Help for Human Resources and Supervisors

Over 10% of our nation's work force is suffering from severe personal problems which affect work performance at an estimated cost of 10 billion dollars per year.

Life Enrichment Employee Assistance Program is structured to provide assistance to any employee with personal problems that affect or may affect job performance. Assistance is also offered to family members since they are factors in an employee's job performance.

An employee may become involved in the Employee Assistance Program in three ways:

  • Self Referral – This is the ideal way for the employee to seek help by realizing a personal problem exists and to voluntarily contact Life Enrichment EAP on his/her own without management involvement.
  • Suggested Referral by a Supervisor – Sometimes an employee will reveal to their supervisor a personal problem exists which is not affecting performance. The supervisor should encourage the employee to seek EAP help.
  • Management Referral – When an employee is exhibiting unsatisfactory job performance which may lead to job dismissal or the employee is in the formal disciplinary process.  

Five Steps in Making a Management Referral:

  • Step 1: Document
    • Record all instances of unsatisfactory job performance behavior (Absenteeism, missed deadlines, poor quality of work, etc.).  Your documentation should be objective and deal only with behavior related to job performance, not with what you think the employee’s personal problem might be.
  • Step 2: Evaluate
    • When job performance is determined to be unacceptable, the supervisor must take action.  You may consult with your supervisor, Human Resources Department, or the EAP prior to talking with the employee to insure you are following your organizations HR procedures and to be confident you can follow through with your corrective action plan.
  • Step 3: Intervention
    • Using the documentation of unacceptable job performance, discuss with the employee in a caring and objective way that their performance is unsatisfactory and that failure to take corrective action could place their job in jeopardy.  Be specific in describing the employee’s behavior.  With input from the employee, establish guidelines and time frames for measuring progress.  Don’t get sidetracked by excuses.  Stick with only issues directly related to job performance.  Finally, inform the employee about how to contact EAP.  If appropriate, have the employee contact EAP at the time of the intervention.
  • Step 4: Follow Up
    • Continue to observe and document.  Monitor the employee’s progress in correcting performance and review with the employee.  If the employee’s performance improves within the time frames established, encourage the employee.  If improvement objectives are not met within the time frames, initiate another intervention which might include disciplinary action.
  • Step 5: Refer
    • If steps 1 through 4 have not resulted in the required performance improvement, the employee should be given a formal offer to seek help with EAP.  This offer should be in writing and documented in the personnel record.  It is critical that if you proceed with the disciplinary process that the referral to the EAP is offered and documented.  Again, consult with your Human Resources Department for your organization’s exact procedures.
  • Step 6: Continued Evaluation
    • If the employee is offered an EAP referral for assistance and accepts, your responsibility is to continue monitoring and evaluating performance.  

As a supervisor, you are in a unique position to motivate an employee to seek assistance for a persistent personal problem which impacts on work performance. It can be difficult to tell an employee that poor performance must change. It is also difficult for the employee to accept that performance problems are serious and need attention. However, maintaining one's job is a powerful motivation to explore possibilities for change. It is in this dual role of confronting the poor performance, and simultaneously offering a source of professional help, that supervisors can encourage an employee to seek improved health and productivity.

You, the supervisor, are the key in the identification and rehabilitation of your troubled employee. If you have any questions regarding the EAP or how to make a referral, we strongly recommended that you first consult with your Human Resource Department. We will work with you and the HR staff to address your concerns. Call us. Let us help. Life Enrichment EAP at 1-800-404-7960.