The 2016 Presidential election continues to be a topic of great debate whether it is at home, in the community or at work. Sometimes differing opinions can create conflict, tensions and downright hostility. These issues can arise when discussing politics in the workplace and can affect productivity, morale and performance.
The American Psychological Association recently published the results of their 2017
Work and Well-Being Survey with a special focus on politics. Here are some of the key findings:
According to the survey, 26 percent of full-time and part-time employed American adults said they felt tense or stressed out as a result of political discussions at work since the election, an increase from 17 percent in September 2016 when they were asked about political discussions at work during the election season. More than one in five (21 percent) said they have felt more cynical and negative during the workday because of discussing politics in the workplace, compared with 15 percent before the election.
Half of the post-election survey respondents (54 percent) said they have discussed politics at work since the election, and for 40 percent of American workers, it has caused at least one negative outcome, such as reduced productivity, poorer work quality, difficulty getting work done, a more negative view of coworkers, feeling tense or stressed out, or increased workplace hostility. This is a significant increase from the pre-election survey data, when 27 percent reported at least one negative outcome.
Nearly one-third (31 percent) said they had witnessed coworkers arguing about politics, and 15 percent said they have gotten into an argument themselves. More than 24 percent said they avoided some coworkers because of their political views. About one in six experienced strained relationships as a result of political discussions at work since the election: 16 percent said they have a more negative view of coworkers; 16 percent felt more isolated from coworkers; 17 percent said team cohesiveness suffered; and 18 percent reported an increase in workplace hostility.
If your employees are experiencing conflict at work and political debates are affecting work performance, the EAP can provide confidential assistance.
From the American Psychological Association.
Rude behavior at work tends to have a contagious effect and spread from one employee to another, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Incivility can leave employees feeling mentally fatigued, thus reducing their self-control and leading them to act in a similar uncivil manner.
Researchers also found that rude behavior is more common in workplaces that are perceived as political, defined as employees doing what is best for themselves and not the organization. In highly political environments, motives and actions are less clear so employees have to try and figure out why they are being targeted and how to respond. This mental fatigue saps energy and makes it difficult to control negative impulses. Other situations may also contribute to rude behavior such as workload, industry competitiveness, and whether employees have enough time to do their work. Even when employees want to be civil with their co-workers, rude behavior can make these employees lash out, as well.
Rude behavior qualifies as a performance problem. To help stop condescending behavior, the study’s authors suggest offering staff clear feedback on acceptable behavior in either a formal or informal manner. For more information about dealing with this issue at your workplace, please contact us.
While the holidays can be a time of joy, celebration and connection with family and friends, it can also be a very stressful season. There is a lot of added pressure during this time of year, from social obligations and expectations, to worries about finances and strained family relationships. If you are having difficulties coping with holiday stress, the following are some tips from WebMD.
Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.
If you will be alone for the holidays or feel depressed, stessed or anxious, it might be a good time to seek professional help. Here are some resources for assistance and if you are interested in providing an Employee Assistance Program, we can definitely help your employees who are having difficulty this time of year.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
Veterans Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
If your company does drug testing and one of your employees tests positive, it is important to know how to proceed.
First, you should follow your drug testing policy. Do you have a pre-employment policy? Do you have a “zero tolerance” policy, which means you would terminate the employee immediately? Do you offer a “last chance agreement”? Does your policy allow you to rehire the employee after a period of time once he has been terminated under zero tolerance? There are many things to consider when deciding how to handle drug use in your workplace.
As an employee assistance provider with over 20 years of experience working with employers, employees and drug testing programs, we strongly recommend the following:
If you are thinking about starting a drug testing program or engaging the services of an EAP, we can offer affordable, professional services for companies of any size. Contact us for more information. at 425-557-0907.
