Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was developed with an objective to help faculty and staff of Aga Khan University to resolve their personal problems that may affect their morale and productivity. While handling employee relations issues, it was noticed that decline in the performance of certain employees was due to their personality and family problems. Hence, it was felt that services of a professional counselor were required at AKU to assist such employees in resolving their personal issues; this resulted in establishment of an EAP office at AKU.
Many individuals face a variety of problems in their daily lives. Usually, most of these problems can be worked out by them but sometimes they may become too much to handle on their own. These unresolved issues may begin to affect their; personal happiness, family relations, performance at work, and even physical health. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is one such option, which can help them understand, resolve and cope with their problems.
Employee Assistance Program provides confidential and professional assistance to help employees resolve problems that affect their personal lives or job performance. Besides being confidential, the program is voluntary – it is designed to allow the employees to seek help on their own. Human Resources Division is responsible for the administration of the program for ensuring that standards of quality and confidentiality are met.
Key Principles of EAP
|Information provided remains strictly confidential
|Well qualified and experienced staff run the EAP
|Use of the service is always voluntary
|EAP is offered free of charge to all users
Providers of EAP Services
Qualified counselors having expertise in the related field provide counseling services to the users.
Limitations of the service providers
They do not solve all the problems, but their focus is:
- To help one understand one’s problems well.
- To help one handle certain difficult situations or personalities.
- To help one cope with stress and unpleasant incidents of one’s life.
- To help in identifying one’s weaknesses and give one suggestions to improve them and how to use his/her strengths.
- To help one improve one’s performance by maintaining balance in personal and professional life.
Kinds of problems the EAP deals with?
The Program deals with the kind of problems that affect an employee’s personal well-being and his/her ability to perform on the job. Skill Development or Job performance related issues are not handled by EAP. Supervisors provide on the job coaching and training. The EAP can help with the two broad categories: Personal issues, and Work related issues
|Personal Issues (which tend to have impact on work performance)
|Work Related Issues
|• Anxiety and depression
|• Non work related stress
|• Loss or grief
|• Suicidal thoughts or behaviours
|• Behavioural issues
|• Post trauma stress reactions
|• Marital issues
|• Severe stress
|• Childcare issues
|• Reaction related to work
|• Social skills deficit
|• Career issues
|• Self esteem
|• Health Problems
|• Conflicts with supervisors
|• Conflicts with peers
EAP is an offer of a helping hand – not an attempt to pry or punish. This program is confidential and voluntary. The institution sponsors the EAP but does not get involved in the counselling process.
Services offered by EAP
EAP offers one-on-one counselling sessions by qualified and professional staff. They provide assistance in managing and resolving problems. Seminars and workshops will also be conducted in future.
Referrals for EAP
There are two types of referrals to EAP (both are voluntary):
- The request for help may be initiated by the employee by simply calling the EAP office and an appointment is arranged.
- The discussion of the problem is strictly between the employee and the counsellor. Neither the employer nor the co-workers have any knowledge of the request for assistance.
Referrals by Supervisors:
- Supervisors may encourage the use of EAP when continuous personal problems are affecting the job performance or also to determine if personal problems are interfering with the job.
- The program is voluntary. However, if the offer of help is refused by the employee and job performance problems continue, regular corrective procedures may apply.
Information communicated to the employer
- All information gathered by counsellors is strictly confidential and at no stage is any information divulged except with the employee’s permission.
- A summary of problem areas, which requires management’s attention, is indicated in the report, but no direct identification is made.
- If an employee feels that the management should be notified of his/her progress in resolving problems, or if special considerations need to be made that affect work (such as leave of absence or response to a supervisory referral) this can be worked out with the counsellor. However, written permission is taken from the employee.