The “Free” EAP

Now, more than ever before, employers are looking for ways to cut back on all of their costs including reducing valuable benefits such as the employee assistance program.  At the same time, more and more corporations including life and disability carriers, payroll companies and health insurance providers are wrapping “free”  EAP’s into their services.  Employers who are already reducing expenses, may choose to eliminate the stand-alone EAP they are currently paying for, especially if they are now getting a “free” EAP.

As an employer you should have all of your facts when choosing an EAP as part of a package deal with your other benefits. First of all, nothing is really FREE and you are paying for this program as part of your other plans. Secondly, the old saying, “you get what you pay for” almost always holds true for employee assistance programs.  You may be getting a basic referral service, either a telephonic program or a referral program, whereby an employee calls for a referral and gets a certain number of sessions with a counselor for free.  But often, employees are  left to their own devices to call a number of counselors to see if they have an opening.  Often they are given nothing more than a few phone numbers and no follow-up with the client is ever made to ensure that their needs were being met.  In addition, often there is only a minimal assessment of the clients situation before they are referred out.  Supportive telephone counseling on the first contact can make all the difference for clients in distress.

As an employer, ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Does your EAP conduct management consultations?

2. Do you get regular utilization reports?

3. Does the EAP have staff counselors answering the phone twenty-four hours a day?

4. Is your EAP able to see clients the same day?

5. Does your EAP provide case management services, including crisis management,  assistance with performance problems and drug and alcohol testing?

6. Do the EAP counselors provide ongoing follow-up for up to two years?

7. Does your EAP have expertise with drug and alcohol issues with in-house addiction counselors?

If you can’t answer affirmatively to the questions listed above, you may want to consider switching to a more full service EAP with a low yearly rate.  By providing a personalized, high quality, yet affordable EAP, you will be receiving a solid return on youchecklistr investment while retaining valuable employees, increasing morale and performance and ensuring your employees are receiving the help they need.

If you are interested in learning more about our program, please feel free to contact me for more information.

We have 34 year of experience and our only business is employee assistance.


Employee Background Checks

Workplace violence, accidents, stalking, sexual harrassment, drug dealing… Are these issues occuring in your workplace? So many incidents and problems can be prevented if employers know what they are dealing with ahead of time.  Many times I have consulted with employers about potentially violent employees. When I ask about the individual’s history, many employers have no idea if the employee has a criminal history.  Unfortunately, history can repeat itself.  Statistics show that those with a history of violence are more likely to reoffend.  Wouldn’t it make sense to know this before you hire someone?

In a difficult economy, you can afford to hire the best.  It is important to properly screen your potential hires not only with a thorough interview process but also with pre-employment screening tools such as drug testing and background checks.  It is so much easier to turn down a candidate before you hire than to terminate due to a bad fit or serious issues that effect safety and security.

If you are interested in background screening, we can help you locate a very low priced program with many different levels of service.  It is an extremely cost-effective tool to help you maintain a safe and productive workforce.  Please email me for more information at audreyr@fee-eap.com


Balancing Work and Family

As a business owner and working mother of two school age boys, I know first hand the demands of balancing work and family. My boys attend different schools with different spring breaks which fall on consecutive weeks this year.  I find myself wondering how in the world I can manage to work for two weeks in a row while each of them is off school, needing to be occupied, entertained and kept away from twelve hours a day watching tv or playing video games.

 I am one of the lucky few who has the opportunity to work a flexible schedule.  What about the many thousands of other of working parents who have their kids off from school for spring break, professional development days and various other “no school days” while they have to work?  Parenting is a full time job.  Keeping track of sports practices, games, homework, playdates and doctors appointments can make a family schedule more complex that a work calendar and if you are a single parent or a dual income family, juggling family responsibilities with a full time job can be a challenge, if not downright overwhelming. 

With the increase in technology including voice mail, email, Blackberries, iphones, laptops and the like, employees are often asked to be available anytime, anywhere.   Now, more than ever, employees feel they must prove themselves and work harder so they can increase their value and escape layoffs.  When there are fewer employees to do more of the work, it can be  awfully hard to separate work from family obligations. 

So how can you cope with the demands of family and work? 

Here are the following tips we offer our clients:

1.  While at work, try to focus only on work and if you must deal with family responsibilities, like corresponding with the teacher, arranging snack for the sports team or booking doctor’s appointments, try to do it on your lunch hour so you can be more productive and avoid distractions. 

2.Try to give yourself time to separate and unwind from work on your way home. Listen to music, get caught up on personal phone calls (with a headset of course!)  or plan your evening in your head.  Turn work off.

3. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself before you jump into family mode. Change clothes, go for a walk around the block, take a quick shower,  or flip on the news for 5 minutes

4. Prepare and plan meals ahead of time so all you need is last minute preparation when everyone is tired and hungry.

5. Try to multi-task by throwing in laundry while preparing dinner.  Make cleaning up a family time with everyone pitching in to give you more time together in the evening.

6. Delegate chores and responsibilities so you are not doing it all.

7. If you must work at home, try to do it for a set period of time, preferably when they kids are in bed and but not right before you go to bed so you can relax before sleeping.  Make at least one night or a part of the weekend, work-free times.

8.  If you are overwhelmed, stressed or having difficulty balancing work and family, contact the EAP for professional assistance.

We have a wonderful worklife program as an optional part of our service.  Our worklife website is full of articles and resources on ways to balance work and family.  Our counselors can refer clients to resources for childcare, eldercare and families anywhere in the U.S

Fully Effective Employees