Supervisors often face difficult situations when managing employees who are struggling with performance issues, conflict, or personal problems. The following questions are common issues The Village EAP helps answer:
- I would like my employee to talk to a counselor about their workplace performance issues, but I do not want it to go on their record. What can I do?
- I am uncomfortable talking to the employees I supervise about disciplinary issues. Can The Village EAP help?
- Can I mandate that a troubled employee attend EAP sessions as a requirement to keep their job?
- Can I make a supervisory referral out of concern for an employee’s well-being, even if there are currently no documented performance issues?
- I sometimes have to play “referee” between employees in conflict and feel like I am in over my head. What kind of services does The Village EAP offer to help me?
Q&A for Supervisors
Q: I would like my employee to talk to a counselor about their workplace performance issues, but I do not want it to go on their record. What can I do?
A: You can encourage your employee to call the EAP for what is called an “informal referral.” The client can call us to set up services to see someone; however, the employer will not know that they called as we cannot release the information due to confidentiality purposes. If there isn’t any improvement, the employer can call our Supervisor Helpline at 1-800-627-8220 for more information and suggestions.
Q: I am uncomfortable talking to the employees I supervise about disciplinary issues. Can The Village EAP help?
A: Yes, The Village EAP can help and in several ways:
- You can call the Supervisor Helpline at 1-800-627-8220 and speak with one of our experts about your concerns and how to have a disciplinary discussion with a supervisee
- You can make an appointment with an EAP counselor who can assist you in preparing for these difficult conversations
- Your business or organization can have The Village EAP provide supervisory training on constructive confrontation. There are also additional resources including management coaching, leadership development, and other training topics that can assist in improving supervisor and management skills.
A: If the employee's issue is related to their performance, then no, you cannot require that they attend EAP sessions to remain employed. As a part of their performance improvement plan, you can formally refer your employee to The Village EAP, and this referral can connect the employee with the resources and support needed to help them meet their performance objectives. However the decision on whether to retain the employee needs to be based on performance improvement, not whether they attended a counseling session.
In instances of Drug-Free Work Place (DFWP) or Department of Transportation (DOT) violations, your organizational policy will govern the required steps to maintain employment. For example, your policy may state an employee must complete a chemical dependency evaluation and follow through on any recommended programming. If the employee fails to do so, this would be a violation of your organizational policy and therefore, may be grounds for termination.
It is critical that you, as an employer, are familiar with your organizational policy and any state and federal regulations, follow them, and require employees who are referred for violating those regulations to comply with all recommendations before allowing them back to safety-sensitive duties.
Q: Can I make a supervisory referral out of concern for an employee’s well-being, even if there are currently no documented performance issues?
A: Yes, you can encourage employees to seek assistance and support through The Village Employee Assistance Program. This is called an Informal Referral, which is recommended when there are no performance issues but you are concerned about your employee. The Informal Referral process consists of reminding the employee about the availability of confidential, helpful services through the EAP. However, informally referred employees are not required to follow through with this type of referral, and supervisors receive no feedback from EAP staff regarding the nature of services received.
A Formal Referral provides supervisor updates and case management, and is only appropriate when there are documented performance issues.
Q: I sometimes have to play “referee” between employees in conflict and feel like I am in over my head. What kind of services does The Village EAP offer to help me?
A: Conflict in the workplace can be challenging to manage. When you feel overwhelmed, call the Supervisor Helpline at 1-800-627-8220. A trained and experienced professional with The Village Business Institute can offer insight and help you develop a strategy to handle the conflict at hand. If the nature of the conflict requires a more in-depth approach, we can assist with mediation, organizational assessments, or training to increase effectiveness and reduce conflict in the workplace.