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?