How counselling services support workplace well-being and performance

When a manager reached out about an employee’s productivity and suspected burnout, a series of counselling sessions helped get things back on track.

Background

While burnout itself is not a diagnosable medical condition and official statistics on it are hard to come by, experts recognise that the effects of burnout are real. The World Health Organization has described burnout as ‘resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’.

In January 2020, the Life Health Solutions Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) received a referral from from management of an employee who seemed to be overwhelmed, struggling to concentrate and generally not performing in their role.

Approach and findings

The first step was to consult with the manager who had referred the employee, and advise them on how to talk to the employee about their referral to the EWP – it was important that the referral came across as supportive, rather than disciplinary.

Once the employee had agreed to engage with the referral process, a well-being practitioner reached out to discuss counselling and a way forward. During this initial contact with the EWP, the employee acknowledged they were feeling exhausted and that their work performance was suffering as a result – they agreed to a series of face-to-face counselling sessions.

In their assessment feedback, the well-being practitioner indicated that the employee was showing symptoms if burnout, brought about by a combination of personal and workplace pressure. On a personal level, the employee and their partner spent long periods of time away from each other and moved frequently. They also had demanding jobs that at times involved traumatic and disturbing work. This often left them feeling exhausted, sad, anxious and sometimes tearful in the workplace.

It was clear that this employee was finding it difficult to function at their best. Increased absenteeism, lowered concentration levels and demotivation were some of the performance difficulties the employee presented with.

A series of four counselling sessions attended by the employee focused on helping them to develop resilience, strategies for dealing with burnout, self-care practices and coping skills.

The employee was also referred to a medical specialist for assistance and support.

Outcome

Upon completion of the final counselling session, the well-being practitioner noted that the employee showed improvement in their ability to cope and felt they were able to talk to management about their workload concerns.

The employee reported feeling supported and contained by the counsellor and appreciated the self-care and coping strategies shared with them.

A report was submitted to the referring manager with recommendations around how best to manage and support the employee going forward.

Are you concerned that your employees may be overwhelmed and at risk of burnout? For more information on the Life Health Solutions Employee Wellness Programme and counselling services, SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back, or email ewp@lifehealthcare.co.za.

Reference:

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