A co-worker stays late every day even where this nothing to do, a sales associate appears tired and distracted, a manager offers to travel frequently to get out of town. These employees may all be experiencing domestic violence- which is physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse by an intimate partner. While domestic violence is a criminal issue- we know that almost one in 3 homicide victims is killed by an intimate partner; it is also a social, health and business issue. Domestic violence leads to reduced productivity, increases absenteeism and increases health care costs. Unless employers are trained to understand it and look for it, domestic violence in the workplace will generally go unnoticed. Some employers are also reluctant to get involved. They may think it is a personal issue, fear retaliation from the offender, or feel ill equipped to handle the situation.
Nearly a quarter of employed women have reported that domestic violence has impacted their work performance at some point in their lives. This is a staggering statistic! This means that chances are right now, in your workplace, there are people who are experiencing violence in their intimate relationships and you are probably not aware of it. In the U.S. 24 percent of adult women and 14 percent of adult men have been assaulted buy a partner at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of injury in women ages 18-44. Domestic violence leads to chronic disease. Abused women are 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 80 percent are more likely to experience a stroke and 60 percent are more likely to develop asthma.
Domestic violence costs $8.3 billion in annual expenses- a combination of higher medical costs ($5.8 billion) and lost productivity ($2.5 billion). Addressing this issue could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars. As long as the symptoms and consequences of domestic abuse go undetected, nothing changes.
Since employees spend the majority of their waking hours at work, employers are ideally suited to recognize the symptoms of domestic violence and intervene. Providing assistance and support should be a requirement of the responsibility of all employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace. In addition, employers need to ensure that domestic violence doesn’t spill into the workplace where a violent partner could seek to harm the victim or co-workers at work. Employers can take action by raising awareness, training managers and supervisors to recognize symptoms and behaviors in victims. They can provide resources and support as part of the company’s requirement to maintain a safe work environment. Information about domestic violence and resources for help should be posted in common areas and shared at every employee orientation. Domestic violence is a complex issue. Many times a victim will reconcile with the abuser many times, despite the help of others. It can be very difficult to leave an abusive relationship for many reasons including financial, fear of being killed, lack of support or resources or self esteem issues. Oftentimes, a victim is most at risk for harm after he or she leaves the relationship. Employers need to address this issue with respect and compassion, without judgment or the threat of job loss for coming forward.
The EAP can offer trainings about domestic violence awareness. Employers can assist employees with restraining orders, changing their work locations or schedule and a safety plan, as well as alerting co-workers if a victim’s partner should come to the workplace. Feel free to consult with the EAP about ways we can assist you with awareness, education and assistance for all employees who may be facing violence in their intimate relationships.
For more information visit nomore.org
Information for this blog was taken from the article “Domestic Violence the Secret Killer that Costs $8.3 Billion Annually” by Dr. Robert Pearl from Forbes.com Dec. 5, 2013
An EAP helps increase your bottom line while building morale, and support for employees and their managers.
According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, anxiety and depression rank among the top five reasons for absenteeism. The National Mental Health Association reports this problem costs American companies more than $200 billion each year. Stressors such as family problems and financial crises are often at the very core of these concerns. A high quality EAP can provide a multifaceted approach to improving the life of employees and by doing so, employers can save significant amounts of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, turnover and poor performance.
Fully Effective Employees provides the following employee assistance services:
There are a lot of companies that offer Employee Assistance services, so why choose Fully Effective Employees?
An Employee Assistance Program offers an excellent return on your investment.
Contact us for more information!
For every two homicides in the U.S there are three suicides and the majority occur within the working population, yet few employers address this public health issue. When an employee has a mental health crisis at work, it affects the financial and social functioning of the workplace.
The Carson J Spencer Foundation has created a model for suicide prevention to help workplaces develop strategies that address prevention, intervention and postvention.
These key strategies involve:
If you are concerned about an employee, call Fully Effective Employees for confidential assistance. If an employee makes a suicidal threat, it should be taken very seriously and a family member should be contacted or the employee should be taken to the nearest emergency room for an assessment.
