Human Capital Issues

Employee Counselling at Workplace

The latest trend catching up in the corporate HR across the world is 'Employee Counselling at Workplace'. In the world of ever increasing complexity and the stress in the lives, especially the workplaces of the employees, employee counselling has emerged as the latest HR tool to attract and retain its best employees and also to increase the quality of the workforce.

In today's fast-paced corporate world, there is virtually no organisation free of stress or stress-free employees. The employees can be stressed, depressed, suffering from too much anxiety arising out of various workplace related issues like managing deadlines, meeting targets, lack of time to fulfill personal and family commitments, or bereaved and disturbed due to some personal problem etc.
Organisations have realized the importance of having a stress-free yet motivated and capable workforce. Therefore, many companies have integrated the counseling services in their organisations and making it a part of their culture. Organisations are offering the service of employee counselling to its employees.

What is employee counselling?
Employee counselling can be explained as providing help and support to the employees to face and sail through the difficult times in life. At many points of time in life or career people come across some problems either in their work or personal life when it starts influencing and affecting their performance and, increasing the stress levels of the individual. Counselling is guiding, consoling, advising and sharing and helping to resolve their problems whenever the need arises.

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Technically, Psychological Counselling, a form of counselling is used by the experts to analyze the work related performance and behaviour of the employees to help them cope with it, resolve the conflicts and tribulations and re-enforce the desired results.

Ingredients of counselling:
Counselling of staff is becoming an essential function of the managers. The organisation can either take the help of experienced employees or expert, professional counselor to take up the counselling activities. Increasing complexities in the lives of the employees need to address various aspects like:
  • Performance counselling: Ideally, the need for employee counselling arises when the employee shows signs of declining performance, being stressed in office-hours, bad decision-making etc. In such situations, counselling is one of the best ways to deal with them. It should cover all the aspects related to the employee performance like the targets, employee's responsibilities, problems faced, employee aspirations, inter-personal relationships at the workplace, et al.
  • Personal and Family Wellbeing: Families and friends are an important and inseparable part of the employee's life. Many a times, employees carry the baggage of personal problems to their workplaces, which in turn affects their performance adversely. Therefore, the counselor needs to strike a comfort level with the employees and, counselling sessions involving their families can help to resolve their problems and getting them back to work- all fresh and enthusiastic.
  • Other Problems : Other problems can range from work-life balance to health problems. Counselling helps to identify the problem and help him / her to deal with the situation in a better way.

Need of counselling at workplace
Apart from their personal problems, there are various reasons which can create stress for the employees at the workplace like unrealistic targets or work-load, constant pressure to meet the deadlines, career problems, responsibility and accountability, conflicts or bad inter-personal relations with superiors and subordinates, problems in adjusting to the organizational culture. Counselling helps the employee to share and look at his problems from a new perspective, help himself and to face and deal with the problems in a better way. Counselling at workplace is a way of the organisation to care about its employees.

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Hurdles faced for counseling at workplace
The biggest bottleneck in employee counselling at the workplace is the lack of trust on the employee's part to believe in the organisation or his superior to share and understand his problems. Also, the confidentiality that the counselor won't disclose his personal problems or issues to others in the organisation. Time, effort and resources required on the part of the organisation are a constraint.

Benefits of counselling
  • Helping the individual to understand and help himself
  • Understand the situations and look at them with a new perspective and positive outlook
  • Helping in better decision making
  • Alternate solutions to problems
  • Coping with the situation and the stress

Basic requisites of employee counselling
  • Employee Counselling needs to be tackled carefully, both on the part of the organisation and the counselor. The counselling can turn into a sensitive series of events for the employee and the organisation; therefore, the counselor should be either a professional or an experienced, mature employee.
  • The counselor should be flexible in his approach and a patient listener. He should have the warmth required to win the trust of the employee so that he can share his thoughts and problems with him without any inhibitions.
  • Active and effective listening is one of the most important aspects of the employee counselling.
  • Time should not be a constraint in the process.
  • The counselor should be able to identify the problem and offer concrete advice.
  • The counselor should be able to help the employee to boost the morale and spirit of the employee, create a positive outlook and help him take decisions to deal with the problem.

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Counselling can go a long way in helping the employees to have better control over their lives, take their decisions wisely and better charge of their responsibilities, reduce the level of stress and anxiety. Counselling of employees can have desirable consequences for the organisation. It helps the organisation when the employees know that the organization cares for them, and build a sense of commitment with it. It can prove to be of significant help to modify the behaviour of the employees and more so to re-enforce the desired behaviour and improve and increase the employee productivity. Last Updated on: 31/10/2013