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When Should You Consider Employee Counselling?

There are a large number of factors that can affect employees’ happiness or effectiveness in the workplace, from stress to bereavement. An unhappy employee, generally, is an unproductive employee, so not only is helping staff find workplace happiness compassionate and commendable endeavour, it is also good business practice.

Unhappy employees aren’t just less productive, they’re also more likely to be absent and less likely to stay in the job for a long time. Employee counselling in the workplace can be a great help in supporting employees through difficult times and can help them to find happiness again, which in turn, helps the organisation.

When is employee counselling needed?

Workplace counselling isn’t a solution to all of the problems that can cause unhappiness in employees, but it can help to counter the negative effects of a number of contributing factors. Counselling is particularly effective when used in the following situations:

After a critical incident

A critical incident is defined as an event that has an impact large enough to cause an overwhelming emotional or psychological response from an individual. It can sometimes result in short and long-term symptoms that can include anxiety, ongoing distraction, and even physical reactions.

Critical incident stress management (CISM) is a way to tackle the debilitating effects that a critical incident can have on employees. Workplace counselling is a central element of CISM, acting as a therapeutic debriefing process and giving employees the support they need to minimise the effects that trauma from critical incidents cause.

When employees have mental health conditions

Anxiety and depression can both be large factors the happiness of a workplace and its ability to work productively. Although the causes of these mental health conditions are largely outside of an employer’s control, employee counselling is a great proactive move that can provide staff members with an outlet. Simply discussing these problems can be a powerful first step in addressing the root cause and start the process of recovery.

Stress management in the workplace is also something that can be achieved through counselling. Excessive stress can be brought about due to problems at work or home, but giving employees the chance to work through the causes of their stress with a qualified counsellor can have a significant impact on their productivity.

During/after bullying in the workplace

With statistics from 2015 showing that 29% of people have been bullied at work, with 46% of those people claiming it had an adverse effect on their performance, bullying in the workplace isn’t something that should be dismissed. It can be destructive for both employees involved, damaging productivity and happiness levels in the workplace.

Employee counselling is a valuable tool that can be used to mediate between the involved parties. Giving someone who is bullied a safe space to discuss their feelings with an understanding and compassionate counsellor can help them to feel safe again in work.

After an extended absence

Long term absences can be caused by a number of personal events such as bereavement, serious illness, injury, or critical mental health conditions. On an employees’ return to work, it can often be hard for them to readjust to the workplace which can be demoralising for them and is usually accompanied by lowered productivity.

Employee counselling is a good way to invest in a returning employee, ensuring their transition back into working life is as comfortable as possible. Not only can this improve their happiness in the workplace and reduce their chance of another long-term absence, it will also mean their productivity will return to normal levels as quickly as possible.