Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When Organizational Development Specialists Become "Professional Counselor"

EA professionals who also provide organizational development (OD) consulting may be able to practice both professions equally well, but OD staff are not in the position to play the role of an employee assistance professional. The problem is that many do.  This is a risk issue for organizations. An OD staffer cannot counsel employees and promise confidentiality any more than a janitor. I have seen organizations where employees visit with OD staffers instead of the EAP. OD staff can increase risk for organizations when they attempt to resolve organizational, communication, or morale problems that have their roots in clinical or psychiatric problems. Organizations should take steps to examine the role other experts in the organization play, and be clear with these professionals regarding the scope of their duties and areas of expertise. OD specialists who derive personal meaning and job satisfaction from the counseling role with employee employees will create risk for organizations and the employees they seek to help.