Employee wellbeing is almost always a paramount consideration within the most successful companies in the world. A happy, healthy, and motivated workforce is typically a productive one. This is why so many employers understand the benefits of offering benefits like job security, health insurance, and benefits. These help to enhance well-being across the workforce by removing stress and/or offering benefits that workers appreciate.
However, while the physical health of the workforce is always a top concern for good employers, many fail to accord mental health the same degree of necessary attention. For this reason, it’s so important for employers to understand employee counseling, its benefits, and how to conduct counseling in the workplace. This blog can offer some useful insights into all of these points. Read on for more info.
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An Introduction to Employee Counseling
Workplace counseling can be fairly broad in scope. However, most modern counseling programs in the workplace follow the same reasoning: learning and understanding specific problems that employees could be facing. This is just the first step. A successful counseling program will also help employees solve (or at least manage) these problems.
Most programs will focus on addressing specific underlying issues that impact an employee’s productivity or motivation. Others may take a broader focus, helping workforces manage emotional or workplace stress, combat chronic mental health issues, or simply learn useful organization skills to manage workloads or transition into new roles. Workplace counseling techniques can vary from business to business, thanks to variables like culture, nature of the industry, budgets, and of course, employees with unique circumstances and issues.
The Benefits of Conducting Counseling in Workplaces
The success of a counseling program will always depend heavily on the successful ideation and implementation of employee counseling strategies. However, there are many potential benefits to workforces and businesses that manifest from having a streamlined program in place. From helping employees tackle behavioral issues to helping them adjust to the stress of a new role, the benefits of counseling in the workplace can be numerous. Some of the most obvious ones include:
- Addressing behavioral issues like aggression, anxiety, or fear that impact worker productivity.
- Addressing infrequent but significant instances, like helping employees deal with grief or loss.
- Helping workers build or acquire habits that can help them manage their workflows and tasks.
- Dealing with inappropriate or unacceptable actions with staff counseling and disciplinary procedures.
- Developing new additions or improvements to existing methods of employee counseling.
- Sharing insights on desirable/undesirable traits with third-party partners like a mortgage staffing agency for future hires.
- Identifying instances of toxicity or bias in the workplace through careful listening and uninhibited feedback gleaned during counseling sessions.
- Adding value to your employer brand, supplementing your talent acquisition strategies.
Conducting Effective Workplace Counseling Sessions
There can be many different approaches to counseling, and the desired goals can also be relative to the business conducting the sessions. The perceived importance of counseling in an organization will also impact the shape and outcome of the counseling program. Generally speaking, however, all programs should at least follow these five broad steps:
Identify and Address Issues
The very first step involves active listening. Counselors and employers should invest time and emotional intelligence in identifying the employees most in need of counseling. For this purpose, counseling programs work best in organizations with positive and inclusive work cultures. Many worker issues can directly impact their performance and job satisfaction levels.
Therefore, exercising empathy and openness when counseling workers should be the foundation of a good program. By extension, the ideal outcome would be to help these employees solve or manage their problems appropriately and safely.
Choosing the Type of Counseling
Of course, listening on its own may not always be enough. That is why the program must then decide on the approach or type of counseling to apply. Directive, non-directive, and participative counseling techniques are widely used in most workplaces. However, listening to an employee will always be the first step as it informs the right approach to adopt next.
Directive counseling involves the counselor taking up the role of a guide that offers possible courses of action. Non-directive counseling leaves it up to employees to put in more effort to find solutions. The participative approach involves equal participation from both counselor and worker.
Using Tech to Supplement Success
The use of tech for typically human business functions is not new. AI plays a huge role in supporting recruiting and applicant management, particularly in companies with centralized hiring. Similar AI programs can be used to supplement the success of a counseling program as well. Using pattern recognition and machine learning capabilities, an AI like Ginger.io can help deliver targeted emotional counseling to workers.
It can also help businesses build a more accurate understanding of employee behavior across a variety of tools. These insights can also be leveraged for future recruiting, including through third parties like a Staffing Agency for more successful hiring outcomes.
Seek Feedback at Every Opportunity
Counseling programs are based on two-way communication. This makes them a mechanism ideally suited to gather employee feedback. Feedback can be gathered at the end of every session and can include everything from the counselor, the overall program, to useful suggestions, all from the employee’s perspective.
These valuable insights can then help businesses reform or readjust their program to deliver better counseling. Businesses already do this across various functions, from measuring the success of their performance appraisal methods to the utility of their hiring spend. The same principle applies to measuring the success of a counseling drive.
Following Up Periodically with Workers
Unlike physical health problems, mental health issues can be very complex and persistent. Therefore, the counseling program should not end along with the last counseling session. Instead, counselors should make more effort to touch base regularly with the beneficiaries of an employee counseling program. Frequent periodic follow-ups can help employers gauge if the program offers lasting benefits or if it requires further tweaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is workplace counseling?
Workplace programs that help workers cope with mental health issues, behavioral problems, and workplace stress.
How to conduct the first employee counseling session?
The first session should purely involve actively listening to the worker and empathizing with their issues to determine further course of action.
How to counsel an employee on absenteeism?
A mix of directive and participative counseling can help identify issues causing absenteeism and address them in a lasting way.
How to counsel an employee on poor performance?
Using non-directive and participative counseling can help employees speak freely about issues impairing their performance and discover ways to help them address their unique problems.
How to counsel an employee with a bad attitude?
Directive and participative counseling may help a worker recognize their attitude issues and take the right steps to address them.
What is employee counseling?
Programs that are specifically concerned with solving employee problems and issues.