In the nature versus nurture debate, I would describe myself as falling squarely on the side of nurture. I don’t say this to discount nature; to be sure, 1. It is important to understand, though, that there are many types of intelligence. I’m personally more verbally and logically intelligent. Rhythmic and spatial? Not so much.intelligence is a very real thing that is partially governed by biological factors. 1 With that said, natural intelligence is just one of many variables that impacts development: Ultimately, in most matters of cognitive complexity it is hard work and time that most governs success.
…I say all that to say that I’m acutely aware of the fact that most people just need the right push to learn and grow into more or less anything. If – as I believe – our cultural legacies shape our successes, we can alter the trajectories of people on even the most negative paths with the right changes to their environments.
Which brings me to employee assistance programs: I am a big fan of them mostly because – when done well – they give colleagues in difficult personal straits an opportunity to understand and change life circumstances that might derail any one of us if we experienced them. By giving people a chance to change their behaviors we don’t just make a difference in the employee’s work performance, but in the lives of the people that care about and are dependent on them (which has societal benefits that can indirectly affect the bottom line).
Conversely, as an HR professional my job is ultimately to support the business – not the employee population. Ideally, both of those actions are aligned – but when they are not the needs of the business take precedent.
When assisting a colleague, figuring out where to draw the line between reaching out and letting go is a blurred one: If you succeed in defining it, tell me how.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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