The Benefits Of Workplace Counselling
Workplace counselling is becoming more commonplace and increasingly seen as a duty of care to your staff. It can have many business benefits as it is seen as an employee benefit and it can minimise stress, a core reason listed for employee time away from work. Although it may be short term in nature, workplace counselling provides employees with a specialist and independent resource that they can use across all working environments, and sectors. This makes it an important factor that every employer should consider for the betterment of both the company and it’s staff
A 2010 systemic study by McLeod of the research evidence, showed that workplace counselling interventions have been found to reduce sickness absence rates in organisations by as much as 50%
What is workplace counselling?
Workplace counselling provides an empathic, non-judgmental, and accessible means for employees to find the best way forward. Some employers however often mistake it for giving advice, which isn’t entirely the case. The process involves giving an employee a safe place or sounding board to air out issues troubling them, which allows a counsellor to help find better ways to manage such matters or help the employee work through their issues and uncover potential solutions.
It is vital to retain trained counsellors that are equipped with a specialist skill set and viewpoint that makes it easier for them to handle both employees and employers without creating any conflict. Workplace counsellors also have an understanding of the working environments of the staff so they can be helped within the workplace.
The counselling may take up to 8 one-hour (integrative) sessions that involve using core therapeutic approaches to help clients cope better. The counsellor may focus on individual employees or use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Gestalt therapy, transitional analysis, or solution-focused therapy to achieve the central goal. All counsellors rely on openness and trust to build a counsellor-client relationship with either the employer or the employees.
Benefits To Clients & Employers Offering Counselling At Work
Workplace counsellors are experts and are able to offer support to people across all sectors and locations in an organization or business. Although the NHS may be a viable option for many, time wastage, inflexibility, and lack of specialist insight are factors that make most employers opt for workplace counselling as an alternative when it is available. Depending on the workforce size, an employer may choose between recruiting a full-time workplace counsellor, or an ad hoc counsellor who can be called on as and when a need arises. Employee assistance programs (EAP) are starting to include workplace counselling as a benefit. EAPs are standalone packages offered by vetted affiliate counsellors (from a national pool) to help employers adopt counselling support provisions.
Workplace counselling should be not only voluntary but also confidential. This, therefore, means employers should not/cannot use counselling to discipline staff or as a conditional requirement.
Some administrators may also think that counselling should only cover work-related issues and not private matters because they are paying for the provision. Employee performance and engagement at work is influenced by both personal and work-related problems and this can impact their staff productivity. This is why counsellors cover all issues that staff may experience with an aim to help ease the pressure. Some stress factors may include bullying, overwork, difficult colleagues, depression, and personal issues not work-related directly but that is affecting their mental well-being.
Family difficulties included divorce, bereavement and loss, substance abuse, and depression. These life-crisis issues when they occur can and often do have a profound impact on your staff. Such life events can understandably preoccupy your mind, leading to distraction all day long. This can be a significant risk, especially in safety-sensitive industries.
Professional Counsellors Skills Training
Trade unions, HR representatives, health and safety practitioners among many other professionals enjoy a long-established affiliation with workplace counsellors. Counsellors often offer their services to their corporate clients under the Occupational Health umbrella. This means staff can get a response much faster as reaching out to workplace counsellors has been made relatively easy.
Many HR and health practitioners today are taking undertaking counselling training to be able to apply these skills in their line of work. This move enables them to engage with employees much better, be transparent, develop empathy, and trust with other staff members. While this may be a great move for these professionals, receiving preliminary training doesn’t qualify one to be a counsellor. Although you may acquire some counselling knowledge through the training, you may not be able to handle issues that run deeper into a persons life, e.g. alcohol dependency, childhood sexual abuse, etc.
One of the main advantages of introducing workplace counselling in your company is that the employees know they have access to a workplace counsellor. The training/counselling sessions open up the participants thinking and creativity, which often creates professional support they have never had or may have not considered before.
The best Counselling Training
Individuals can pay for or seek sponsorship from their workplace to take a diploma course in workplace counselling. Chrysalis Courses Level 4 Counselling skills training is helpful to managers who have to handle different types of people in the workplace. Counselling not only helps HR and OH to understand, engage, and connect with other people/colleagues, but also creates more functional workplace relationships. Employees who receive such training and counselling also help the company grow.
Absenteeism is a common issue in many workplaces today. Workplace counselling can, however, help accelerate rehabilitation caused by stress and mental health dis-ease which in turn saves the company/organisation money.