Employee counselling new handout


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This is an introductory note on work Place Counselling . This is a learning resource developed by humantalents International for HR practictioners

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Employee counselling new handout

  1. 1. Humantalents Employee Counselling Jayadeva de Silva M.ScMBIM.FIPM, FITD 1 Why should we introduce Employee Counselling? Many firms today realize the importance of attracting and retaining highly skilled, quality employees as a necessary component of their competitive advantage. One of the reasons that a quality workforce along with innovative tools for attracting and retaining has become so important is because previous sources of competitive advantage have become less important overtime. For example, previously, a firm’s success was attributed to an emphasis on product and process technology, access to financial markets, developing economies of scale & learning curves, patents, protected and regulated markets & individual attractiveness. Recently, however, some scholars have noted that these traditional sources of success are less important than in the past and emphasize that the selection and management of a quality workforce has become an increasingly critical factor to organizational success. Today, HR practitioners are busy developing new and innovative tools to attract and retain quality workforce. One such tool that soon is likely to gain popularity in the corporate world is Employee Counselling. Employee Counselling is a service offered by companies to their employees. Organizations that care for their employees are perceived as more meaningful and purposeful. Every organization has economic and social goals. Here, it is worthwhile to note some observations made by the Chairman of Infosys in this regard. He states, “The task of leadership is to make people believe in themselves, the organization, in the aggressive targets the organization sets. Belief comes from trust: the trust that this organization isn’t about making one set of stakeholders better off; it is about making every one of us better off….” A firm may gain competitive advantages from Employee Counselling activities especially if its reputation and image is valuable, rare and not easily imitated. Employee Counselling therefore is a very powerful tool in the hands of companies in attracting and retaining quality workforce. Although Counselling is known by many names like 'therapy' or 'helping' it is by and large, an attempt to encourage change. The counselee’s problems could be so complex that it might be difficult to see any system of help as an elegant Jayadeva de Silva
  2. 2. Humantalents solution. But, Counselling has shown some effectiveness over the years, as a process of helping people come through with their troubles. Counselling is a process of helping people to learn how to solve certain interpersonal, emotional and decision problems. Counselors help their counselees to ‘learn’. The criterion for success in any Counselling is real changes in behavior on the part of the counselee. Counselors are concerned that their counselees become independent problem solvers. Continued dependence on the counsellor as well as others is discouraged. Counselors are concerned with habit changes that increase peoples' satisfaction with themselves. It could be anything from helping people choose a career option, becoming appropriately assertive or communicating more harmoniously with team members. Largely, Counselling has been a 'remedial approach'. But recently there has been a slight change in emphasis, from remedial to 'preventive'. It is rightly said, ‘half knowledge is dangerous’. People often harbor myths about the counseling process. Some false beliefs about counseling are as follows: No human being is perfect and we all constantly fight our own inadequacies in our own ways. Working in any organization requires an individual to be geared up to face the challenges of work-life. This does not mean he/she can escape the duties and responsibilities of family life, whether married or unmarried. Not every individual is competent enough to take and manage the stress of a hectic life style. Thus, we cannot deny the fact that every individual has intra and inter-personal problems whether at work or at home. The HR function of any organization has the most important challenging job of "making the most" of their Human Resource. An employee can give his best to the organization only if he is in a positive "frame of mind". A mentally preoccupied or troubled individual will be in a position to give very little to his company. Jayadeva de Silva 2
