Employee Counseling at Workplace

The latest trend catching up in the corporate HR across the world is 'Employee Counseling at Workplace'. In the world of ever increasing complexity and the stress in the lives, especially the workplaces of the employees, employee counseling has emerged as the latest HR tool to attract and retain its best employees and also to increase the quality of the workforce. In today's fast-paced corporate world, there is virtually no organization free of stress or stress-free employees. The employees can be stressed, depressed, suffering from too much anxiety arising out of various workplace related issues like managing deadlines, meeting targets, lack of time to fulfill personal and family commitments, or bereaved and disturbed due to some personal problem etc Organizations have realized the importance of having a stress-free yet motivated and capable workforce. Therefore, many companies have integrated the counseling services in their organizations and making it a part of their culture. Organizations are offering the service of employee counseling to its employees. What is Employee Counseling? Employee counseling can be explained as providing help and support to the employees to face and sail through the difficult times in life. At many points of time in life or career people come across some problems either in their work or personal life when it starts influencing and affecting their performance and, increasing the stress levels of the individual. Counseling is guiding, consoling, advising and sharing and helping to resolve their problems whenever the need arises. Technically, Psychological Counseling, a form of counseling is used by the experts to analyze the work related performance and behavior of the employees to help them cope with it, resolve the conflicts and tribulations and re-enforce the desired results. Ingredients of counseling: Counseling of staff is becoming an essential function of the managers. The organization can either take the help of experienced employees or expert, professional counselor to take up the counseling activities. Increasing complexities in the lives of the employees need to address various aspects like:

Performance counseling: Ideally, the need for employee counseling arises when the employee shows signs of declining performance, being stressed in officehours, bad decision-making etc. In such situations, counseling is one of the best ways to deal with them. It should cover all the aspects related to the employee performance like the targets, employee's responsibilities, problems faced, employee aspirations, inter-personal relationships at the workplace, et al.

Personal and Family Wellbeing: Families and friends are an important and inseparable part of the employee's life. Many a times, employees carry the baggage of personal problems to their workplaces, which in turn affects their performance adversely. Therefore, the counselor needs to strike a comfort level with the employees and, counseling sessions involving their families can help to resolve their problems and getting them back to work- all fresh and enthusiastic. Other Problems: Other problems can range from work-life balance to health problems. Counseling helps to identify the problem and help him / her to deal with the situation in a better way.

Need of counseling at workplace Apart from their personal problems, there are various reasons which can create stress for the employees at the workplace like unrealistic targets or work-load, constant pressure to meet the deadlines, career problems, responsibility and accountability, conflicts or bad inter-personal relations with superiors and subordinates, problems in adjusting to the organizational culture. Counseling helps the employee to share and look at his problems from a new perspective, help himself and to face and deal with the problems in a better way. Counseling at workplace is a way of the organization to care about its employees. Hurdles faced for counseling at workplace The biggest bottleneck in employee counseling at the workplace is the lack of trust on the employee's part to believe in the organization or his superior to share and understand his problems. Also, the confidentiality that the counselor won't disclose his personal problems or issues to others in the organization. Time, effort and resources required on the part of the organization are a constraint. Benefits of counseling
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Helping the individual to understand and help himself Understand the situations and look at them with a new perspective and positive outlook Helping in better decision making Alternate solutions to problems Coping with the situation and the stress

Basic requisites of employee counseling

Employee Counseling needs to be tackled carefully, both on the part of the organization and the counselor. The counseling can turn into a sensitive series of events for the employee and the organization; therefore, the counselor should be either a professional or an experienced, mature employee.

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The counselor should be flexible in his approach and a patient listener. He should have the warmth required to win the trust of the employee so that he can share his thoughts and problems with him without any inhibitions. Active and effective listening is one of the most important aspects of the employee counseling. Time should not be a constraint in the process. The counselor should be able to identify the problem and offer concrete advice. The counselor should be able to help the employee to boost the morale and spirit of the employee, create a positive outlook and help him take decisions to deal with the problem.

