Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Be Gingerly with Returning Troops from Overseas? - NO WAY!

I had a supervisor ask me recently about the mental state of his employees who had returned from overseas and who had also been in action. He pondered about how lenient he should be with these employees. Oh, my! he asked, don’t they deserve a break because of their stress and more leniency from us supervisors when performance problems arise?

Folks, ask any returning troops this question, and they will freak out. Do think the doh boys of WWII got treated with kit gloves. Hell no. They came home and raised five kids and ran boy scout troops. Let's stop treating Vets like every one of them is about to shoot up the Post Office. Sure, absolutely, some have PTSD, but let them tell you that they need accommondations first. Listen, it's natural to weigh the circumstances of your employees and want to be lenient as a way of accommodating them. However, unless a specific request is made for a reasonable accommodation, it is generally better to treat employees equally and all as fully capable. Do not assume these employees require different standards for how their performance should be judged. Many employees experience performance problems attributable to traumas and personal issues. Although the stress of war and its toll on the psyche is extraordinary, your employees will benefit most by being held to the same performance evaluation standards and work rules as other employees. Most soldiers returning from overs as will tell you they want to be treated no differently than their peers. Remember not to make assumptions or diagnostic conclusions about your employees.