The majority of employees seek LifeSolutions services on their own; many with the support or encouragement of a supervisor or co-worker. When an employee confides in a supervisor about a specific personal problem, an informal supervisory recommendation will be seen as a caring gesture. By encouraging the employee to seek services with LifeSolutions, the manager is providing a straightforward reminder that a valuable and confidential workplace benefit is already in place at no cost to the employee.
A few tips:
When approached by an employee with a personal problem, remind the employee about LifeSolutions services. Remember that your tone and encouragement go a long way in providing "permission" for the employee to seek consultation. Offer encouragement by explaining that problems happen to everyone and perhaps by even placing the initial call to LifeSolutions.
Never give specific advice for a personal problem or offer a “diagnosis” of the problem. Encourage your staff member to get professional help. If possible, you may even be able to offer the employee a flexible schedule so the employee can set up an initial appointment during the day.
Request some brochures from LifeSolutions and distribute them at a staff meeting or at your company’s open enrollment period when you discuss benefits.
A formal supervisory referral is associated with a beginning pattern of deteriorating performance or conduct, and it is voluntary for the employee. Depending on when it is used, this supervisory referral may accompany a corrective or disciplinary action. Corrective action would include a candid description of performance shortcomings along with a clear message about the consequences that the employee might face should performance continue to deteriorate. This referral does not assume counseling is required. It is made as a resource to assist the employee in developing successful strategies at work. As a workplace program, LifeSolutions professionals have the expertise needed to assist the employee in returning to an acceptable performance level. In order to make a formal referral, you will need to take the following steps:
Discuss the referral with your Human Resources department to make sure you are following your company’s policies.
Call LifeSolutions and explain the employee’s work situation. Our consultant will ask you to describe in detail the performance problem, your assessment of it, and whether you plan a corrective or disciplinary action.
Complete your documentation of the employee’s performance issues. Be sure to have an HR representative on hand during the planning stage to ensure that the consequence you expect to put in place can be carried out effectively.
Meet with the employee to discuss the performance problem and your course of action. Remember that you are responsible for tracking your employee’s performance and therefore must be in control of the situation. During the meeting:
Acknowledge (if appropriate) the past good performance of the employee.
Review the employee's overall performance, noting the previous discussions you have had about performance standards.
Share the documented specifics of the performance problem.
Be realistic and fair. Do not accept behavior that is otherwise unacceptable from others in the department or group.
Explain clearly what you expect from the employee, both in terms of job duties and behavior.
Present a time frame for improvement and set up a follow-up performance evaluation to monitor progress.
Point out the consequences of failing to raise performance to acceptable standards.
Encourage the employee to use LifeSolutions as an avenue for assistance. If the employee agrees to the referral, you may call LifeSolutions for an appointment while the employee is sitting with you, or you can suggest that the employee call to arrange his or her own appointment.
After your discussion, continue to monitor performance and carry out the subsequent planned performance discussions.
Expect a call from LifeSolutions to confirm whether or not the employee kept the first appointment with LifeSolutions and whether he or she has decided to continue treatment. Remember: whether or not the employee continues to participate with LifeSolutions, you should carry the planned consequences through if performance does not improve.
Supervisors may require an employee to see a LifeSolutions counselor as the result of a serious incident or problem that affects the safety of the employee or workplace. For this reason, LifeSolutions encourages the company to have a policy which includes mandatory referral. In such a referral, failure to cooperate with completing a LifeSolutions assessment normally results in job action up to and including termination of employment. A mandatory referral should be made only when one of the following conditions applies:
There is an obvious, serious impairment of the employee’s ability to function, where the safety of the employee or the safety of others in the workplace is a serious concern.
An informal supervisory referral is deemed inappropriate due to the nature of the problem.
There is a breach by the employee of a specific drug, Department of Transportation, chemical dependency, or fitness-for-duty policy.
The LifeSolutions counselor will begin with an assessment to determine what is needed to address the issue. If an individual’s problem is beyond the scope of brief counseling and requires additional services, LifeSolutions will refer the employee to a specific local resource such as a treatment center, community agency, behavioral health counselor, attorney and/or financial consultant. LifeSolutions will maintain contact throughout the referral process and track the employee’s progress until he or she is back at work.
In order to make a mandatory referral, you must:
Contact your HR department to make sure you are following your company’s policies.
Call and provide LifeSolutions with complete information on the employee, the facts of the specific situation, details on specific performance or discipline plans, and any other pertinent details.
Upon meeting the LifeSolutions counselor, the employee will be informed that all content of the sessions will be kept strictly confidential. However, the employee will also be informed that the counselor will provide the employee’s supervisor with information on session attendance and cooperation in following the recommended plan of action. Please note that the employee may choose to accept or reject a recommendation for treatment services, with the understanding that the decision concerning such recommendations can be reported to the referring supervisor. A refusal to attend required LifeSolutions sessions would result in corrective action up to and including suspension or termination.
The employee will continue to be monitored by LifeSolutions staff for the prescribed period, and LifeSolutions will maintain contact with the supervisor or Human Resources department during that period.
Dealing with management referrals can be very challenging for most managers and supervisors. The staff at LifeSolutions is available to discuss these consultation services whenever you need to reach us.