With the ongoing efforts of companies in implementing their own mental health programs and policies, plus the trend in corporate HR regarding the prioritization of employee mental health and well-being, we can say that companies are now shifting their views not just on their own businesses but also on the welfare of their employees. Research shows that company EAP services (Employee Assistance Programs) significantly improve certain employee issues that hamper their productivity (Richmond, et.al., 2017) and one of the most availed mental health interventions of organizations for their employees is employee counseling.
Employee counseling or workplace counseling can simply be understood as counseling provided in the work setting which aims to promote employee mental health and help employees who are struggling with mental health issues that are due to or were exacerbated by work. Through counseling sessions, employees can open themselves to unload their emotional baggage, express their problems without being judged, and be provided with professional assistance on what steps should they take regarding their problems and how these can assist them with the development of their current condition. Organizations usually employ psychologists and counselors to aid employees with their mental health concerns. Moreover, companies do partner with mental health service providers to cater to their mental health and well-being needs. Here are some of the common mental health issues that are usually raised by employees in workplace counseling:
1. Workplace Stress
3. Mental Health Check-up
4. Bereavement or death of a loved one
5. Family Issues
6. Relationship Issues
7. Workplace Conflict
8. Financial Stress
Workplace counseling has been considered one of the most effective and efficient approaches to keep the mental health status of employees flourishing. Aside from being accessible and a short-term approach, here are the other reasons why companies should provide free access to counseling for their employees:
1. Counseling provides employees a different perspective to look at things: We have to understand that as an individual, we take in and process information uniquely, and sometimes as we process the information that we acquired, we tend to catastrophize things and form negative thinking patterns which affect our current mental state. In counseling, counselors help employees to look at things in a different light and provide a different perspective on how to deal with their daily struggles.
2. Counseling inspires creativity among employees: One of the misconceptions about counseling is that it is simply a form of “advice-giving” session. Thus, many people seek “advice” from other people as they believe that it can be considered a form of counseling. However, giving pieces of advice can hamper the development of an individual as it “paralyzes” the capability of a person to be responsible with their life and be creative in making life decisions. Hence, counseling offers a professional and unbiased approach to helping you go through your personal struggles.
3. Counseling may lessen the attrition rate in an organization and reduce the cost of hiring and training new employees: By providing a different perspective and equipping healthy coping skills to employees, workplace stress that leads to burnout and quitting can be avoided in workplace counseling.
But despite all the positive things and good benefits that counseling can bring to an employee and to the organization as well, we have to remember that counseling is not a panacea for all employee and organization-related problems. If we really want to support the welfare of our employees, we have to look also on the other factors that influence their engagement, job satisfaction, and intention to stay.