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Divorce is a very personal issue, yet when a key executive is involved, it can have a major impact on your business. Maybe this person becomes distracted trying to juggle the responsibilities of divorce on top of the already heavy load company leaders tend to carry. Or perhaps the anxiety brought on by divorce makes him or her less patient with employees, clients or partners. Supporting your leaders to help them navigate divorce smoothly is vital to not only their well-being but that of the employees they manage and the organization overall.
How can your company lend support? Here are some policies and resources you can put into place to minimize disruptions and stress, and streamline necessary divorce-related activities:
Make sure your HR team is well-versed in the implications of divorce on benefits and other employment matters. Your human resources department should be prepared with information and instructions to guide leaders who are embarking on divorce through matters such as health insurance coverage (e.g., moving from a family plan to an individual plan or vice versa, and the availability and terms of COBRA for the divorcing spouse), life insurance considerations (e.g., beneficiary designations) and retirement account issues (e.g., divorcing spouses may be entitled to a portion of your retirement account).
Providing easy access to HR representatives or other resources who are familiar with the employment issues that can become relevant in a divorce to answer questions and engage in informative one-on-one discussions can give divorcing leaders true peace of mind. Your HR team should also create a print or an electronic “divorce package” covering all relevant HR topics for these individuals. This package can be immensely helpful in providing information early on and then serving as a quick reference throughout the divorce proceedings.Have clear policies about the confidentiality and release of documents
Communicate how support staff may or may not be called on to assist with divorce matters. It might seem natural to a business leader to tap his or her assistant for various divorce-related tasks—say, copying tax returns or other documents requested by the court—but this can compromise that employee’s productivity and cause disruptions to the business. Again, having clear office policies is essential. You want to support the executive but not at the cost of placing undue pressure on employees or putting them into a situation that makes them uncomfortable, whether because these tasks are not part of their agreed-upon responsibilities or because they would prefer not to have access to their manager’s private information.
It’s important to emphasize the importance of confidentiality with divorcing leaders, too. Although most will be well aware that they shouldn’t make their divorce the topic of watercooler chitchat, you might remind them that sharing details of their divorce or related issues could change employee perceptions about them and compromise the professional culture they’ve helped build.
Consider engaging with a divorce concierge service. Some companies are putting divorce concierge services on retainer to handle a broad range of administrative tasks: helping a divorcing executive create an expense budget, contacting banks for account statements, making sure any payments that need to be made during the divorce are issued in a timely fashion, facilitating the move to a new home and even researching childcare facilities or schools. The goal of this type of service is to minimize stress and disruptions so the divorcing executive can continue to focus on fulfilling the responsibilities of his or her position.
If you already have this type of support system in place for the senior leaders of your company, ask those who have taken advantage of it how helpful it was to them and how it might be improved. Offering your valued leaders resources during this difficult time in their lives can go a long way toward demonstrating your support for them and mitigating the potential for negative effects on other employees and your business. You also may want to consider expanding these types of services to all employees.
July 10, 2019 at 03:22PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs