How EAP Consultants Can Help Managers
From stress on the job to health and wellness and performance-related issues, employee assistance program (EAP) consultants help managers lower absenteeism, decrease tardiness, reduce health care costs, improve safety records and retain valuable employees.
Managers are encouraged to use appropriate internal resources and refer to their company’s internal policies and procedures to make sure they are using approved practices. After they’ve talked with their human resources experts and in conjunction with having accessed all internal company resources, managers can turn to EAP consultants, who can assess the problem, provide consultation, identify external resources and refer managers to professional service providers when appropriate.
Many problems can be handled during a phone consultation. Articles and checklists on this site can help managers prepare for and facilitate an EAP referral.
When to ask for help
If one of your employees shows a change in behavior, such as poor work performance, difficulty concentrating, irritability, tardiness or excessive absence, there may be stresses in her personal life. Perhaps she’s struggling with finding child care resources after moving to a new neighborhood, or is coping suddenly with an elderly parent who’s ill. She may be dealing with a substance-abuse problem or a case of domestic violence.
Your EAP consultant will talk with you about the history of the problem and any dips in work performance that you’ve documented. The consultant will coach you on how to approach the employee in a non-confrontational style. It’s always best for the manager to take the employee aside privately and discuss job performance or attendance in a straightforward manner, asking if anything is wrong, rather than jumping to conclusions or making accusations. The manager then can weave information about EAP services into the discussion.
While EAP consultants can’t solve your workplace problems, they can facilitate resolution of the issues that cause or impact these problems. The goal is to deal with a work-performance or personal problem before it escalates to a safety issue or an incident of workplace violence.
Sometimes EAP consultants come on-site if there is conflict between departments or co-workers. They meet with supervisors and management teams to facilitate teambuilding workshops that can increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Another time EAP consultants sometimes are asked to come on-site is during layoffs or terminations. While EAP consultants can’t notify employees of layoffs, they can support managers during this difficult time and provide coping skills.
These situations sometimes are as stressful for the managers who have to deliver the bad news as for the employees receiving the news. Whatever the situation, EAP consultants want to be sure that managers maintain their objectivity and that they take care of themselves before, during and after.
EAP consultants are prepared to work with you to bring balance to your workplace.
By Rosalyn Kulick
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