Conclusion: Counseling can go a long way in helping the employees to have better control over their lives, take their decisions wisely and better charge of their responsibilities; reduce the level of stress and anxiety. Counseling of employees can have desirable consequences for the organization. It helps the organization when the employees know that the organization cares for them, and build a sense of commitment with it. It can prove to be of significant help to modify the behavior of the employees and more so to re-enforce the desired behavior and improve and increase the employee productivity. http://www.naukrihub.com/hr-today/employee-counseling.html Counseling is a process through which one person helps another by purposeful conversation in an understanding atmosphere. It seeks to establish a helping relationship in which the one counseled can express their thoughts and feelings in such a way as to clarify their own situation, come to terms with some new experience, see their difficulty more objectively, and so face their problem with less anxiety and tension. Its basic purpose is to assist the individual to make their own decision from among the choices available to them. Supervisors use controls to help employees achieve objectives. An employee's problem performance is often related to non-job factors. Yet, personal problems generally get worse, not better without professional help. The supervisor is in the best position to spot and handle problems when they arise. He or she can use counseling to provide relief for the troubled employee. Counseling is a behavioral control technique used by the supervisor to solve performance problems. As a counselor, the supervisor is a helper, discusses the employee's personal problems that are affecting his or her job performance, aiming to resolve them. Supervisory counseling is guidance of the employee's behavior. An employee should be counseled when he or she has personal problems that affect job performance. Supervisors should recognize early signs. Signs of a troubled employee include:· Sudden change of behavior · Preoccupation

· Irritability · Increased accidents · Increased fatigue · Excessive drinking · Reduced production · Waste · Difficulty in absorbing training · Substance abuse

In the role of the counselor, the supervisor listens, limits, and refers. The supervisor uses active listening and reflective listening skills. By listening the supervisor helps the employee to feel valued and understood. The employee is encouraged to talk and explore and to understand more about how he or she feels and why. The employee can consider options and examine alternatives and may be able to choose a solution to his or her problems. The supervisor can help the employee develop clear objectives; to form specific action plans and to do, with support what needs to be done. The supervisor helps employees help themselves. In counseling, the supervisor limits comments to the employee's job performance, since the supervisor is not an expert in the problem area. The supervisor refers or gives information to the employee. Informing mainly passes along data and information. Counseling techniques range from directive to non-directive, depending on the situation. Non-directive counseling reflects what is said and felt. For example, a supervisor using the non-directive approach would say, "You feel frustrated because you don't meet Rob's approval." Directive counseling tells and advises. For example, a supervisor using the directive approach would say, "I want you to concentrate on your work and not worry about what the other employees do." Interactive counseling combines them. The Counseling Process Step 1. Describe the changed behavior. Let the employee know that the organization is concerned with work performance. The supervisor maintains work standards by being consistent in dealing with troubled employees. Explain in very specific terms what the employee needs to do in order to perform up to the organization's expectations. Don't moralize. Restrict the confrontation to job performance. Step 2. Get employee comments on the changed behavior and the reason for it. Confine any negative comments to the employee's job performance. Don't diagnose; you are not an expert. Listen and protect confidentiality. Step 3. Agree on a solution. Emphasize confidentiality. Don't be swayed or misled by emotional please, sympathy tactics, or "hard-luck" stories. Explain that going for help does not exclude the employee from standard disciplinary procedures and that it does not open the door for special privileges.

Step 4. Summarize and get a commitment to change. Seek commitment from the employee to meet work standards and to get help, if necessary, with the problem. Step 5. Follow up. Once the problem is resolved and a productive relationship is established, follow up is needed. Substance Abuse Some problem performance stems from substance abuse. In handling alcohol or drug abuse situations, the supervisor must avoid inferences and stick to actual clues. He or she avoids giving advice. The supervisor gives support and information, if needed, and makes clear that rehabilitation is the employee's responsibility. Career Guidance Career counseling is a common supervisory activity. In addition to job knowledge and skills, employees need to be punctual, diligent, responsible, and receptive to supervision. Supervisors have an opportunity to help employees understand that developing these behaviors can improve their future success. Development is preparing employees for future jobs. Bringing out the best in employees is the most powerful and most available resource for supervisors to do more with less. Employee development produces "winwin" agreements between supervisor and employee. more at http://www.citehr.com/40266-overview-employeecounselling.html#ixzz1Ao8TyAdb

Counseling Techniques for Problem Employees
By Sara Murphy, eHow Contributor updated: September 4, 2010

1. Counselling for problem employees can create a harmonious work environment.

A problem employee not only risks her own work ethic, but can also contribute to problems with co-workers. According to Dun & Bradstreet, "problem employees" cover a broad range. Some may consistently show up late or unprepared. Others may engage in more serious behavior, such as harassment. Counseling techniques differ from case to case. But with any problem employee, counseling aims to resolve negative behaviors in a diplomatic yet effective way, minimizing stress for everyone involved.

Identifying the Problem

2. Making notes and reviewing official standards can help the supervisor identify problematic behavior. Confronting the problem employee can be a difficult first step, but it is crucial to do so before more formal counseling can begin. The employee may be genuinely unaware of problematic behavior, or may deny that his behavior is negative or harmful. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it's important for the supervisor to review all guidelines and standards that the employees are obligated to follow. If the supervisor can point to specific and official guidelines, this helps the employee recognize that his behavior is unacceptable and needs addressing. The supervisor can also organize his own thoughts on the negative behavior beforehand and know exactly how to confront the problem employee in a tactful and yet effective way. This will help to avoid defensiveness or personal attacks and keep the counseling on topic.

