Many large organisations now provide personal support to their employees which can bring many benefits to both employer and employee.
Read more ….Such support can include legal advice, telephone counselling and face to face counselling. By providing this support, the organisation is taking steps to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, increase staff morale and prove that they care for their most valuable assets. With statistics increasingly telling us that stress and workplace stress continue to increase, this is a positive move forward.
Often, this support is offered by an external company as it is very important for this service to be confidential. The employee may want to talk about work related issues without the fear that their thoughts and feelings will be fed back to their line manager or that it will go on their human resource records to affect promotion chances or references. Such companies are known as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) and often a set of pages are dedicated to the services they offer on the company intranet.
In terms of process, the employee makes contact with the EAP and the person who answers at the EAP will talk with them to ascertain their requirements and talk about confidentiality. When offering telephone counselling, they are likely to arrange a mutually convenient time and if face to face counselling is required, either the employee is given contact details of an affiliated counsellor in the local area or it’s agreed that a counsellor will contact them to make an initial appointment. Most EAP’s offer a set number of face to face sessions which can range typically between 3 and 8. Due to this number, the therapist will often use a Solution Focused way of working which is pretty much as it sounds – focusing on solutions, strengths and what is going right for the employee. This therapeutic style isn’t always appropriate and part of the counsellor’s role is to assess the employee’s needs and if required they can then refer them to other agencies or areas of help to ensure they gain the support they need. This can include both public and private sectors.
Often, just the availability of such support can bring comfort in knowing that if they need it, it is there. The importance for organisations to offer free, impartial and confidential support to their employees is growing as psychological therapies become more accepted and acknowledged for the great benefits they can bring.