Everyone has a role to play in reintegrating an employee after an absence from the workplace. There may have been issues prior to the absence that impacted the employee, the team and/or the leader. Often things are brought up during the absence by team members that a leader may not have been aware of. Many behaviours or dynamics may have been at play that could affect the success of a returning employee for everyone. A leave of absence may be due primarily to a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, but could also include any other type of medical condition that has caused absence. Sometimes, anxiety or stress may be symptoms of workplace dynamics that may have contributed to the departure of the employee and to the apprehension of the team and/or leader regarding the return of an employee.
Our Back to work – reintegration after an absence program is designed to assist people leaders, the employee and the team in reestablishing relationships and creating a pathway to an improved environment including a successful return for the employee. The program takes a proactive approach to supporting the people leader, the employee and other team members as the return to work date approaches, and preparations are being made. At this point, the employee has been cleared to return to work therefore is deemed healthy to be reintegrated into the work environment. Often the cause of relapse is based on continued strained relationships and a failure to recognize the needs of all involved and affected. This will involve and is not limited to being aware and accountable of ones actions and understanding some situations that may require different perspectives and approaches.
Program options for organizations, include one-on-one coaching to support the leader and returning employee, as well as facilitated small group sessions that support the entire team in managing their concerns. Individual and group sessions are:
- Delivered by a skilled professional,
- Highly interactive in nature, and
- Use a combination of group debriefing and semi-structured activities to help the team and leader prepare for the employee’s return.