Scheduling the Counseling Session
3. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, scheduling the counseling session and arranging the right environment and set-up is an important factor in the effectiveness of counseling. The supervisor should attempt to schedule the session at a time that feels comfortable to the employee, when both the supervisor and the employee will have adequate time to discuss and share. It's also beneficial for the counseling session to be located in a private space, since this will allow for more openness and less potential embarrassment. If the supervisor has knowledge of the employee's personal learning and communication style, this can help the supervisor decide whether to rely on spoken communication, written communication, or an even balance of both. Being sensitive to the problem employee's personality, work habits and communication

style will help both the supervisor connect to the employee and reach the heart of the issue more efficiently.

Maintaining a Diplomatic Tone

4. Tact and diplomacy can help both the supervisor and the problem employee. Although the supervisor may feel some personal frustration toward the problem employee, the general goal of the counseling session is to improve the work environment and benefit the overall organization. Teamwork should be emphasized over personal failures. According to the Public Entity Risk Institute, the supervisor should take special care to put personal feelings aside and remain as professional and focused as possible during the counseling. While joking has a place in the workplace, this may be the wrong setting, since a problem needs to be addressed tactfully and firmly. Friendliness can come through without sarcasm or unrelated jokes. The supervisor should check in frequently with the employee during counseling to guarantee that her points are clear and that misunderstandings are kept to a minimum. Read more: Counseling Techniques for Problem Employees | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6946413_counseling-techniques-problememployees.html#ixzz1Ao8sd9NC

About Employee Counseling Services
By Steve Glenn, eHow Contributor updated: March 29, 2010 Employee counseling services are designed to provide assistance to employees who are struggling with work-related or personal problems that may interfere with the quality of their job performance. The subpar performance of one troubled co-worker can cause widespread frustration throughout company, especially if that co-worker's job has a significant impact on other areas of operations. Employee counseling services are necessary to help solve these types of happenings.

Significance
1. According to James Oakley, a business professor at Purdue University, keeping employees focused and satisfied should be the goal of every organization if it desires to be successful. Companies must seek to provide an atmosphere of enthusiasm at every level of the business. Unhappy employee relations can send a company into a downward spiral, if problems and conflicts are not brought to the forefront and resolved. Employee counseling services are available to assist and encourage troubled staff members to face their challenges.

Types
2. Employee counseling services address several types of problems, including tensions between supervisors and employees, co-worker versus co-worker, sexual harassment, verbal abuse and job dissatisfaction. These are all work related issues, but employee counseling is also available for employees dealing with personal issues, such as alcoholism, divorce and depression. Regardless of the nature of the employee's problems, they can interfere with the quality of his performance. Employee counseling services help to eliminate these challenges so that all staff can work in harmony.

Process
3. Employees counseling services give all staff the opportunity to bring their problems to the forefront. Staff members must give the company permission to refer them to a counseling service. The first meeting usually provides a opportunity for both the employee and counseling service representative to know each other as well as the nature of the problem. The next step involves developing an effective plan for confronting and resolving the problem. The employee counseling service will likely offer relevant communication skills along with other conflict resolutions techniques to engage the situation. After this, the counseling service will monitor and evaluate the results of the resolution process and suggest changes if necessary. Therefore, an employee is never alone in her attempt to eliminate the problem.

Benefits
4. When companies give serious attention to the state of their employees, these companies open themselves up to growth and prosperity. According to Mike Lee, the CEO of Management Success, employees feel satisfied and secure when they know that management cares about their problems and challengers. Therefore, employees are free to concentrate and to improve their performance while helping to fulfill the organization's purpose and mission.

Identification
5. Employee counseling services offer many types of counseling approaches, including verbal, written or online. However,companies usually choose the right service for their organization.They consider such things as reputation, track record, approach and longevity in the counseling field. Read more: About Employee Counseling Services | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6137230_employee-counselingservices.html#ixzz1Ao9Q8hBv

5 tips for effective employee counseling
At times, due to unforseen reasons, employees exhibit dipping morale, effecting performance and productivity. Do not fret proper counseling, can help motivate employees again.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:33:03 PM Comments (1) more

As a team leader or manager, you will, at times, come across team members feeling low and not performing as expected. Most of the times, this is due to low morale or lack of motivation, arising from problems they may be facing at work. With excess work pressure, employees tend to get worked up and stressed. An effective way of dealing with such issues is providing proper counseling at the right time. Counseling has been known to solve motivation related performance issues quite well.

