In today’s fast-paced corporate world, there is virtually no organization free of stress or stress-free employees. Personal difficulties, such as work-related stress, marital or family issues, or alcohol and drug addiction, can affect almost anyone. Most often, such problems can impair an employee’s performance at work, resulting in lower productivity, strained relations with co-workers and frequent absences or accidents.
Studies show that there is a direct co-relation between the mental well-being of employees and their productivity. This has resulted in the emergence of workplace counselling as the latest HR trend to attract and retain the best talent and enhance the quality of the workforce. Businesses have realized the importance of having a stress-free yet motivated and capable workforce. As a result, many companies have integrated the counselling services in their organizations and making it a part of their culture.
Workplace counselling can be defined as the provision of psychological therapy for employees of an organization that is paid for by the employer. An ‘external’ service, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), generally comprises face-to-face counselling, a telephone helpline, legal advice and critical-incident debriefing. In an ‘in-house’ service, counselors are typically employed by the employer directly.
Professional counselling help your employees sort out the difficulties that may be causing them trouble in the workplace. They will be able to get psychological counselling to help them resolve their problems. Such short term therapy programs typically focus on clarifying the problem, implementing solutions and monitoring progress. The result is a healthier, more productive employee with improved relations at home and at work.
Organizational and occupational psychiatry (OOP) is a specialist field of psychiatry which focuses on work, its importance in the lives of individuals and work organizations. OOP represents the extension of the knowledge and skill of psychiatry to the day-to-day functioning of individuals in the workplace and their organizations, with the objective of helping them both function better. To this end, some of the roles that professional counselors play in organisations include service as in-house medical directors to big companies, consultants and providers of EAP services. The level of psychiatric help and care in work-related issues has fluctuated over the years; however, the importance of mental well being of employees in the workplace has grown steadily.
Confidentiality is critical to the success of any Workforce counselling program. It is the responsibility of the provider to protect the identity of individuals who use the service and assure them that they can trust the counselor with their most private concerns. It is important that employees believe this; otherwise the program will not be used.
All communication between a counselor and an individual is privileged and carefully protected. Licensing regulations prohibit disclosure of any information without the written consent from patient.
All counselors should be registered social workers or psychologists, licensed by provincial statutes and government regulating bodies. They must adhere to the Code of Professional Standards and Ethics of the Canadian Psychological Association.
In addition, every counselor should have professional liability insurance.
Benefits for employees:
- Easy access to a qualified and supervised practitioner
- Provides support and helps the individual to understand and help him/herself
- Helps identify problems and clarify issues
- Helps in better decision making
- Coping with the situation and the stress
- Alternate solutions to problems
- Reduced risk of the diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder
Benefits for Employers:
- Offers employer a service that is valued by the employees
- Decrease costs related to turnover, burnouts, absenteeism & accident-related disability
- Improvement in employee performance & therefore increase in productivity
- Offers a constructive solution in dealing with ‘difficult’ staff or situations
- Contributes to their reputation as a caring employer
Thus we can say workplace counselling is an important factor in building a healthy organizational environment. The pressures to succeed, conflicts that might occur with one’s superior or co-workers, and personal problems which inhibit performance can become overbearing for some employees. Add to the mix the potential for personality or cultural clashes or social media to be used by some employees against others – a sort of bullying – and we can see why workplace counselling is so important to the success of an organization.
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