Friday, February 25, 2011

Reduce Supervisor Stress: Max Out on Using Your Organization's EAP

Many of you looking to improve your supervisory skills have employee assistance programs available to you for consultation through your company. The problem is that I am the first one to tell you this.

It is likely that you have therefore not had an orientation with a representative from the managed care company that runs you organization's employee assistance program, correct? This is par for the course these days, but it did not used be this way. Decades ago, supervisor training was a must, and it paid off. If you had one of these orientations, the professional counselor would give you instructions about how to refer an employee who was having job problems. So, let me give you a few helpful hints righ now. Although there are many different styles of confronting employees and recommending use of the employee assistance program, some methods work better than others. One technique that reportedly works very well is reserving a prearranged appointment time for your employee when you initially consult with the EAP about the pending referral. If your company's employee assistance program does not have a provision that includes consulting with supervisors, it is flat out, a bogus program not worth a dang. Continuing on, when you meet with your employee and conduct your corrective interview, offer the prearranged appointment to the employee if he or she is willing to visit the EAP. Do not, however, require or strong-arm your employee into accepting the appointment time. Accept your employee's desire to make his or her own appointment if the prearranged appointment is refused. Your offer of the prearranged appointment should only be a convenience to facilitate follow-through in visiting the EAP upon your recommendation. (The sooner the appointment follows your corrective interview, the better.) Definitely always ask your employee to sign a release so you can verify attendance. Don't say that signing one is required unless you have "held in abeyance" the employee's termination in lieu of his or her choice to completely cooperate with the EAP. Most employees will sign a release. Then you will be able to communicate with the EAP, but not about details. Only verification of attendance and cooperation with the program's recommendation.