When Managers Suggest the EAP

Most employees who call the EAP do so on their own because they know it is time to get help.  In fact, someone may consider calling for help for over a year before they actually make the first call.  That’s why it’s so important to have total confidence that your EAP will handle the call well.

About 5% of the people who call for help are calling because their supervisor or manager suggested it.  Often the referral occurs because there is a performance issue festering.  A referral to the EAP may be the most important thing that a manager can do in his or her role.

Five things managers need to know:

– Employees get back on track sooner when managers take early action on performance issues.  This is true when there is an interfering personal problem as well.

– A supervisory referral may be formal or informal.  In both cases, a referral to the EAP may be the most helpful action to take with a troubled employee.

–  An informal supervisory referral occurs when a manager mentions the availability of the EAP to an employee.   Helpful phrases to practice; “Are you aware that we have an EAP?” or, “Have you thought about calling the EAP to get some help for your situation?”.

–  A formal supervisory referral occurs when there is a documented performance issue and disciplinary action is in process.  The employee must be made aware of this process from the beginning and a company policy should support it.  A formal referral should be discussed with Human Resources as well.

– Avoid mandatory referrals.  Unless there are safety sensitive situations and a strong company policy, a well-delivered referral should be sufficient. In most cases, managers may “strongly suggest” the EAP during progressive discipline, but it is always the employee’s choice as to whether or not he/she avails him/herself of help through the EAP.

Are you using your EAP effectively?

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