Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don't Bring a Mental Health Counselor to a Termination Interview

Please don't do it. If you're terminating an employee and are worried about his possible emotional reaction at the termination meeting, don't ask a mental health counselor to be there just in case. It's about the dumbest thing you can do. For one thing, it's unethical. An uninvited solicitation of a person to become a client is what this adds up to, and this violates client self-determination principles. A mental health counselor is not a fire extinguisher. Fear of an employee's emotional reaction in a termination interview is not uncommon, but to assume it will happen? Why? What are you trying to prevent? No mental health counselor will be able to intervene at that moment. Experience shows that such fears by managers are usually not realized. If your company is smart enough to have real, live, warm-body type EAP counselor working or on contract with your organization, definitely pass the number on to the employee. (Also, managers may also find it helpful to consult with the EAP before meeting with an employee in order to help allay fears and formulate a more effective dismissal meeting.) This all falls under the heading of using the EAP in supervision. The rationale? You can't manage personal problems employees and must incorporate EAP Theory in management practices to reduce behavioral risk in your organization. You can get monthly guidance from an expert on better ways to interface with your employees and help their personal problems not interfere with productivity by getting a free trial to Frontline Supervisor newsletter here.