Managers and Employee Assistant Programs

Of course as the manager of any business your primary function is to keep that business running as smoothly as possible and to maximize profits for the owners, but there are several scenarios that you might find yourself needing to deal with on a personal level when it comes to your employees in a firm without an Employee Assistance Program. For example, if an employee came into your office complaining about marital problems and you told them you were only interested in their work performance, then you’d be considered a bad manager for not handling the situation with a little more dignity.

Or what would happen if another employee with martial problems came into your office every day for at least fifteen minutes to talk. It wouldn’t be long before the other people in the department were complaining that the one who was confiding in you was receiving special treatment. Remember that by spending personal time with any employee, you are:

> Taking other employee’s valuable time away from what the company is paying them to do since they are gossiping about the non work related relationship that you’ve got with the troubled employee.

> Tying up your valuable time and taking away from what the company is paying you to do

> Increasing the chances that you will be charged with favoritism

The point is that a professional distance must be maintained by supervisors and that neither managers or supervisors can be effective councilors. Trying to do this will only harm employee relations and performance evaluations. An Employee Assistant Program allows the companies who use them to deal with personal problems indirectly. Using this method company time is not used to council these troubled employees and issues of favoritism are therefore not raised. As well, an Employee Assistance Program ensures that the employee will get the qualified help that they need that will generally make a difference.

There are three areas that are considered a managerial role when it comes to these programs. Managerial people should:

> Provide information about the program

> Encourage their use

> Refer the employees that need these programs

However, there are several barriers that the manager may face when attempting to refer employees. First, they may be reluctant to get involved. If a manager notices that any employee is becoming more and more withdrawn at work, he or she may hesitate to approach that employee. The manager might feel that it is inappropriate to discuss a personal problem with any employee.

As well, there are other instances where an employee’s problem may not seem to be directly tied to their work performance. The manager may not want to interfere unless the issue is directly work related. However, if the problem is left alone, it’s often the case that it will eventually affect work performance. There is also a reluctance to insult people. We’ve been taught to remain politely distant, especially in the workplace. Approaching a employee that might have a personal problem may appear to be the ultimate insult to many managers or even fellow employees.

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance Program, Stress Management, Staff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit


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