For more information about these strategies, visit:
Source: Journal of Employee Assistance 3rd Qtr 2011
If an employee does commit suicide, it can have a profound impact on the workplace and it can be very helpful to utilize the EAP for consultation and support. We can provide a critical incident debriefing onsite to assist co-workers who were directly involved with the employee. The debriefing can help co-workers process their feelings and reactions to the news and to educate them about the normal symptoms they may be experiencing as part of their reaction to an abnormal event (trauma). There may be feelings of guilt for those that may have known the individual was suicidal. For others, it may surface unresolved loss or trauma in their own lives and even their own suicidal feelings.
Sometimes family members may not want the cause of death discussed at the workplace even though co-workers may be suspicious or know the cause. Employers may wish to set up a memorial fund, have a brief memorial or send a card to family members. This provides some closure to the surviving co-workers and reinforces the support of the employer.
It is extremely important that employers encourage employees to seek professional help for emotional problems without stigma or judgment and if they are approached by an employee who may be depressed or suicidal, that they maintain the utmost confidentiality. If you have questions about how the EAP can help with potentially suicidal employees or with the aftermath of a suicide at your workplace, please contact us.
Negativity is a habit. It is contagious and quite common in many workplaces and can easily become part of a company’s culture. Negativity can include gossiping, poor morale, badmouthing management or the company, lack of enthusisasm, bullying, harassment, and lack of loyalty to the employer. Restructuring a negative workplace can take years. Therefore, it is better to prevent negativity from occuring in the first place and when it does arise, recognize it and nip it in the bud.
According to Cheryl DeMarco http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cheryl_DeMarco, some business consequences of workplace negativity can be:
Errors and poor work quality
Increased employee turnover
Absence and tardiness
Loss of loyalty to the organization
Negativity has a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom line. It will also affect the worker, emotionally and physically and when employees work in a negative environment, it is hard not to take it home with them.
As a manager, be consciously aware of someone’s attitude when determining if you wish to hire them. Look for hints of negativity and if you pick it up, listen to your gut and don’t hire that person. Also, carefully listen for negativity when requesting references. If you have an employee who has become negative, react quickly. Meet with the employee and discuss your observations and concerns. Sometimes the reasons may be justifiied and you should acknowledge that and help find ways to resolve the cause, if possible. Help this person take responsibility for their negativity. Even if there are valid concerns for one’s feelings it is not appropriate to express them negatively at work. You may not be able to change someone’s point of view but you can influence behavior during work hours. Describe exactly what you expect. Tell the employee exactly what you have observed and how if has affected the company and co-workers. Help the employee replace negative behaviors with more positive ones. Negative behavior is a performance issue and it may be very approprate to refer the individual to the EAP as a management referral. When you use the EAP as a partner with management, you can monitor an employee’s motivation to improve and their progress, while staying out of the personal issues or details.
If the behavior has been ocurring within a group of employees, it would be advisable to consult with the EAP about how to handle the situation. Depending on what is happening and the causes for the negativity, it may be appropriate to meet with the group together or to meet with individuals separately.
Unfortunately, sometimes you will have no choice but to fire a really negative person. As a leader, you model by example and if you allow a negative or inappropriate employee to remain, it sets a bad tone. Be the change you want to see.
For information on preventing or dealing with negativity in your workplace and how the EAP can help, contact us at 425-557-0907.
Coaching your employees can be a very worthwhile venture. As company owners, managers and supervisors, we are often looking for ways to increase revenue and manage costs. Sometimes we overlook our greatest assets- our employees. In order to build loyalty and morale, employees must feel they are a valuable and important member of the organization in which they work. When employees and supervisors communicate well and work together towards the common goals of their organization, productivity and morale will improve and employees will be happier. Keeping long term, loyal employees is far more cost-effective than recruiting and retraining new employees who have replaced burnt out, unmotivated, unproductive employees. Well coached employees are creative forces who can be counted on to provide solutions their supervisors may not have considered. As an employer, you may want to consider training supervisors to coach their employees.
