Many companies today are realising the importance of employee counselling. The holistic wellbeing of the human capital within the organisation is extremely important. Times are moving away from solely focusing on the monetary aspect ok taking care of employees. Taking care of employees is a great way to guarantee success for the business. This article will explore what employee counselling is and the benefits that come with taking this seriously.
What is employee counselling?
Employee counselling at the workplace is a discussion of an employee’s problem that usually has an emotional content to it to help the employee cope with the situation better (Ajila, & Adetayo, 2013). According to Gerstmanm (2014) aim of the employee counselling is to assist both the employer and employee by intervening with an active problem-solving approach to tackling the problems at hand.
Personnel Today (2015) also describes employee counselling as “an employee support intervention that is usually short term in nature and provides an independent, specialist resource for people working across all sectors and in all working environments. Giving all employees access to a free, confidential, workplace counselling service can potentially be viewed as part of an employer’s duty of care”.
Benefits of employee counselling
- Helping the individual to understand and help him/herself in various situations.
- Understanding the situations and looking at them with a new perspective and a positive outlook.
- Helping employees in better decision making.
- Counselling helps employs to alternate solutions to problems.
- Coping with the situation and stress.
The different types of employee counselling in the workplace techniques used
There are various types of employee counselling techniques that are used in the counselling context. These are cognitive behavioural therapy and psychoanalysis. These are described in further detail below:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - CBT can help an individual to change how they think and do. These are both linked to feeling. CBT looks at problems and difficulties in the ‘here and now’ more than the past or childhood. CBT can help in understanding how you think about yourself, the world and other people (Rethinking Mental Illness, 2020). Cognitive therapy has been applied to a broad range of problems including depression, anxiety, panic, fears, eating disorders, substance abuse, and personality problems.
- Psychoanalysis - Psychoanalysis is defined as a set of psychological theories and therapeutic methods which have their origin in the work and theories of Sigmund Freud. The primary assumption of psychoanalysis is the belief that all people possess unconscious thoughts, feelings, desires, and memories. Psychoanalysis therapy aims to release repressed emotions and experiences, i.e., make the unconscious conscious. It is only having a cathartic (i.e., healing) experience can the person be helped and "cured (McLeod, 2020).
When should employee counselling be considered?
There are often signs that show that an employee needs to undergo counselling. these are:
A sudden change of behaviour - Employees facing genuine difficulties and problems at home show a sudden change in their behaviour. They can be simply explained as highly explosive people. They lose their temper regardless of their ability to control their anger. This sudden change is a highlighting element that an employer should look at to understand when exactly the employee is targeted by a load of stress and needs a counselling session.
Constant irritability at work - This is another set of determining element that plainly signifies the relevance of workplace counselling program. Constant irritability is another factor that will indicate a stress-related problem lurking behind. For example,
if an employee gets irritated at small friction within the workplace it indicates that he\\she is facing some personal problems
Increased occurrences of accidents - At times due to stress or personal problems at home people may feel extreme distress. Depression and sadness are one of the outcomes of such. Thus, when an employer hears too much of “Oops, sorry”, then it can be said as a ringing bell for the employer to offer a counselling session to the colleague. Further, increasing mistakes can also affect in the productivity at work, as well as hampers the career.
Increased level of fatigue - Fatigue is another element of a stress-filled life. It is not just personal problems but also the work-related problems that can be a great invitation for the workplace counselling program. Fatigue is usually felt when a great amount of exhaustion is experienced. This exhaustion may be a result of work-related anxiety or problems at a personal level.
Addiction to bad habits - Addiction of alcohol, cigarette, drugs, etc is one of the most popular methods chosen by almost all of the adult and youngster of this generation. Consuming these elements help people to escape from the reality of the situation and thus, more people switch on to these substances for releasing their stress. Therefore, when employees show the sign of addiction, it is a high time warning for the employer to implement the workplace counselling.
How to ensure successful counselling in the workplace
Counselling is a highly sensitive exercise that takes place between the individual and the counsellor. Before this begins, the environment needs to be carefully prepared for this to take place effectively and for the employee to reap the full benefits of the process: below are some pointers that need to be considered when counselling takes place.
Employee Counselling needs to be tackled carefully, both on the part of the organisation and the counsellor. The counselling can turn into a sensitive series of events for the employee and the organisation; therefore, the counsellor should be either a professional or an experienced, mature employee.
The counsellor should be flexible in his/her approach and a patient listener. The counsellor should have the warmth required to win the trust of the employee so that he/she can share thoughts and problems without any inhibitions.
Active and effective listening is one of the most important aspects of employee counselling.
Time should not be a constraint in the process.
The counsellor should be able to identify the problem and offer concrete advice.
The counsellor should be able to help the employee to boost the morale and spirit of the employee, create a positive outlook and help employees to make decisions to deal with the problem.
Employee counselling is very important and should be not be ignored. With the growing pressures in the world, everyone needs an opportunity to let out what may be eating at them. Look beyond the possible financial implications of doing this as the benefits may be greater than the initial money being used for the counselling processes.
Thandeka Madziwanyika is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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