Regular meetings and supervision sessions between managers and their staff are good for business, individual wellbeing and great for staff engagement.
Sometimes even a small (or more significant) drop in performance is the signal that a staff member might be experiencing distress.
If you have to consider a disciplinary/competence process, it is wise to keep an open mind as to whether a mental health concern could be the reason for the drop in their performance. You shouldn’t shy away from using disciplinary or competence policies where needed – unacceptable behaviour and poor performance must be addressed – but keep in mind that fear can prevent a person disclosing a mental health concern until their job is potentially on the line.
Appraisals and career development can be very challenging to people who have lived experience of mental health problems. It can be hard to think about strengths if your self-esteem is low and receiving feedback – whether it is positive or negative – can be very difficult.
If a person hasn’t been performing as well as usual, they may feel guilty or fearful about it. Be honest in assessing their performance – they may feel their performance is worse than it is. It can be useful to agree in advance how to handle any continuing problems.
Encourage your colleague to identify factors or triggers that might play a role in them becoming unwell and consider how to deal with them. You may also want to agree how best to respond to a crisis, and what adjustments you could make to the job on a permanent basis to support them.