When should employees seek counseling

As a manager, you do everything you can to make sure your employees have a productive work environment, but there are some problems outside of your control.

Traumatic life experiences often trigger mental health-related issues:

  • Grieving the loss of a loved one
  • Divorce or the end of a long-term relationship
  • Fear for the safety of a child or loved one
  • A life-altering medical diagnosis
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol

Depression, anxiety, and withdrawal are all common mental health concerns that can affect your employees. Recognizing signs of mental health issues among your employees is the first step in getting them the help they need. But you need to know what you are looking for first.

Common Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems

Physical illnesses have visible symptoms, and so do mental health disorders. A sudden change in behavior is the best indicator that someone isn’t well. A staff member experiencing a personal crisis may exhibit any of the following negative behaviors:

  • Excessive tardiness or absenteeism
  • Increased Irritability—employee is argumentative, or complains about minor offenses
  • Declining work performance
  • Poor personal hygiene or grooming
  • Disorganized
  • Inability to focus
  • Failure to complete routine tasks
  • Disappearing throughout the workday

Any single one of these behaviors might simply be a typical performance problem. When too many symptoms appear over a short time, there is cause for concern. If you discover the physical presence of drugs or alcohol at work, take immediate action.

What confuses many managers is the lack of formal processes to deal with these situations. The cause is not work-related, and standard disciplinary measures are often counterproductive. An employee counseling program is more likely to address the root of the problem.

Benefits of Workplace Counseling Programs

EAP benefits such as employee counseling services can effectively treat workers dealing with mental health concerns. Instead of depending on harsh disciplinary measures, issues are addressed and resolved through therapy sessions that focus on restoring and strengthening your employee’s emotional health.

By addressing the root cause of the negative workplace behavior, you help your employees improve their quality of life at work and at home. It also positively reinforces the fact that you care about your team’s wellbeing.

When evaluating workplace counseling providers, look for the following:

  • Confidentiality – Private counseling sessions that do not impact performance evaluations
  • Available During Work Hours – Your staff should seek help as soon as possible
  • Safe Environment – Employees need a comfortable place to talk
  • Phone Counselors – Having counselors available by phone increases accessibility

Make a difference in the lives of your staff members and protect your business. Find out more about the benefits of workplace counseling from Mazzitti and Sullivan EAP.