Human Resources Division

Advice on managing individual cases If the staff member is away from work

Do's Do nots
Prompt, well thought action is necessary when you believe there is a stress problem Do not delay unless you have concrete reasons to believe the matter will resolve itself
Use your judgement about the best approach based upon your knowledge of the person Do not hesitate to seek advice from Human Resources Services (HR Partner), but it is your problem to resolve
Consider whether you are part of the perceived problem. If so, involve a credible third party Do not use your involvement as an excuse for lack of action
Start low key, casually and at an informal level but have your facts marshalled. Have specific examples where the person's performance has deteriorated or where it is affecting the performance of others Do not make a fuss or back the person into a corner. Do not operate on a wing and a prayer.
If the person's problem is not affecting their performance or that of others be prepared to back off and respect their privacy. Even when the issue is work-related you must be sensitive to privacy issues. Do not use respect for privacy as an excuse for inaction. Offer assistance. If it is refused, leave the offer open whilst continuing to monitor work performance and impact.
If a discussion starts to get heated or personal, break it off. Get a third party (HR Partner) involved to protect both yours and the other person's integrity Do not get into arguments. If the matter needs to be pushed and the person concerned is not responding well, break off and make arrangements for a more formal meeting
Do be prepared to act as a sounding board and assist the other person to come to a personally acceptable decision. Facilitate the persons self-development and awareness Do not act as a judge, confessor or parent. If this is what the person wants, refer them to professional assistance (Employee Assistance Program). Avoid seeming indifferent but do not become emotionally involved
Do accept that some problems are out of your league. If the matter cannot be resolved locally, identify the best course of action and best forum for its resolution Do not become involved over your head. Do not hesitate to seek outside professional assistance or seek advice from more senior management or your HR Partner.
While taking a sincere interest in the personal wellbeing of your staff, remember your prime responsibility as a manager is with the person's performance. Do not become enmeshed in personal disputes, keep to the facts about the person's performance. Do not speculate or jump to conclusions. Do not apply your own personal values or beliefs in evaluating the performance of staff
Respect confidences and the person's privacy. Avoid moral dilemmas, do not say or do anything that will compromise your integrity or that of the University's.
Do document any decisions or commitments about future performance or behaviour. Show the document to the person concerned and get their agreement. Do follow-up any commitments. Do not leave this more than 1-2 days, as things can change or deteriorate rapidly.

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4th October 2012