Every modern workplace takes employee wellbeing seriously. Providing employees with a therapist is on the rise. Since around 90% of workplace problems are of psychological origin, it makes sense to help employees deal with the psychological issues. Except for, employees do not line up to see the company-provided therapist. Main reasons: trust, time, benefit, and problem definition issues.
No matter how great employee & employer relationships are, there is still an imbalance of power. HR are the ones who hire and fire employees and the therapist. This kind of relationship raises the issue of trust. Employees always wonder if they can trust the therapist with workplace problems, when they both account to the same person: HRD.
The solution. A good way to create trust among employees and the therapist is to sign and make public the confidentiality agreement. Employers have to make sure that no employee information is disclosed to the HRD. Unless, of course, a certain piece of information becomes a tendency, in which case it is a must that the therapist addresses the issue with the HRD.
If employees feel good at work, they work more productively, and therapy does just that - helps people feel better and do a better job. However, it is not always an easy task to tell that to a busy manager. It is a paradox that the busiest employees benefit from therapy the most, but have no time for it. At least not during a workday.
The solution. It is not uncommon for therapists to make themselves available on certain hours on weekends. If a therapist is willing to show their goodwill, usually, busy employees will do the same. This way, everybody wins.
3. TIME (AGAIN)
Employees have become conscious about their time off work. And it’s a great thing. Therefore, to encourage employees to take advantage of the therapy sessions, it is important to allow them during working hours. Some employers fear that employees may take advantage of this type of “time from work”. The solution is to limit session frequency to 1 session per week, but still allow the sessions during working hours. One weekly session is perfectly enough to make sustainable progress with an employee to improve their well being.
4. NO “PROBLEM”
A lot of employees sustain from the therapy sessions because they do not have “problems”, only “normal” work-related stress. It is therefore very important to stress that repetitive stressful days have just as much a negative effect on employee well being as “big” problems that happen less often. Employees do not think that a simple exercise of venting to someone is a big step to their wellbeing. And this needs to be fixed.
The solution. A good therapist will keep in touch with all employees (not just the session attendees) and communicate the benefits of reflecting on one’s workweek to a third party. All employees should be aware of the benefits of reflecting on success much as on failure. If that is not the case, a therapist needs to be replaced.
5. (NO) BENEFITS
Sometimes, employees do not attend the therapy sessions because they do not think they can help them. In fact, they do not even know that the sessions can help them to do better at work. So, they try not to take advantage of the sessions in case their work output does not improve as a consequence. This notion is hard to change, as the insecurity comes from within the employee. However, the very fact of it shows that employees can benefit from the sessions greatly, as they have the power to shift from a place of insecurity to a place of confidence. Which always yields better (work) results.
The solution. It is important to find a therapist, who is not only available, but also proactive. Every employee in the world has business problems to solve. And every one of them could use a third party point of view. It is important to not only engage in the sessions, but also to educate employees about the benefits of the sessions.
Therapy in the workplace is becoming the new norm. And it makes sense, as the majority of problems (including workplace problems) are of psychological origin. There is a difference between being ignored and thinking you are being ignored. And a good therapist helps see the difference. Therapists improve employee wellbeing, and it improves overall workplace experience. Corporate therapists take an even more narrow approach to employee therapy and engage in work-related therapy sessions. Which makes a lot of sense given the fact that people spend the longest hours of their day at work.