How EAPs Fit into Supervision
A supervisor referral is appropriate when your employee’s performance problems continue despite your attempts to correct them in the normal process of supervision. Your employee may or may not have a personal problem, but the criteria for a supervisor referral exists — a continuing performance problem.
A troubled employee is an employee whose personal problems interfere with job performance — attendance, quality of work, behavior, attitude, or availability.
Refer employees early before problems become severe and your relationship with the employee deteriorates. Don’t ignore a developing performance problem. Don’t fear that your employee will be insulted by a supervisor referral to the EAP.
- A supervisor referral is based upon job performance issues. It is not based upon the supervisor’s belief in the existence of a personal problem. A personal problem may exist, and symptoms of it may appear obvious, but the rationale for supervisor referral to the EAP is always based upon legitimate concerns of the employer — performance problems.
- It is reasonable for a supervisor to encourage an employee to use the EAP as a self-referral if the employee discloses personal problems. This helps you avoid becoming involved in the employee’s personal problems. (This is not a supervisor referral.)
If you enable an employee with a performance problem, a personal problem may grow worse, and it may become more difficult to treat. Refer employees early before performance problems, personal problems, and your relationship with your employee grow worse.
A supervisor referral is not a casual conversation. It is a formal step in attempting to correct performance. It includes: 1) telling your employee you are making a supervisor referral to the EAP and why; 2) communicating the nature of the performance issues to the EAP; and 3) asking the employee to sign a release so you will have information about participation and follow-through with the EAP and its recommendations, not personal information.