Since it is hurricane season, we thought this article might be timely.
Barely a day goes by when the news isn’t covering a horrific national or local disaster. Survivors are interviewed looking for loved ones, possessions and shelter. Some things can be learned from their experiences, such as a disaster can strike suddenly and without warning and what a person can do to prepare in advance. Below are some steps you can follow to prepare your company for a disaster:
Determine what kind of disasters are common to your area from the local Red Cross. For example if you live in Alaska, you don’t have to worry about hurricanes but you should be ready for an earthquake. In the Northwest, we should all be prepared for an earthquake, especially after seeing the devasting and catastrophic effects of the earthquake in Japan.
Designate an out of state partner or branch company you can use to deseminate information to family members, clients or customers about your status.
Be sure employees know where fire extingushers are and how to use them if you don’t have an overhead sprinkler system.
Have an evacuation plan and assign a company individual to bereponsible for the plan and it’s a good idea to conduct a drill ocassionally so everyone is aware of the plan and procedures.
Stock emergency supplies, water and a first aid kit; enough for all employees for at least two days. Replace these items before the expiration date.
Have employees bring in extra medications, foods they eat, eye glasses or extra contact lenses and and a warm sweater and pair of gloves.
Have members of your company learn first aid and CPR.
Be aware that some individuals may be very traumatized especially if they have experienced a previous traumatic event or if they lose their homes or loved ones.
After a disaster, employers can provide critical incident debriefings conducted by the EAP. Some companies will provide meals and other services to employees in the short term to help them recover and get back on their feet.
The EAP can be a helpful resource both before and after a disaster. Preparation is key!
While smaller companies have fewer employers and therefore lower utilization of an EAP program, small employers with employee problems may suffer the effects of those problems more. Decreased performance and productivity will hurt a smaller employer’s bottom line faster. Workplace negativity can spread like wildfire in small company and if employees leave on masse, a small company could be damaged beyond repair. As a result, an employer that provides a high quality, personalized, full service EAP (Core-Technology EAP) can help both the employer and employee by decreasing liability and risk, reducing accidents and improving employee morale and loyalty. Employees who feels supported by their employer will be far more enagaged. The EAP helps a small employer decrease the stress small business owners encounter when managing a lot of responsibilities with little support. Small businesses with a high quality EAP will find the EAP is a partner in helping them with issues such as change, lay-offs, employee personal and work problems and potential serious employee problems such as intoxication on the job, recipients of domestic violence, threats of workplace violence, allegations of sexual harassment, death or serious injury at work and more. No business is immune from human problems, regardless of their size.
The Core-Technology EAP that deals with employee problems, (and those employees who may have problems with management), is often the first to learn of an employee’s intent to sue their employer. They may tell the EAP counselor, “I am upset with my supervisor because…and I am thinking of suing”. If handled properly, the EAP can be a front line defense against employment claims and related lawsuits. Professional EAP counselors help employees to seek alternate solutions to personal problems and more constructive alternatives to meet their needs. Some options would be to refer them to human resources, provide mediation or conflict resolution services or other dispute resolution channels. When employees have a safe, confidential place to process their anger or feelings they can be defused enough to work toward a resolution or in some cases, the employee can be coached to pursue employment elsewhere which may be the best course to avoid the pursuit of a lawsuit, while making the employee happier.
EAP’s can help save employers money by preventing lawsuits including harassment, wrongful termination and hostile workplace allegations. When the EAP is well promoted and troubled employees are encouraged to contact the EAP in order to get their needs met in appropriate ways, they are less likely to sue. In addition, managers should be taught to consult with the EAP as soon as they are aware that an employees is disgruntled or troubled.
Employee assistance programs that prevent Employment Practices Liability and loss prevention may far exceed health insurance cost containment. According to Dan Fuerst, www.workexcel.com, the average jury award for wrongful termination is $500,000 with out of court settlements averaging $100,000. The low cost of a fee per employee based program is so minimal compared to the potential risk employers face by being sued by their employers.
