Tip 8: Keep your Emotions in Check

  1. Don't secondguess an employee's willingness to accept an EAP referral.

    "He'll never go." Don't think an EAP referral is a waste of time because you believe the employee won't go. You never know. An employee who believes his or her job is in jeopardy is highly motivated to participate in the EAP. Some employees may visit the EAP and you will never know it. The question is how to increase the likelihood of your employee accepting an EAP referral.

  2. Avoid humor at the time of referral, or making it appear as though a referral to the EAP or using the EAP is somehow shameful.

    It's no joke. Making a supervisor referral is not always easy. You may feel uncomfortable suggesting that your employee use the EAP. If you feel the need to lighten the moment, avoid doing so with humor or taking advantage of the employee's vulnerability with comments that cause embarrassment. This can undermine motivation and follow-through. Examples of such statements include, "It's time for me to refer you to the company shrink!"; "Perhaps the EAP can figure you out!"; "Don't worry, they aren't going to lock you up."

  3. Avoid referring in anger.

    Don't use the EAP as "weapon." Avoid using the EAP as a "trump card" in an argument or as a retort in an angry exchange with your employee. Nothing could sabotage a referral quicker. Your employee may need to visit the EAP, but slamming your fist down and saying "That's it! I'm referring you to the EAP!" will shut the door on the idea permanently.

Do you fear your employee's reaction to being confronted about performance problems and being referred to the EAP? Some supervisors do, and with good reason. Violence in the workplace is an all-to-real phenomenon. Recommendation: Visit the EAP and discuss the referral, how to manage it, and whether you may need to arrange support, perhaps with your supervisor in attendance.