“Don’t mix personal and professional life” “Don’t let your personal issues affect your professional life, focus on career everything else will settle” “Leave work stress at office, don’t let it affect the quality of your family time”- We all keep listening to these advice.
To all those who give these statements, I have a question are we robots with two modes – personal and professional to switch on and off. Well, it’s not me but its research which shows that approximately 20% of employees at any given time are experiencing personal difficulties. One troubled employee will affect five to seven others.
Personal issues can be anything like family issues, financial debt, legal concerns, emotional concerns addiction abuse etc. In fact, it can also be peer to peer or peer to senior conflicts or employer-employee understanding gaps or maybe a medical case.
These issues, are not only diminishing the interpersonal relationships of the employee but also disturbs the work environment; hampers and sporadic the job performance and diminish the quality and quantity of performance.
High level of absenteeism, absurd reasoning for lateness and simple and repeated mistakes are few warning signs.
If everyone with these warning signs will be considered not fit for a job then hiring and firing will become the most happening task of a company, more than sales and marketing.
So, what should be a solution – whether an employer should start focusing on counseling? No, a big no. Counseling is a holy science and profession which only a trained professional should do like medicine. An untrained person may cause more damage than good, maybe by hitting the sensitive area in the wrong way that a person may sink in more stress and depression.
Here, Employee Assistance Program – precisely known as EAP -comes to the rescue of the employer. EAP is a confidential one to one counseling program where a trained professional will counsel the employee. It is an employer-sponsored service. Its designed for personal problems, including mental health, substance abuse, various addictions, marital problems, parenting problems, emotional problems, or financial or legal concerns.
Not only this EAP includes creating a platform for self-learning tools and materials for identifying and solving employee’s current emotional need and if needed voluntarily opt for counseling by professionals. Interestingly some EAP programs are also designed for employee’s family members thereby reaching the roots to heal.
With EAP employee’s Happiness Index increases as it provides emotional wellness, workplace wellness, work-life balance, work-life emotional conflict resolution and marriage, family and relationship solutions. Even it gets into the dimension of arranging expert to advise on financial and legal issues.
All good for employees but then why should employer sponsor it – what’s the benefit of the employer?
Here goes hamper of benefits for employer –
- Improved productivity and employee engagement by reduction or removal of challenges that effects work and life balance.
- Physically and mentally healthy employees deliver high quality of products and service, with more sense of belonging.
- Developing employee and manager competencies in managing workplace stress
- Reduction in workplace absenteeism, unplanned absences and accidents. Therefore, giving more turnover from same hours of work.
- Reduction in healthcare costs by helping employers improve and maintain the mental and physical health of their workforce, avoiding costly medical plan and reimbursements.
- Reduction in employee turnover ratio and thereby reducing the replacement cost.
- With employee benefit approach through EAP will not only give employer an edge over its competitors in terms of reduced operational cost and exceptional benefit attributes but also creates a workforce brand of organisation in the market.
- Employee counselling on personal issues gives organisation a better tool to design employee benefits with a seven take away along with it.
Susheel has been associated with insurance providers and intermediaries for about a decade or so. Worked as sales professional looking into direct B2B marketing, channel marketing, institutional and government contracts. He is also a certiﬁed Happiness Coach, Berkeley method of wellbeing California and wants to help companies have a better and happy workforce, his motivator to create Ethika.