Investing in an employee with FASD is a worthwhile decision. Often people with FASD can be fiercely loyal to family, friends and employers, as well as having a strong sense of right and wrong, incredible work ethic, and a great sense of humour. Striking the perfect balance at work can create longstanding, competent employees that will care for a company as if it is their own.
One way to strike this balance to is "check in" with your investment, meaning you have spent the time training and getting to know this person. Making sure they are well and happy will go a long way towards staff retention and productivity.
- A simple check-in at the beginning of a shift can tell a lot about how the person will perform that day
- If check-ins go well and an employee responds well to the employer's interest in their well-being, a line of communication is established and might be used when the employee is struggling later.
- When check-ins are not going well it is important for employees to recognize how outside factors may be affecting the client. It could be that the bus is never coming on time causing stress or that the employee is getting bullied in the lunch room.
- This step may be the most important, calling a contact person! When an employee, who you have spent time, money and energy training begins to show poor job performance or is unhappy, it is important to not quit on them. Inform the contact person of your concerns about the employee's job performance and why you think their performance has changed. Find out what the contact person can do outside of work to help support the employee to improve their job performance.
Don't forget, each employee with FASD is different and although it may seem the problem is the same as before or you feel it's something you have seen before, a contact person can help to remedy or explain a problem you may be unaware of.
- Instead of asking for an emergency contact when employees fill out a hire package, ask for the name of a contact person for potential check-ins and problem solving. This process is for employees who have FASD and who self-identify during the hiring or training process. The person with FASD must also understand they are giving the employer the right to contact someone about their job performance.
- A contact person can be:
- A parent or sibling who is involved in the employee's life
- A mentor who works with the employee on a weekly basis
- A support worker who helps to case manage the employee's concerns
- An employment specialist who is better able to understand the stresses of work while living with a disability.