You do not need to be a professional counselor to be able to coach and counsel your team mates. If you just keep in mind the tips mentioned here, you may be able to counsel your colleagues towards better performance.

Listen and show confidence: Do not ignore the employee problems as trivial and listen to them. Believe in their abilities, show confidence in their work and tell them that the organisation has a lot of expectations from them. Such trust and confidence motivates the employees to resolve issues and perform better.

Focus on the problem and not the person: However big or small the problem is, it is affecting performance and needs to be discussed. But remember the real culprit is the problem and not the person. So, instead of focusing on the employee, try to focus on understanding the problem.

Give suggestions and solutions: After understanding the problem, try to help the person solve it. Take the employee’s opinion about the ways the issue can be resolved. Analyse the various solutions and give suggestions. A discussion about the solutions may actually help you figure out and eliminate the pain point.

Create an action plan: Some problems may warrant a series of tasks to be performed over a period of time to be resolved. Create action plans for yourself and the colleague. Clearly note down the actions that each party has to perform. Show active involvement to make the team member feel comfortable with your initiatives and motivate him/her to perform to the best of his/her abilities.

Follow up: Follow up after regular intervals to see if the counseling has helped. It not only shows your genuine interest in the well being and performance of the team mate but also helps you identify gaps and other issues. Moreover, following up helps you evaluate the success of the action plan.

Counseling, if done well, can produce spectacular results, in terms of improving employee morale and productivity. However, when it comes to counseling co-workers, you have to be really careful and take the working environment and current situation into consideration. Go with a genuine intention to help and see how your counseling works wonders. http://info.shine.com/Career-Advice-Articles/Career-Advice/5-tips-for-effectiveemployee-counseling/1688/cid2.aspx

Companies are increasingly finding the need to implement employee counseling programs. The assumption is that employee counseling services promotes the well being of employees. A “healthier” employee is likely to be a more productive employee. FORMS OF EMPLOYEE COUNSELING Employee counseling includes employee assistance programs (EAPs) and Stress Management programs. EAPs are devoted to a full range of problems that could affect workplace performance. Topics include substance abuse and mental health issues. Mental health issues could be external factors like being the victim of a crime or abuse, marital problems, depression and suicide prevention, and financial problems. Stress management programs are designed to reduce work-related stressors. The content of these programs is often informational such as with training in time management, biofeedback, and in communication skills. Stressors related to work include problems such as feeling overworked or overwhelmed, role ambiguity, and interpersonal problems with coworkers or supervisors. Action plans are created for both sources of stress and progress is measured by periodic evaluation. COMPONENTS The components of effective employee counseling programs are identified in research. Werner and DeSimone (2009) identify six crucial components typically found in effective programs. 1. Problem Identification – The counseling process begins with a diagnosis of the problem. The data may be gathered through questionnaires, diagnostic tests, or introductory interviews via “in-take” forms. Problem identification training can be provided to supervisors so they can recognize the presence of problems in their subordinates. 2. Education – The counseling program should include an education or training component. Educational information should be offered to clients in the form of pamphlets, audio\video resources, and through psychoeducational training sessions. 3. Referral – Effective counseling programs must be willing to refer clients with needs that fall outside the expertise of HR personnel to other specialize resources. For example, an employee addicted to drugs may need to be referred to a drug treatment program. The point is that people who recognize their limits staff effective counseling programs. 4. Counseling – Effective counseling programs should offer some level of counseling services. The counseling program cannot limit itself to psychoeducational services or it will cease to be a counseling service. An important point to remember in offering employee counseling services is that the same ethical practice observed in professional counseling apply in business counseling

centers too. Confidentiality must be observed by counseling staff members. The staff must be committed to do no harm, but must be willing to report cases when employees express the intent to harm self or others. The counseling staff must avoid dual or conflicting relationships with clients such as dating or business arrangements. 5. Treatment\Intervention – Effective counseling programs recognize the need to provide intervention assistance for employees. Intervention begins with a treatment plan. HR personnel agree to assume the responsibility for creating treatment plans and assist the client in carryout the plan. 6. Follow-up - Effective counseling always includes a follow-up phase. The follow-up allows for monitoring the employees behavior to assume progress continues to be made over times. CONCLUSION The increase in employee counseling programs within businesses warrants attention in how to make the programs effective. The components suggested in this paper can go along ways in assisting HR personnel in developing counseling programs that serve the needs of the company as well as the employee. Reference Werner, J.M., & DeSimone, R.L. (2009). Human resource development (5th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage. http://www.helium.com/items/1801532-components-of-employee-counseling-programsemployee-assistance-programs-employee-counseling?page=2