The Core-Technology EAP is one that is not a “free” program that is embedded in an insurance or disability program but one that not only provides assessement, referrals, counseling and case management, but also provides training, management coaching and consultation and ongoing support to both the employer and employee.
For more information about how we can work with small businesses, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes employees are promoted and thrust into a management or senior role without the prepartion or information they need to feel comfortable hosting clients or networking. I atttended a business etiquette presentation last week. The tips that were shared can be useful to employees, managers and sales professionals. The presenter, Arden Clise, presented the following 10 Personal Skills for Personal Success:
1. Host suggests – The host is responsible for suggesting a restaurant, time and date that is convenient for the guest.
2. Check matters – The host pays and should take care of the bill before the guests arrive.
3. Guest is king – The host gives the guest the best seat and indicates to the guest where to sit.
4. That’s my bread – Navigating the place setting is as simple as “b” and “d” -( Bread plate on the left and drink on the right.)
5. Big talk before small talk – Business discussions start after pleasantries have been exchanged and the order has been placed.
6. Shake hands with confidence – Have a firm handshake, where your hand is fully in the other person’s hand, web to web.
7. Name authority first -When making business introductions, say the name of the person with more authorityfirst and introduce the person of less authority to them (“Mary, CEO, this is George Manager”)
8. One alone or in groups of three+ – When networking, approach someone alone or in groups of three or more. Two people may be in an intimate conversation,
9. Build relationships – Social media is meant to be dialogue, not a broadcast opportunity
10. Don’t default – always presonalize your social media connection, recommendation and referral requests. Don’t use default messages.
For more information, visit clliseetiquette.com
In addition to providing a service to assist employees and their families with personal and work problems, we are also an employer assistance program. We offer coaching and assistance to employers when they are faced with difficult employee situations. I will be posting some of the questions we are asked most frequently and invite our readers to post their thoughts, questions and discussions on this blog.
Q: I am a supervisor myself, but am having difficulty trusting
management. Can the EAP Program assist
me? I feel like I have nowhere to turn.
A: Our EAP makes your confidentiality our utmost
priority. We offer professional, non judgmental short-term assistance for employers and employees alike.
We will never disclose our conversations with you to any outside source without
your written permission, unless it is an emergency situation, or if you are at
risk to harm yourself, or someone else.
Whether you are contacting us for a personal problem or a work related issue, we can help.
Even if you have referred employees to us in the past, be assured that we can help you as well.
Our company specializes in offering both an employer and employee assistance program, enabling supervisors and managers alike to get the much
needed support that they deserve, when dealing with the complexities and
challenges that a leadership role can demand. Your EAP counselor can assist you
in trouble-shooting and role-playing certain scenarios that may be perplexing,
offer education and guidance, as well as find useful and current resources for
you, that are available to you in your geographic area. The EAP is in place so that you, as someone
in a leadership role, never has to feel like there is nowhere to turn!
Q: What is the proper criteria for referring an employee for a “reasonable suspicion”
A: There are five
fundamental elements to consider when requiring a “reasonable suspicion” drug
test. First, it is always important to keep your observational
skills keen, sharp, and well educated. Second, it is imperative to take an
immediate, proactive role in making the referral, because employee SAFETY is an
employer’s primary concern. Third, ALWAYS document any suspicious activity or
behavior on the part of any employee in question. Fourth, review your company’s
drug and alcohol policy, to determine your company’s specific guidelines and
protocol, then act accordingly. Finally, after reviewing all of the information
and documentation available, consult as needed with administration, and Human
Resources, and contact your EAP program. It is important to communicate
your suspicion to the employee in a private and confidential manner. NEVER
allow the employee to drive himself to the drug testing site, because his judgment may be impaired, casuing a serious safety risk.
Company follow through is vital, and remember: your job is NOT to diagnose substance abuse problems. Instead, refer the employee to the EAP
Program, as part of a Last Chance Agreement so the employee can find the resources and the proper help that he or
she may need.