  3. 3. Humantalents No successful organization will ever be free from stress among its employees. Organization should be able to deal with stress on individuals at all levels. Here the role of Counselling comes in, where people can talk and attempt to solve their personal and work related worries. Need for employee counselling arises due to various causes in addition to stress. These causes include: to deal effectively with one’s own emotions, interpersonal problems and lack of team spirit at workplace, inability to meet job demands, over work-load, confrontation with authority, responsibility and accountability, conflicts with superiors, subordinates and management and various family problems, health problems, career problems, etc. Counselling is a process of helping an individual to help himself. Counselling, basically aims at helping individuals take charge of their lives. For this, individuals need two types of skills: ability to make decisions wisely and altering one's own behavior to yield desirable consequences. A counselor’s job, then, becomes one of arranging appropriate learning experiences so that people develop these skills. Counselors avoid giving speeches about what should be done, but ideas for action are developed with the active co-operation of the counselee. The Counsellor does not try to talk the client into feeling that the situation is hopeless. Instead, he/she encourages the client to begin taking action, the successful consequences of which would encourage the client to continue. 2 So what is counselling then? -Counselling can be explained as a process of guiding a person or a group faced with a problem, to take their own decisions in order to overcome the difficulties and be more productive. This can be treated as a job or a profession as it is done either as a service or for earning a living. 3 So what is the Importance of counselling ? Counselling is helpful in following situations where physical medication cannot assure cure.  Stress.  Deterioration of human relations. Jayadeva de Silva 3
  4. 4. Humantalents  Addiction to drugs, alcohol and smoking.  Who need help to overcome difficulties (career, family etc?)  Those emotionally affected by major disasters, calamities (earth quakes, tsunami, war etc.)  Children with emotional problems. 4 Who is a counselor? A counsellor should possess the required competencies (knowledge, skills & attitudes, the ability to apply knowledge to situations and good personal qualities). 5 Guiding principles for Counselling  People can change  They can grow  Every Person has a worth  Accept the person as he is  Expect resistance at the beginning  Once understood ,S/he will attempt to change 6 Stages in the counselling relationship  Meeting with the client  Establish rapport  Exploring the issues  Identifying priorities  Helping with the feelings  Exploring alternatives  Follow-up  Ending the relationship when the person is cured. 7 Five R of Counselling *Right Purpose *Right Time Jayadeva de Silva 4
  5. 5. Humantalents *Right Place *Right Approach *Right Techniques In carrying out this activity communication takes an important place. The counselor should be able to use intelligence to get the problem out of the client. 8 Some Skills needed for counselling The following too will be useful in this exercise.  Active listening  Silence  Response  Reflection  Question  Interpretation 9 Need for professionalism in Counselling Many problems have arisen in the counseling field due to counsellors’ weaknesses such as:  Little or no knowledge of subject/methods of counselling  Lack of basic education to understand psychological treatment  Counsellors getting involved with the client in undue manner  Making decisions on behalf of the client  Criticize the behavior of the client  Over talking  Acting like a psychologist or clinical counselor when you are not  Prying in to personal life of the client  Failure to keep confidentiality The unfortunate part is such mistakes are detrimental which can even result in harming the lives of all connected and even suicide. Each Individual is unique which makes one think of different ways of handling different persons even if Jayadeva de Silva 5
  6. 6. Humantalents the problem is the same. Otherwise more harm will be done than any good, to the people and the society. Therefore to be successful in counselling, a) Counsellor should have adequate data to discuss during counseling b) Counselee should be made to feel totally comfortable during the process of Counseling. c) Counselling should begin with proper explanation of objective of counseling. d) Personal counselling and performance counselling should never be mixed up. e) The counselor should have an excellent communication and behavioral skills (including body language). 10 Ethics in Counselling  Confidentiality  Psychological contract  Mutual trust  Referral in certain cases  Debriefing  Not creating a dependence ---------------------- This space is for your additional notes *Read the attached case studies which illustrates situations that require employee counselling in the workplace Jayadeva de Silva 6
  7. 7. Humantalents Case study 1 (in a school) ‘Suduwathura’ is the name of the village. They used this name for the school also. Mr Fernando is teaching English in suduwathura Maha Vidyalaya and this is his first teaching appointment. He is young, attractive and energetic. He has understood his duties and responsibilities very well and was doing them with out any hesitation, so far there were no complains against him. He has his own motor bike to come to school. He was very concern about his dress and his dresses were well suited for a teacher. He had a good relationship with his colleges as well as the students. They all liked Mr. Fernando. Since last two weeks, there was a sudden change in Mr. Fernando. He completely lost his interest in his dresses. He wore the same dirty shirt for more than two days. Hair and beard was undone. Mr. Wickramasinghe, the principal, observed this sudden change of Mr. Fernando. Many times he observes him staring at