Supervisor’s Guide


The return of employees to productive output makes sense from both an economic and humanitarian standpoint. Experience has shown that when people are helped to overcome the burdens of temporary or persistent personal problems, they can emerge as more valuable employees.

EAP is designed to assist university employees who are experiencing temporary or persistent personal problems that negatively affect their job performance. Employees may be self referred or referred by a supervisor for confidential professional assistance in solving personal problems.

The goals of the program are to:
  1. Assist employees to resolve personal problems that can negatively impact upon job performance
  2. To provide a source of assistance to which supervisors can refer an employee whose work performance is declining or has declined.

When to use the EAP

Referral to EAP is not intended to be a disciplinary action. Each supervisor must be concerned with job performance. When an employee’s performance declines, routine management procedures or discussions are usually sufficient to reverse the trend.

Occasionally, however, an employee does not respond to the usual corrective strategies, and job performance continues to decline. When this occurs, the employee can be referred to EAP for professional assistance which can ultimately help in improving his/her job performance. Whether or not an employee chooses to accept the referral to EAP, disciplinary action inevitably follows when work performance does not improve.

Referring to Employee Assistance Program:

The following steps can be useful for supervisors who wish to refer an employee to EAP.

  1. During an interview with the employee, point to specific documented examples of declining job performance. Some examples of this might be increased absenteeism, tardiness or reduction in productivity.
  2. Avoid diagnosing or referring to any specific personal problem, focus on job performance.
  3. Be firm and honest with the employee about improvements you expect in job performance.
  4. Avoid making “special allowances” for an employee’s situation. Remember, if there is a problem, the employee needs to get prompt professional attention for that problem.
  5. Offer the services of EAP. Supervisors may suggest to employees that EAP can be helpful in finding solutions to their problems. Supervisors can make an appointment for the employee or provide the EAP address and phone number (Employee Health Services, Genesis Building C, Phone 646-6600). An employee can refuse this offer of assistance but strong encouragement by supervisors is suggested.
  6. Set a reasonable length of time in which an employee needs to show improvement. If improvement does not occur, conduct a second interview and again focus on job performance. Remember, if there is a persistent personal problem, it is likely to be resolved if professional treatment is provided. If the problem is ignored, there is increased likelihood that it may worsen. It is important to refer the employee to EAP (or other programs) at each stage of the process and to document the referral. This helps demonstrate that you the supervisor showed good faith in offering the employee ample opportunity to receive help.