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Best EAP Referral Tips For Supervisors

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Do Not ‘Badger’ OR ‘Hound’

Do not pressure, insist, or threaten your employee to visit the EAP. EAPs are voluntary programs that can be wrongly perceived as disciplinary if supervisors or managers attempt to coerce employees into using them. In the course of a routine supervisor referral, never state that you are “making the EAP mandatory” unless you are following a workplace policy that requires EAP attendance and compliance. Mandatory referrals may include Last chance Agreements, drug-free workplace or DOT referrals.

Ask For Permission

Let your the employee know that the EAP will request that he/she sign an Authorization for Release of Information giving the EAP permission to contact you and confirm attendance and compliance with recommendations. If your employee refuses to sign a release, this will not prevent you from managing your employee’s performance, nor will it prevent the employee from accessing EAP services as a self-referral.

An Alternative To Discipline

Adopt a positive attitude during your corrective interview. Communicate the opportunity of an EAP referral as a good thing for your employee. Participation in an EAP referral may help your employee correct performance concerns or resolving personal problems that are affecting productivity, thereby preventing future disciplinary action.

Supervisors can benefit by following these useful tips when making supervisor referrals to the EAP. Employees frequently decide whether to contact the EAP and whether to follow its recommendations based on what supervisors say or do. When in doubt, consult with the EAP before making a referral. The EAP consultant can discuss with you the best way to approach the EAP referral with your employee.

Call The EAP To Make The Referral

Call the EAP to put the referral in place, provide information about your employee’s performance concerns and set a deadline for the employee to call the EAP. The EAP consultant will contact you to confirm your employee’s attendance at the first appointment with the EAP after the employee signs the Authorization for Release of Information.

Focus On Performance

Focus on performance after supervisor referrals. Do not base future disciplinary or corrective actions on EAP participation. Remember, not all employees will improve performance after a supervisor referral, even if personal problems are addressed.

Use Your Documentation

Be sure your employee understands the performance problems that must be resolved prior to making the EAP referral. Provide your documentation of job performance problems to the EAP when you call the EAP to make the referral. This puts the responsibility for correcting performance problems on the employee, and prevents the employee from denying knowledge of performance issues.

For assistance with documentation, contact your HR department, or call the EAP for guidance. The EAP provides numerous tools for documenting performance concerns.

Refer To Performance Issues

Do not consider whether personal problems exist as the criteria for deciding to make a supervisor referral. Only consider whether performance problems (attendance, quality of work, behavior, etc.) are continuing despite attempts as a supervisor to correct them.

Don’t Rule Out Need For EAP

Do not “rule out” the need for an EAP referral based upon what your employee tells you about his or her personal problems. Examples include seeing “a counselor” already, sudden cures for personal problems, concerns about using the EAP, etc.

Make Referrals Formal

Tell your employee that you are making a “supervisor referral.” Do not suggest that the employee visit the EAP, and then later consider such discussions as supervisor referrals. Do not assume that your employee is so problematic that a supervisor referral is a waste of time, or that if you made a supervisor referral, the employee would not accept it. Make the referral anyway, and document it.

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