Employers may not be trained counsellors but they can assist employees who suffer from depression, there are a number of factors that you can implement that can help the employee.
Clearly depression may not seem obvious to everyone but there may be clear signs such as the employee is quiet, unsocial, or you notice a change in behaviour. Firstly be there to listen, the employee may wish to discuss their issues with you or they simply may not wish to divulge their personal lives with you, whatever you need to respect what they believe. However if an employee wishes to come forward and share whatever is on their mind then be there for them, listen to what they have to say, clearly they trust your opinion and you are valued by the individual. They will clearly appreciate talking to you even if you are unable to help personally, you may be able to point them in the direction of an employee assistance programme
If the employee needs time off to seek help for their problems or receive counselling then offer flexibility. Not only will you be assisting the employee in attaining support but it shows the individual that you care and you believe in their welfare. In the future the support you offer can lock in loyalty from the employee, they will understand that you are a compassionate and caring boss and someone who cares for their workforce.
Remember to point them towards the resources of counselling or outsourced help, this can be through their GP or utilising a professional telephone advice service
. In addition any information and conversations discussed between yourself and the employee should always be kept in confidence, the last thing the individual needs is for you to be informing fellow colleagues and management of the problems and issues the individual is facing - so always keep information confidential.