Thursday, January 15, 2015

Managing Medically Influenced Behavioral Problems on the Job

Major depression affects 15-20 percent of the population. A research report from Stony Brook University in November received widespread attention because its author supported further investigation into the possibility that major depression could be the result of “some parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection” not yet identified. Infectious was mischaracterized as contagious in other media. The two do not necessarily equate. Not long ago, stomach ulcers were determined to be caused by H. pylori bacteria, not stress. The idea is similar. With regard to the workplace, many studies have shown that employee morale can be affected by the attitudes and behaviors of coworkers. In this sense, depression’s effects can be “contagious” if behavioral issues of those affected by it influence others and negatively impact morale or productivity. Rely on a contracted EAP professional or if you are smart enough to have an EAP firm on retainer, use them, when you are concerned about an employee’s behavior. Do not attempt to decide whether an employee is or is not depressed. It will lead to a discussion. That discussion will lead to "assurances" from your employee everything is just fine. That will lead to a temporary cure as a result of increased effort to control symptoms, and that will lead to relapse...or worse. There is such a thing as behavioral-medical problems that affect performance. 12% of employees are affected by such problems, but you have no ability to manage this "strata" of employee behavior. You must rely upon pros. To see our supervisor courses go to