Supervisor Resources - How Can EAP Be a Resource for Supervisors?
What Is EAP?
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is the faculty/employee assistance program of the University of Maine. The staff offers assessment, short-term counseling, and referrals to help resolve a broad range of personal, work, and family problems. All University of Maine faculty, employees, their immediate family members, and retirees are eligible to use the EAP free of charge.
A function of the EAP is to provide consultation with supervisory personnel–chairpersons, deans, supervisors, managers. One common reason for consulting is when employees are presented with personal problems that affect performance. It can be difficult to tell an employee that unacceptable performance must change. It can also be difficult for the employee to accept that performance problems are serious and need attention. By confronting the poor performance and simultaneously offering the EAP as a source of professional help, a supervisor can provide encouragement toward health and productivity for the employee. Supervisors and managers are encouraged to recommend EAP to their employees who demonstrate work performance problems, and these are frequently associated with personal difficulties.
What Is My Role?
As a supervisor, you are in a unique position to motivate employees to seek assistance for their problems. It can be difficult to tell an employees that his/her performance is below standard and must change. It is also unusually difficult for employees to accept that personal problems are affecting their job performance. Frequently, employees who have persistent performance or attendance problems are found to have underlying difficulties which are causing problems on the job. The supervisor can provide motivation toward health and productivity by addressing the poor performance and simultaneously offering a source of professional help.
When Should Contact EAP?
In the position of supervisor or manager, you may become aware of several situations in which it would be beneficial to contact EAP such as:
When an employee demonstrates a change in work performance. This change may be sudden or develop over a period of time and may include one or more of the following:
Absenteeism, attendance problems
Declining or inconsistent work performance
Increased errors, accidents, missed deadlines
Difficulties with concentration, confusion
Change in attitude, mood, appearance
Change in work relationships
When there are no work performance problems but an employee shares a personal problem with you.
When you are feeling stressed, frustrated, helpless, disappointed or anxious when thinking about an employee’s work performance problems
How Do I Make a Referral?
A persistent performance problem is unlikely to resolve without any supervisory intervention. when referring and employee to EAP, use the following steps:
Document the employees performance. Human Resources can offer assistance in following proper disciplinary procedures.
Contact EAP to inform us of a potential referral.
Talk with employee about job performance expectations and outline what changes are needed.
Recommend EAP as a resource to help resolve problems. The earlier and employee seeks help, the more easily problems can be resolved.
Focus on work performance issues. Do not try to diagnose personal problems.
Schedule a follow-up meeting to evaluate the employee’s progress in reaching job performance standards.
What Happens Next?
Once the employee talks with a EAP counselor, he/she will be asked to give written permission for the supervisor to be contacted. The counselor will inform the supervisor if further appointments are scheduled. The specific nature of the employee’s problem is confidential and will not be disclosed. The counselor will work with the employee to try to resolve his/her problems and may recommend the use of additional resources.
What If An Employee Refuses to Use EAP?
An employee’s involvement with EAP is voluntary. Whether an employee chooses to use EAP or not, the supervisor needs to continue to monitor job performance. An employee is not sheltered from disciplinary procedure by participation in EAP. Nor can an employees be disciplined for not seeking assistance. whether EAP is utilized or not, the employee is responsible for acceptable work performance.
How Else Can the EAP Help Supervisors?
EAP consultants might also be involved in situations where supervisors want to gain insight and develop skills about their performances or when a team is tackling difficult times, undergoing change or wanting to functions better. Other services include leadership coaching, facilitation of meetings and staff trainings.
Counselors are available to make presentations and provide training to employees, supervisors, and groups about EAP services and various mental health topics such as Drugs in the Workplace. We can also assist departments in managing crises or losses which have occurred. These can be arranged by calling EAP.
How Can I Contact EAP?
Contact the EAP office at 207.581.4014 or 1.877.EAP.3315, Monday through Friday between 8:00 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. The office is located at 126 College Avenue, Orono, Maine 04473.