially. By working form home the employee can feel connected without the pressures of office cubicle.

The time to be happy is here Psychologists, say socialisation, being appreciated at work and fulfilled work place often are major happiness factors. These are in all likelihood detriments to depression. Simple stapes like

  • Doing a job you love
  • Pursuing a hobby that can help you feel better
  • Learning new skills
  • Taking professional help to improve at work
  • Creating a work/life balance

Doctors too urge managers and co-workers to eliminate bias against depressed employees. Many times the employee after the treatment puts in better efforts and drives higher productivity. Good managers believe that comprehending their staff's behaviour is as important as understanding their performance.


Timely interventions, medical help and supportive work environment can help employees cope with exhausting situations better and emerge confident and upbeat once again.


Reference: TheManageMentor.

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