Employee Assistance Programs in Organizations – Employee Counseling

Counseling has been practiced in one form or other since the evolution of mankind. In every field which requires dealing with people, counseling is essential. Counseling is a dyadic relationship between two persons; a manager who is offering help (counselor) and an employee whom such help is given (counselee). It may be formal or informal. Formal counseling is a planned and systematic way of offering help to subordinates by expert counselors. Informal counseling is concerned with day to day relationship between the manager and his subordinates where help is readily offered without any formal plan.

Every manager has a responsibility to counsel his subordinates. When individual managers are unable to deal with specific problems, the counseling services of a professional body is required. An organization can either offer the services of a full-time in-house counselor or refer the employee to a community counseling service. Counseling occasionally is necessary for employees due to job and personal problems that subject them to excessive stress. Counseling is discussion of a problem that usually has emotional content with an employee in order to help the employee cope with it better. Counseling seeks to improve employee’s mental health. People feel comfortable about themselves and about other people and able to meet the demands of life when they are good in mental health.

Employee Counseling

The counseling need not be limited to work-related issues. Marital problems, problems with children, financial difficulties or general psychiatric problems may not be directly related to the job, however, we recognize that individuals cannot completely separate their life away from the job from their life on the job. Therefore personal problems do affect a worker’s job performance. So employee counseling is also necessary for personal problems along with work-related issues.

Performance counseling involves helping an employee understand his own performance, find where he stands in relation to others and identify ways to improve his skills and performance. It focuses, essentially, “on the analysis of performance of the job and identification of training needs for further improvement”.

An increasingly popular form of employee counseling involves employees who are about ready to retire. Pre-retirement counseling prepares individuals to deal with the realities of leisure, as well as outlining details about social security benefits and company pension provisions.

Employee Counseling at Workplace

It is required of every manager to help his subordinate in the free exploration of his strengths, abilities, competence, interests and other related positive features. It requires participation from both the parties in the performance review and goal-setting process. Thus, performance counseling has become an important feature not only in performance review but also in the implementation of the appraisal system in the organization.

It is natural that subordinates need guidance, coaching or help of an experienced person. This role may be played by the immediate superior or the personnel manager. The managers or superiors who have to play the role of ‘counselor’ can play it successfully if they develop the skill for counseling. Such a skill would be useful in understanding subordinates, assisting them in their efforts to grow and develop, and in improving their interpersonal relations both at work and in the society at large.

Counseling is a two-way process in which a counselor provides help to the workers by way of advice and guidance. There are many occasions in work situations when a worker feels the need for guidance and counseling. The term “counseling” refers to the help given by a superior to his subordinate in improving the latter’s performance. It is in effect a process of helping subordinates to achieve better adjustment with his work environment, to behave as a psychologically mature individual, and help in achieving a better understanding of others so that his dealings with them can be effective and purposeful.

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