something. More over he observed Mr. Fernando neglecting his teaching. He was thinking something very deeply while students were involved in their own activities. It was a Monday. Till 8.15 am Mr. Fernando did not come to school. Mr. Wickramasinghe was looking at the school gate through his office window to catch any image of Mr. Fernando. Mr. Fernando’s bike entered in to the school premises. Mr. Fernando saw the post man near the gate walking towards the office. He stopped near him; postman gave a letter to Mr. Fernando. He got down from the bike and started to read the letter. Few times he stopped reading, stared at the sky with a questioning look, again started to read. Almost 10 minutes were spent near the gate. Slowly he entered to the office. At that time Mr. Wickramasinghe was furious about Mr. Fernando’s behavior. He got up from his chair and reached near him ‘This is a curse for the children, look; today also they lost their first period. If you come late like this I have to report about you to the officers. You have come late and you want to read your letter. Don’t you have any feelings about these children? ‘ Mr. Fernando stared at Mr. Wickramasinghe for a moment and caught him with his collar and stared to hit. Staff members came and separated them otherwise there would have been a big fight. Officers were called for an investigation. Jayadeva de Silva 7
  8. 8. Humantalents Case Study 2 (Mr. M.H.M.Panapitiya) Age ------------------ 30 Years Civil Status ------------ Married Social Status Professional Background; Educational Background; Psychological Background Social Status Mr. M.H.M. Panapitiya hails from a middle class family in down south. His father is a farmer. His mother and father are living. There are two members in Panapitiya’s family. Both elder to him and both married. Panapitiya is the youngest in the family. Usually the youngest in the family is considered a “Badapissa” and invariably pampered by the members of the family. He grew up in such a background. Professional Background After receiving his higher education at the Moratuwa University; he joined a medium scale carpentry workshop. Around 15pepole work under him and he was a design engineer in addition; he worked as a manager. After 12 months he left this workshop to join a precision tool making company in FTZ. He preferred this place, as he was not very far away from home. Further he was able to broaden his knowledge as a designer. Panapitiya has to go from A-Z as he dose not have knowledge about the systems adopted in this company; which included company standards, Computer software’s, Handling machines, New methods etc. Hence he has to start his life as a trainee designer. Educational Background NDT Qualified- Mechanical Engineering. Psychological Background This particular candidate builds up what you may call a “superiority complex” after he was told about the company’s policies and the orientation program. The company policy is not to give a designers uniform until and unless the trainee successfully completes his training program; which is six months. Now this particular candidate meets some of his university mates who had been with him at the university during his time. These mates too went through the normal company procedure of going through the training period without Jayadeva de Silva 8
  9. 9. Humantalents wearing the designer’s uniform. It is only after completion of their training period that they received their designer uniform. Now there are two factors to be observed. Dignity of labour “Superiority” complex “ This particular candidate was subject to the normal checks given to others while entering the company premises and living the company premises. The seniors influenced him and put this problem in his head. Whereas, they themselves had gone through the same checks one-way or the other. “You are an Engineer and it is demanding and an insult to check an engineer” Most problem this is what they said. This particular candidate thought for a while; that they should not check an executive- an engineer. Finally he met up with HR Manager, he was in tears; He told the HR manager that he has decided to leave the company because of the security checking. Case Study 3 (Performance) Anjalee Jayaweera, a recent graduate from a respectable business school, has just been appointed as the superior of the installation department for residential telephone installations. Her boss told her that she faces a real challenge because productivity of her new workgroup is down and absenteeism is very high. Anjalee had learned from her OB class that goal setting is an effective technique for motivation. She decided that she would use it to solve her problems. On her second day on the job she announced to the crew that they would each have a goal for the day to accomplish. These goals were set at 110 percent of the production of each person during the past sixty days. The reception to Anjalee’s edict was cool, but she was pleased that she was assertive and forceful and had every thing under control. The next day every single person in the department called in sick. Additional reading Please read the chapter on Counselling in the book titled “Humantalents management by Jayadeva de Silva. This book can be now downloaded free from the Internet http://www.slideshare.net/Jayadeva/humantalents-management-byjayadeva-de-silva Jayadeva de Silva 9