Supervisors can become good employee coaches by learning and engaging in the following:
1. Learn your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. This helps the coaching relationship create positive results.
2. Identify barriers to success. These barriers can be limitations such as a lack of resources or education, information, training, a positive attitude or more.
3. Determine what motivates your employees. There are many types of motivators and different things work for different people. Once understood, motivators become powerful tools for helping employees remain enthusiastic about learning and coping with chage. One of the the most important and overlooked motivator is good communication between the supervisor and employee. Employees appreciate knowing what is going on in their organization and having an open door policy with their supervisors.
4. Communicate your organization’s strategic direction and the company’s goals. Helping employees to understand the “bigger picture” is very beneficial to the coaching process.
5. Learn when it is appropriate to intervene with an employee when an error could create substantially negative consequences to the employee or the company as a whole. The supervisor must learn when to avoid a pattern of rescuing or jumping in too early which can undermine the employee but also when to step in.
Successful employee coaching helps employees understand goals and expectatons to that they may act instead of waiting for instruction. Because coached employees don’t have every solution dictated to them from above, they tend to take greater ownership of their work and demonstrate greater responsibility than employees who are not coached.
Coached employees are also better prepared to maximize their potential. With that, everyone wins.
This blog article was written from excerpts of an article written by Daniel Feerst, LiCSW,-CP www.workexcel.net
If you would like more information about how we coach managers and supervisors, please contact us at email@example.com
“Free” employee assistance programs have become more and more prevalent. EAPs are often included as part of other core services such as health insurance, disability carriers and even payroll companies. These providers and the employers and benefit brokers they market to rationalize “why not throw in a free EAP?” However, as a consumer of employee benefits, employers must understand what they are getting. First of all, nothing is really free- the cost of the EAP services are covered by the carrier and as a result, often the cost is embedded and passed onto the purchaser of these services. Second, do you know who your provider is and just what you are getting?
Ron Holman wrote an article titled “Free Employee Assistance Programs, You Get What You Pay For” in the California Broker back in 2003 as free EAP’s were just emerging. It appears as though “free” is here to stay. However, many of these providers offer very little. Holman wrote “When a company chooses to offer its employees a “Free” EAP, they may not be invested in who utilizes the plan since they are not paying for the EAP. However, one very important quality of the EAP is the ability to detect any patterns within the employee population regarding drug and alcohol use, personal problems, legal or financial problems and issues with childcare and eldercare and to identify any necessary assistance…. Because many “free EAPs” do not provide employers with utilization reports, company executives are not able to understand their employee’s needs.”
The more employees use the EAP, the more it costs the provider. Therefore most free EAPs are not motivated to promote and provide awareness of the program because it costs them. As a result, some employers don’t even know the name of their EAP company and rarely use it. Usually on site services, critical incident debriefing, management consultation and management referrals and case management are either not provided or rarely used. All of these services are essential elements of a high quallity EAP which are also required under the “Standards and Guidelines for EAPs” according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
Employee assistance programs that are offered as stand alone services are far more beneficial to employers. Many companies change their insurance providers frequently based on the most favorable rates they can obtain. If the EAP is included, it too will have to change which can be confusing and may discourage use by employees. If cases are managed for a long time then they will need to be transferred mid-stream to another provider that is unfamiliar with the case, which can be especially problematic for positive drug tests, management referrals and complex cases.
As an employer, you should be looking for a locally based EAP provider; one that knows the treatment facilities, the community resources and the nuances of your company. Your EAP provider should be able to assist you with the specific needs of your company and have regular contact with you. It should be able to provide trainings, management consultation, critical incident debriefings, assist with management referrals and drug testing policies. It should provide yearly utilization reports and assist you in promoting and increasing, rather than avoiding utilization of the program.
If you have a free EAP or one that is not meeting your needs, it may be time to evaluate what you need now. For more information contact Fully Effective Employees at 425-557-0907.