Delay leads to bigger trouble. If you delay or procrastinate in your decision to make a supervisor referral of a troubled employee, it may become more difficult to make a referral later on. Delays may lead to a cat-and-mouse game of threatening the employee, eliciting promises of correcting performance, and having such promises broken in a cycle that destroys a working relationship.
An EAP referral is a good thing. A common reason why supervisors hesitate to refer employees earlier is the belief that they are accusing their employee of having a mental health or drug problem. If you delay in making a supervisor referral and become frustrated with repeated attempts to help your employee, you risk getting more personally involved in the employee's personal problems, or barring such involvement, seeking the employee's termination out of anger and disgust when a crisis occurs.