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Supervisor Guidelines for Using the Employee Assitance Program


The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) offers a comprehensive program to those individuals experiencing job performance difficulties. Employees and family members, ages 16 and above, who are experiencing problems affecting their ability to secure or maintain employment are eligible to apply for counseling and Job Retention Services through SCVRD. Those individuals who fall outside the age criteria, those not qualifying for their services, or those needing services from other agencies or resources will be referred to appropriate programs and organizations in the community.

Referral Process:

There are five steps in making a referral to SCVRD. It is important to realize that this is a team process. The referring supervisor works with the Human Resources staff and with SCVRD staff through each step. However, employees or family members may directly contact a SCVRD counselor to schedule an appointment for a confidential evaluation and problem assessment, and need not go through any other channels in order to request these services.

STEP 1: Recognize the Job Performance Problem

Recognizing job performance problems can be the most difficult part of a manager's or supervisor's job. That's because about 50 percent of job performance problems typically come from employees with at least 10 years seniority and 75 percent have had at least five years or more with their organization. They know their job, they know the system, and they know the people. They probably have had periods of satisfactory and maybe even exceptional job performance in the past. Often managers and supervisors want to "help" and "protect" these employees by playing down current problems, reassigning tasks, covering for mistakes and hoping that things will get back on track. This kind of "help" often enables employees to continue their unsatisfactory job performance for extended periods or until a major crisis occurs at work or home. If you begin to have concerns about an employee's job performance, remember that Human Resources staff and SCVRD staff are available to help find ways to deal with even the most difficult situations.

STEP 2: Document and Discuss

Most employees want to do a good job. Documenting job performance problems and discussing them with the employee is frequently all that is needed to help an employee get back on track. It gives the employee an opportunity to understand concerns and take corrective action. If things don't get better, documentation and prior discussions become the basis for further job action. Human Resources staff and SCVRD staff can assist managers and supervisors with performance documentation and discussions with employees. Confidential assistance is available at anytime.

STEP 3: Take Action - Confronting Performance Problems

Confrontation about unacceptable job performance can be a powerful motivator for change. People may let marriage, family, finances, and health go down the tubes, but when their job is at risk they often do what they have to do to save it. When managers and supervisors follow disciplinary procedures, the message to the employee is clear: Get back on track or there will be consequences. Confronting employees is rarely easy or pleasant. Human Resources staff and SCVRD staff can assist managers and supervisors with a listening ear and a review of disciplinary procedures. Help also is available in preparing for the employee interview and reviewing options for making an SCVRD referral, if desired. Recurring job problems rarely get better on their own. Confronting unacceptable job performance can be a positive step toward problem resolution for all concerned. For best results, use a team approach to solving the problem and contact Human Resources and the SCVRD for assistance.

STEP 4: Make an SCVRD Job Performance Referral

An SCVRD job performance referral is an opportunity for the referring manager or supervisor, the Human Resources staff, and the SCVRD staff to work together in addressing an employee's job performance problems. Prior to an SCVRD referral, the manager or supervisor should discuss the employee's current job performance issues, the employee's past work record, prior job action, attendance problems or other related information with an SCVRD consultant. Human Resources staff and SCVRD staff can assist with preparation of the SCVRD Job Performance Referral Form and can pre-arrange the employee's initial SCVRD appointment. It is important for the referring manager or supervisor to take these steps prior to confronting the employee with job action or referral to the SCVRD.

STEP 5: Follow-up: A Team Approach

All SCVRD services are confidential. Referring managers or supervisors may talk with SCVRD staff about the employee's performance prior to and following SCVRD Job Performance Referrals. Managers and supervisors will be told whether or not an employee chooses to use the Program. Without the employee's written permission, no other information will be released. Follow-up is key to successful SCVRD intervention. After making a job performance SCVRD referral to the Employee Assistance Program, the referring manager or supervisor should continue to monitor the employee's job performance. If job performance problems continue or if they show up again down the line, it is very important to discuss these issues with Human Resources staff and SCVRD staff. When managers, supervisors, Human Resources staff, SCVRD staff and employees work together, the probable success for all those concerned is greatly enhanced.