Q&A – Who may you designate as an internal confidential adviser?

Bullying, conflicts, stress due to work pressure or an unclear task package, issues in their private lives… These can weigh heavily on employees and consequently on your organisation. A confidential adviser lowers the threshold for raising and solving such problems. But who can fulfil this role?

In short: an approachable person with a good dose of empathy is your ideal confidential adviser. Please note that they cannot be a member of the managerial staff – as an employer, you are therefore also excluded. Also excluded are your occupational physician, union representatives, and those who have a seat on the works council or committee (CPPW). A confidential adviser is a neutral point of contact in case of psychosocial problems and is bound by a duty of confidentiality.

Appointing a confidential adviser is not a legal obligation, but the role is worth its weight in gold for the psychosocial well-being in your workplace. If a colleague has a problem that weighs on their performance, the confidential adviser is a neutral contact point.

Firstly, for a confidential discussion, but also for advice, mediation, or possible referral. With a confidential adviser, problems usually come to light faster, before they have a chance to escalate.

Neutral position is crucial

Your confidential adviser must be able to take a neutral position, both towards the other employees and towards you, the employer. Therefore, an employee may not be a confidential adviser if they…

  • …belong to the managerial staff (with the exception of confidential advisers designated before 1/9/2014).
  • occupational physician.
  • …are a member of the trade union delegation – membership of a trade union is not a problem.
  • …are an employer or employee representative in the works council or committee (CPPW).
  • …are a candidate for the social elections.

What about HR staff?

They are not prohibited from being confidential advisers. Note: HR staff have access to a lot of confidential data through their job. So it can be sensitive to combine both roles. On the other hand, you can appoint your internal prevention adviser as a confidential adviser without any problems. Of course, they must then also follow the compulsory basic training.

No definite job description

A confidential adviser has no fixed tasks. As an accessible point of contact, they are first and foremost a listening ear for the colleague who entrusts them with a problem. Such a conversation in private often works wonders in itself. Furthermore, the confidential adviser may also give advice and, if necessary, mediate or refer the colleague to someone else for a solution.

Because of their specific role, your confidential adviser has a good overview of the kind of problems that arise in the workplace. Reporting this to the psychosocial well-being prevention adviser therefore provides valuable input for your well-being policy.

Last but not least, the confidential adviser must remain independent of the colleague who confides in them. Moreover, they have a strict duty of confidentiality, also towards you, the employer.

Get your confidential adviser off to a good start

Your confidential adviser will be confronted with a wide range of problems – and must respond appropriately. A basic education is therefore mandatory in order to provide professional support to the employee(s) involved.

Mensura will help you develop a targeted approach.

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