A Basic Employee Assistance Program for Your Business

If you are an owner, supervisor, or manager in a small to mid-size business, and you have concerns about the effect that personal problems may be having on the job performance of one or more of your employees, there is a well-tested tool available, in the form of an employee assistance program.

As a supervisor, you may encounter a situation in which you have clear evidence that an employee’s personal problems may be affecting their work performance. But your role as a supervisor doesn’t include trying to diagnose or make recommendations for your employee. You may benefit from consultation with an Employee Assistance Professional. A supervisor consultation can help you:

  • Focus on job performance problems, and avoid having to guess what is causing them;
  • Constructively confront your employee with the job performance issues and possible consequences if they are not corrected;
  • Devise a plan to hold your employee(s) accountable for getting the help they need;
  • Provide a resource for your employee to receive a professional assessment from an experienced mental health professional with extensive workplace experience.

An Employee Assistance professional will help the employee to access any available health coverage for the assessment; or, some employers choose to pay for the assessment for the employee if there is no health coverage. Either way, the employee will be able to benefit from a professional assessment and referrals to whatever treatment or assistance resources are most appropriate for his or her problems.

If you don’t have the resources to pay for a full-service EAP for your employees, or if your business is small enough to rarely need that type of consultation and referral service, this “a la carte” method may meet your needs. Even if you have a “free” EAP benefit bundled with your benefits, you may find it difficult trying to seek consultation through a distant 800 number. Instead, you may wish to to call someone local who can also offer an appointment nearby and confirm a time to provide to the employee when encouraging him or her to call.

The following types of problems may lead to concerns that would be reasons to call:

  • Relationship problems that spill over into the workplace;
  • Alcohol or drug use;
  • Anger and interpersonal problems;
  • Attendance problems (absenteeism)
  • Lack of focus on the job;
  • Disruptive behavior or divisive effect on work teams.

If you would like to consult with a Certified Employee Assistance professional at no cost, please call Paul Fitzgerald at (708) 337-6836. Appointments for employee assessment are available at our Downtown Chicago office, in the heart of Chicago’s Financial District, near the Board of Trade and CBOE, on most weekdays.

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