Perceptions and Experiences of Mandated Counseling: A Focus on National Government Employees in Nairobi City County, Kenya
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There are various psychosocial challenges among government employees that lead to poor work performance. The introduction of mandated counseling services for public servants by the government was seen as a measure to deal with personal problems among the public servants that may hinder their work performance. There is little empirical data on perceptions and experiences of mandated counseling among public servants. This study sought to find out the perceptions of mandated counseling by analyzing experiences among public servants in Nairobi City County. The objectives of the study were: To determine the experiences of public servants on mandated counseling in Nairobi City County; to find out the perceptions of public servants on mandated counseling in Nairobi City County; to find out measures that can be put in place to improve mandated counseling among public servants offered by the government. The target population was public servants who have used mandated counseling services. The study was based on the strength based counseling model by Smith (2006). The study used cross-sectional survey to find out the experiences and perceptions of public servants who have used the mandated counseling services offered by the government. The study sampled 35 respondents from the public service in the national government who have used the mandated counseling services. The data was collected using open ended interview schedules in order to allow the respondents to freely report their experiences. The collected qualitative data was organized and analyzed thematically in order come up with the experiences and perceptions of mandated counseling. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS. The results of the study revealed that most of the respondents were referred to counseling by either the director (43%) or their supervisor (57%). Most of the participants were referred to counseling because of poor work performance (44%), misconduct at work (31%) and alcohol abuse (25%). The results of the study revealed that most of the employees who used the mandated counseling services had a positive experience with the services. However, they had mixed perception about mandated counseling services. Some felt that counseling needed to be voluntary rather than mandated. The participants also suggested that enhancing confidentiality, employing more counselors and encouraging voluntary counseling were necessary to improve the services. The findings of this study provide empirical information that may be useful in improving the effectiveness of the mandated counseling among public servants in Kenya.