How the Employee Assistance Program Helps Supervisors
The most difficult part of the supervisor’s job is usually not the technical aspects but the supervision of an employee with a personal problem. When an employee comes to you with a personal problem it’s sometimes easy to get overly involved in that employee’s personal life. Here are some tips for staying away from personal issues:
* Focus on job performance only
* Avoid diagnosing a personal problem
* Focus on the goal: to restore performance
* Maintain confidentiality
How Do You Know When to Intervene?
It is the responsibility of an organization’s supervisors to appropriately confront an employee whenever they see changes in performance that do not respond to corrective actions. Examples of appropriate times to intervene and initiate a referral to the EAP: positive drug screen; policy violations; critical incident; or performance problems that have not responded to previous corrective actions.
* Observe employees on a regular basis to identify problematic patterns of performance
* Recognize problems as they occur
* Consult with your Human Resources department and Employee Assistance Network
* Document performance problems
* Determine the type of referral to make
Types of Referrals
* Informal (self-referred)
* Formal (management initiated)
Step 1. The supervisor may inform the employee of the benefits provided by the EAP and give the employee a copy of the EAP brochure which includes the telephone number to call.
Step 2. The supervisor may contact the EAP to inform them of the informal referral and the circumstances leading to it, but this is not necessary.
Step 3. The EAP counselor WILL NOT TELL the supervisor whether the employee used the EAP and will not divulge any information to the supervisor about the visit unless the employee authorizes this by signing a release of information.
Formal (management initiated)
Step 1. The supervisor, or another manager designated by the organization, should contact the EAP to discuss the employee’s problem and alert the EAP that the employee will be calling. This call must take place BEFORE the employee comes to the EAP so that we can clearly understand the supervisor’s concerns about work performance.
Step 2. The EAP counselor will ask the employee to sign a release of information allowing the counselor to tell the supervisor or other manager that the employee attended the appointment and has agreed to follow recommendations to address the performance issue. NO OTHER detailed information will be revealed to the supervisor. There are two reasons for the limits on the release:
* to protect the supervisor/organization from being pulled into the employee’s personal problems and potentially creating legal issues such as ADA, etc.
* to protect the employees right to keep personal information confidential
How To Make A Referral
Step 1. Consult your Human Resources Department and follow your organization’s policy regarding who makes the call to Employee Assistance Network.
Step 2. Call Employee Assistance Network before the employee schedules an appointment so that we are alerted that this is a management-initiated referral and can have a clear understanding about the work performance problems before we see the employee.
Step 3. We will request that the employee sign releases enabling us to report back to you regarding the employee’s attendance and cooperation with the process.
Step 4. Expect a phone call and a follow-up letter from us shortly after the first appointment.
Step 5. If the work situation changes during the referral process, the supervisor should notify the counselor involved so that we can be aware of positive or negative changes. We will keep you informed throughout the process regarding attendance and compliance with EAN recommendations.
Step 6. Follow your usual disciplinary procedures with the employee. Management initiated referral does not provide a reprieve for the employee nor does it replace or set aside usual disciplinary procedures.
Step 7. Follow up with the employee frequently to give feedback on progress toward restored performance.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the supervision of your employees, please feel free to contact Employee Assistance Network at (828) 252-5725 or 1-800-454-1477.