Counseling in Business and Industry

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  • 0:27 EAP Program
  • 1:19 EAP Services
  • 3:03 Career Programs
  • 3:51 Career Center
  • 5:13 Outplacement Services
  • 6:31 Vocational Rehabilitation
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michele Chism

Michele is presently a part time adjunct instructor at Faulkner University in the Counselor Education Department where she teaches Measurement and Assessment and Diagnosis and Treatment. I formerly taught at the University of West Alabama where I taught School Counseling and College Student Development Counseling. I was also the Student Success Coordinator for the College of Education.

Counselors can provide valuable resources to business and industry. This lesson explains how those resources can help the employer and the employee by helping employees be better workers.


In this lesson, we will be learning about some of the available counseling resources in business and industry. We will be discussing employee assistance programs, career development counseling, outplacement counseling, and vocational rehabilitation. Each of these programs provides benefits for the employee and the employer.

EAP Program

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are employer-sponsored programs designed to assist in eliminating a variety of workplace problems. Most employee assistance programs date back to the 1960s and 1970s when employers in the San Francisco Bay area recognized the need for an alcoholism program at the workplace.

In the 1970s, these programs expanded their emphasis to include emotional issues, drug addiction, and family problems. They began hiring counselors to provide short-term counseling in the business and coordinate referrals to outside resources. In the late 1970s to early 1980s there was a shift from in-house programs to off-site programs due to concerns about privacy and confidentiality.

EAP Services

EAP services are usually free to employees and their families. Most of the programs are offered off-site with a contracted group that may consist of counselors, psychologists, financial advisors, attorneys, and/or childcare specialists. Benefits for the employer include lower medical costs, reduced turnover and absenteeism, higher employee productivity, greater employee retention, fewer labor disputes, and reduced accidents.

Employees and their household members may use EAPs to help manage issues in their personal lives. EAP counselors typically provide assessment, support, and referrals to additional resources. EAPs may provide support for the following issues: substance abuse, occupational stress, emotional distress, major life events, healthcare concerns, financial or non-work related legal concerns, family and/or personal relationship issues, work relationship issues, concern about aging parents, and dealing with work stress.

EAPs help businesses and organizations address productivity issues by helping employees identify and resolve personal concerns that are making it difficult for them to focus on work. Through prevention, identification, and resolution of these issues, EAPs enhance employee and workplace effectiveness and are a vital tool for maintaining and improving worker health and productivity, retaining valued employees, and returning employees to work after illness or injury.

Career Programs

Career development programs may make employees aware not only of their own career interests, but also of job opportunities within the company. Career development programs are needed to develop career motivation that researchers believe is based in career resilience, career insight, and career identity.

Career resilience is a worker's ability to keep a positive perspective even when their career is not going as well as they would like. Career insight has to do with personal realism about one's own career potential and requires feedback about performance to develop. Career identity is the extent to which workers' personal identities are related to their careers and are reflected in their career directions and goals.

Career Center

Career development programs offer services to the employer through career counselors in business settings. Some of these services include:

  • Helping employees assess their work styles and improve where needed.
  • Helping managers identify the negative effects of repetitive work, forced relocation, and job loss.
  • Identifying the strains associated with two-career families and helping ameliorate the stresses growing out of their relationships.
  • Helping managers identify the hazards associated with stress and work.
  • Preparing people for retirement.
  • Improving the process of performance appraisal.
  • Identifying the special concerns of professionals.

The rationale for developing a career development program grows out of the desire to retain employees through greater employee satisfaction. Career development programs allow businesses to make better use of their employee skills, increase the loyalty of employees, enhance communication, increase employee retention, and contribute to the effectiveness of personnel systems such as performance appraisal and promotion. For the employee, these programs offer career exploration and possible job change to a more compatible work setting.

Outplacement Services

Outplacement services are services that a company provides to help former employees find employment when they face significant layoffs. These programs were begun 30 years ago in response to the number of companies that were downsizing, which means that they were reducing the workforce through outsourcing and layoffs.

The programs were designed to help the employees who were being laid off, and to reduce the guilt of the companies who were doing the downsizing. Job loss can be one of the most stressful experiences a person can face, ranked third behind death and divorce.

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