For quite a long time, the top four problems staff members face and struggle with at work have not changed. They are financial pressures, domestic issues, medical problems, & substance abuse.
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
- 1. Financial Pressures
A recent report estimates that 30 million workers in America…that’s one in four…are seriously financially distressed.
- 2. Domestic Issues
Studies have shown that employees lose more than 160 hours of work time in the year following a divorce. Findings of the Life Innovations Study, “Marriage and Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business?” concluded that relationship-related stress costs employers about $300 billion annually.
- 3. Medical Problems
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually.
- 4. Substance Abuse
A fact from the National Council on Drug and Alcohol Dependency states that 70% of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed.
What might surprise you at first, but not at all upon reflection, is a new entry in the top five. It represents a huge problem for employers and employees alike and is brought on by the swelling number of baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) in the workforce. This issue has clearly moved into the top five problems people wrestle with at work, and some say it is quickly moving up the scale. It is the challenge our team members face in caring for their aging parents.
A recent USA TODAY/ABC News/Gallup poll estimates that 34 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers for elderly relatives and that they spend on average 21 hours a week helping out. To validate the growing trend here, this same survey suggests that of all baby boomers who are not caring for an elderly relative, 37% expect to do so in the future.
Knowing all these facts is one thing, but as caring Christian workplace leaders, it’s what we try to do about these issues that really matters. Throughout the New Testament, we see our hero, Jesus, taking time to make a difference in the lives of working people. We find Him dealing with all of the above challenges as well as many more. For Him, it all came down to love and compassion. Jesus demonstrated His love for people all the time, plus, He had a genuine passion for exhibiting compassion.
So, what are the top five things we can do to compassionately impact the lives of our team members struggling with the plethora of life issues?
- 1. We can start by getting on our knees and asking God to help us help them. Ask Him to give you a heart of compassion for your people. When we begin an assignment in communion with the God of the Universe, our possibilities for success improve exponentially.
- 2. Develop a Caring Plan for your company and encourage other team members to join in a Caring Committee to target needs of your team.
- 3. Establish an Employee Benevolence Program that employees can contribute time or money (which may be matched by the company) to help employees in need.
- 4. Investigate programs like Financial Peace University, Divorce Care, Celebrate Recovery, and many others that offer Christian based solutions to the personal and yet productivity zapping challenges your team members face.
- 5. Consider a chaplaincy program for your company to offer regular proactive employee assistance. There are a number of resources in this area from various Christian providers, many of whom are making tremendous strides with employees in crisis and, as a result, seeing many lives transformed.
When we work to imitate and develop the attitude of Christ relative to the needs of our team members, our lives are transformed as well. We actually reap the greatest benefit. Not simply in greater productivity and earthly rewards…but in the eternal dividends that await on the other side. We work hard to build net worth here on Earth, yet the Bible teaches us in Matthew chapter six, not to lay up treasures here on Earth where moths and rust destroy them, but to lay up treasures in Heaven where they will live on forever. Our people are the true treasures of our earthly work. Let’s cherish them and take as many to Heaven with us as possible. In doing so, when we get to Heaven ourselves, we can truly hope to hear our great God say, ”Well done my good and faithful servant.”
By: Mark Cress
Mark Cress is the Founder of Corporate Chaplains of America. CCA (www.chaplain.org) is the nation’s leading provider of full time workplace chaplains to more than 800 public and private business locations across the US and internationally. He holds business and seminary degrees including a doctorate in Business Ethics and Leadership. He has authored seven books through Lanphier Press. Mark has a passion for Christian leadership matters within the emerging workplace ministry arena. He and his wife Linda have two grown daughters and reside in North Carolina.Read More Articles by Mark Cress