Calling on the right resources to support someone struggling with performance and stress can be tricky – but it’s a crucial thing to do.
Paul (we’ve changed their name) has given us an account of their experiences as a manager, so others can learn from them.
“Although this started as a performance issue, it became a health issue that affected a number of people involved in this situation…”
I was asked to manage John (again, their name has been changed) who, having previously been told his performance level was good, was no longer performing at an acceptable level. Following a number of attempts to improve performance over several years, there was no improvement. This led to frustration on both sides with stress being experienced by both John and managers alike.
Having been asked to pick up this issue, I consulted with the HR Cases team for advice. I also looked at the range of support available on the Health and Wellbeing pages*.
I took a very empathetic approach, based on my own personal experience, and started again with a new plan. I conducted a stress risk assessment and developed a wellness action plan with John. Some of the reasonable adjustments included flexible working, working from home and Occupation Health support. However, despite these efforts the situation did not improve.
So, I called on the support of the Occupational Health EAP Manager’s helpline and the HR Cases team to work in collaboration with John and the Trade Union.
It was difficult performance managing someone who was experiencing stress as a result of the situation. Although this is not uncommon, or surprising, it made the situation complex and I felt I needed support to address it to the best of my ability. I didn’t know what support was available to me and I would have valued a conversation with another manager who had managed something similar.
I conducted a stress risk assessment, agreed a wellness action plan (both found on the Mental Wellbeing Resources portal*) and had the Occupational Health report, but didn’t know what other support was there. There were differing views of what reasonable adjustments I could/should offer from Occupational Health, HR and the Trade Union. And, I was worried what the repercussions would be if I got it wrong.
Although this started as a performance issue, it became a health issue that affected a number of people involved in this situation. Mental wellbeing is important for everyone’s performance and enjoyment of life.
I learnt a lot of valuable lessons as a manager, the most important of which was ‘don’t think you’re alone!’
Connect to the network of support that is available at National Grid. There is a lot of support available to you and reaching out to obtain this support is essential both for managers and employees.
- Get in touch with the HR Cases team, speak to Occupational Health* and the EAP Manager’s Helpline*.
- Look at what tools and resources are available to help you on the Mental Wellbeing Resources portal*.
- Prepare yourself to conduct a stress risk assessment (available on the portal) and have a good quality conversation with the employee.
- If a performance issue arises in your own team, get the support you need and deal with it straight away so that it doesn’t escalate and become a problem.
- Look after your own health too! This is stressful for both the employee and manager.
Can you share your experiences of managing mental health and wellbeing at National Grid? Please complete the BiTC survey, which is open until July.
* You need to be connected to the National Grid network to access these links.