Faculty and Staff Assistance Program -- Tips for Supervisors

Please Note:  Many supervisors may be feeling concerned for their employees as the University adjusts to difficulties caused by COVID-19.  Please don't hesitate to call us to talk through how to be supportive of your staff or how to make a referral.  What follows is general advice on referring an employee.  More specific information will be coming soon.

General Tips for Referring and Employee to our Services

FSAP can be a helpful support to employees when they are going through problems at work or problems in other areas of their lives.  Sometimes, employees need a place to talk through difficulties with a work change, a colleague, or with a supervisor.  Sometimes their main problems are more personal but these problems are starting to affect work performance. Expressing concern for an employee can be tricky, especially when you are expressing concerns during a discussion of work performance issues.  We offer tips below for discussing work difficulties with an employee.   If you want to consult with someone at FSAP before having a discussion with an employee, please give us a call.

Some Do’s and Don’ts for Discussing Problems with an Employee

Do remember to outline the employees strengths and emphasize their valuable contribution at work. Do have your meeting with the employee in private. Do approach the issue from a work performance perspective -- be specific about the problems or behaviors you have noticed. Do bring up FSAP as a support to them.  Emphasize that it is voluntary and confidential. Don’t diagnose the employee or try to label their problem. Don’t pry into the employee’s personal life or mental health history -- you can express care and concern for them as a whole person with a complex life but you don’t want to pressure them to disclose more than they are comfortable with. Do be aware that, the employee may be entitled to workplace accommodations or family medical leave (FMLA) for a family medical problem including a diagnosed mental health problem.  In some cases you may want to familiarize yourself with these policies and/or you may want to refer them to HR to discuss it further. Don’t share any disclosed personal information about the employee with anyone else at work outside of HR or your supervisor.  

When the Concerns about an Employee are More Serious:

If you have immediate safety concerns, specifically concerns that a person may harm themselves or another person, you should call campus police at 413-545-3111. If you have ongoing safety concerns but there isn’t an immediate crisis, you may want to contact the Threat Management Team.  We can provide a multi-disciplinary consultation with you about the issue.  Contact Human Resources (413) 545-0380 or the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, (413) 545-0350 to set up a meeting.