UI Employee Assistance Program

Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 50
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

An employee’s performance problems can be a cause for concern and may be linked to underlying difficulties. As a supervisor, you are in  a unique position to intervene with an employee and provide motivation toward health and wellness by offering a source of professional help.

How Do I Make a Supervisory Referral?

The Employee Assistance Program is purely voluntary, and an employee’s participation cannot be considered discipline. As always, all conversations between the employee and the EAP counselor are confidential—EAP may not disclose any information to a supervisor unless the client signs a written release of information.

A supervisor may schedule an EAP appointment for an employee if the employee is with the supervisor and requests the supervisor’s assistance. A supervisor may suggest to employees that EAP may be able to help address issues that may be affecting performance, but may not refer an employee as a condition of continued employment.

When referring an employee to EAP for counseling, consider the following:

  • Make sure the conversation takes place in a private setting. This demonstrates that you care about the employee’s privacy and the situation they may be facing.
  • Be clear but not judgmental when you share your observations. Use language like “I have noticed that you seem to be less interactive and motivated than you have been in the past.”
  • Use open ended questions to allow the employee to discuss the situation should they choose.
  • Do not try to diagnose personal problems.
  • Recommend EAP as a resource to help resolve problems. The earlier an employee seeks help, the more easily problems can be resolved.
  • Contact EAP to inform us of a potential referral.
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting with the employee to check in.   

What Happens Next?

When an employee is referred to UI EAP, the counselor may request written permission to contact the employee's supervisor, especially if there may be performance problems. Unless otherwise specified, the supervisor will only be told that an initial session was held and whether further appointments are scheduled. The specific nature of the employee's problem is confidential and will not be disclosed. The counselor will work with the employee to try to resolve their problems and may recommend the use of additional resources.

What If an Employee Refuses to Use EAP?

Again, an employee's involvement with EAP is voluntary. Whether an employee chooses to use EAP or not, the supervisor needs to continue monitoring job performance. An employee is not sheltered from disciplinary procedure by participation in counseling. Nor can an employee be disciplined for not seeking assistance.

How Else Can EAP Assist Supervisors?

Talking with an employee about a problem is never easy, but by planning ahead and using good communication skills, a supervisor can make the interaction easier.

Additional services we provide include:

  • Suggestions on how to present and frame the problem
  • Planning ahead to predict the employee's reaction and how to handle it
  • An opportunity to rehearse your conversation 

What other resources are available?