In our fast-paced, stressful world, it’s not unusual for an organization to have some employees struggling with workplace-related stress or personal issues. These problems can affect an employee’s work performance through lowered productivity levels, increased absenteeism and tense relationships with coworkers.
How can organizations help their employees maintain their health and well-being? One effective solution is to offer an employee assistance program that includes workplace counseling.
What Is Workplace Counseling?
Workplace counseling is therapy offered to employees of a company, often through an employee assistance program, that provides employees with a safe place to discuss any issues that they’re struggling with.1 A counseling service offered by an EAP often includes both in-person counseling as well as a telephone-based helpline.
Because workplace counseling is short-term, the focus of the counseling sessions is on problem-solving. Counselors help clients implement solutions to the issues in their lives or develop more effective ways of coping with challenges.
The Benefits of Workplace Counseling
Workplace counseling services can play a powerful role in supporting a healthy work environment. A 2012 study that looked at the outcome of over 28,000 clients who participated in counseling through their workplace showed that 70 percent experienced improvement after their counseling services.2
The benefits of workplace counseling for employees include:
- Easy access to trained counselors
- A safe space to talk about their problems
- Helping employees to better understand themselves
- Establishing or improving coping skills
- Developing effective solutions to problems
- Learning to look at issues with a more positive outlook and different perspective
While workplace counseling can be helpful to employees, there are also many benefits for employers:
- Improved employee performance, leading to productivity gains
- Decreased employee absenteeism
- Lower turnover rates among employees
- Productive way to handle sensitive situations or staff members with problematic behaviors
- Establish a reputation as an employer that cares about staff
Keys to Success
Certain factors can impact the success of a workplace counseling program. Confidentiality is essential—employees who participate in workplace counseling need to know that all communication with a counselor will be privileged. If employees don’t believe that their information will be kept private and confidential, they won’t use the program.
The qualifications of the counselors available through the program is another factor that contributes to the success of a program. Counselors should be licensed psychologists or social workers with a good understanding of the employees’ work environment.
Easy access is another key to success. Employees should be able to get an appointment in a relatively short amount of time.
Workplace counseling has clear benefits for both employees and employers. Research has proven that there’s a strong link between an employee’s psychological well-being and their productivity at work.3 When companies offer an EAP that includes confidential workplace counseling services, everybody wins. Employees can work through challenges in their life that may be impacting their performance, and employers can enjoy productivity gains while knowing that they’re helping to improve the lives of their employees.