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Employee Counseling : Are We Ready for It ?

Organizational behavior is an important component of psychology at workplace. Human beings comprise an organization and their psychology affects the overall effectiveness of the work produced by the firm. The employees face various challenges while at work and a firm needs to have methods to help employees cope with them. Employee counseling is one such method used to support employees. Employee counseling is a talk between the employee and the reporting manager about performance related topics of the employee. There are five objectives to counseling. First, the employee must agree that there is a need for counseling; second, the cause of the problem must be identified; third, agree upon some action plans; fourth, have regular follow-up sessions; and fifth, give recognition to the accomplishments of the employee.

An employer must be sensitive to certain issues related to counseling:

• Employee counseling session must be planned ahead of time and the employee must be given a notice in advance.
• Employer and employee must sit for a session when there is enough time for both of them to spend on it. Interruptions must be avoided at all costs.
• Only those factors that are related to that session must be focused on. For example, if the issue is about the number of hours the employee is putting in a project only that aspect must be touched upon and not irrelevant issues such as morality or character of the employee.
• Objectivity must be maintained at all times.
• Confidentiality must be maintained.

Using an employee counseling form is a more organized way to conduct a counseling session. A corrective counseling form would have the following components: employee information like name, department, social security number, and date of act of violation/incident, name of the policy that is violated, statements from witness (es), employee’s statement, and action taken.

- Employee Name
- Employee ID
- Reporting Manager
- Date of Violation
- Date of Warning
- Any Record of Previous Warnings?
- Disciplinary Action
- Nature of Violation
- Solution
- Signature of Employee
- Signature of Manager

There are some traps in which employers can fall into. One of the worst is to ignore poor performance. Worse still is not to get the message across to the employee. There could be a disagreement over the presence of a problem or there could be a disagreement over the standards that are violated.

Employee counseling has been found very effective. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor reveals that an employee counseling program returns almost $5 to $16 for every $1 invested.

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