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Introduction to your EAP

Every work setting is made up of all kinds of people with all kinds of personal issues weighing on them. But to make the work setting “work”, the personal issues are best kept outside.

Your employer has provided the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as a tool to help you, as a workplace leader, deal with employees whose performance may be in decline because of personal problems.

Getting involved in an employee’s problems can get in the way of you being an effective leader. With the EAP, however, you have a tool to improve the performance by offering the help the employee needs to deal with their personal issues. You focus on the job getting done, not an employee’s personal problems.

When do you call the EAP counselor? As soon as you notice performance difficulties. These may include tardiness, absenteeism, sloppy, incomplete or late work, excessive breaks or personal phone calls, or a negative attitude. The EAP counselor will encourage you to document the difficulties and offer to help you formulate an agenda for a meeting with the employee.

At the meeting you will clarify the situation by offering written data on the decline in performance over time, explain clearly your work expectations for the employee and offer information on how to contact the EAP counselor. Whether or not the employee contacts the EAP counselor is up to the employee. Your focus is on the performance, not the personal issue that may be interfering with work. You are a supervisor and leader in the work setting, not a counselor.

If the employee gives written permission, you may learn from the EAP counselor that the employee is making and keeping counseling appointments.