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Blog - Fully Effective Employees

16
Jun

How Employers are Managing Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Close photo of prescription bottle for Oxycodone tablets and pills on wooden table for opioid epidemic illustrationThe opioid epidemic has arrived at work with employers evolving their benefits offerings to help fight prescription drug abuse in the workplace, according to a new survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Benefits: 2016 Survey Results reports that one in four employers (26%) have conducted a prescription drug claims analysis to identify possible abuse, and nearly that many (24%) are considering a claims analysis.

Employers are supporting workers who are dealing with substance abuse by providing a number of treatment options. Of organizations providing substance abuse treatment benefits, 89% cover outpatient in-person treatment sessions, and 85% include inpatient hospital or clinic treatment. Other commonly provided options include prescription drug therapies (67%), inpatient residential treatment centers (67%), outpatient telemedicine treatment services (55%) and referrals to community services (41%).

A third of employers (33%) say that prescription drug addiction is at least somewhat prevalent among their workforce and the majority (67%) believe that substance abuse challenges are greater now than five years ago.

If your company is experiencing problems with employee substance abuse, please call the EAP for help and guidance.

From the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

30
May

Fully Effective Employees: Our Services

Fully Effective Employees: Our Services

Do you have an employee coming to work with alcohol on her breath? Or another with marital problems affecting his work performance? What about an employee who you suspect is coming to work under the influence of drugs?

If you want your employees to be effective, engaged and productive, then you need Fully Effective Employees – an experienced, personalized employee assistance program.

Fully Effective Employees meets the needs of a variety of personal and work-related problems facing today’s employees. Our excellent reputation as a low-cost, service oriented program offers you both excellent value and the highest level of service in the employee assistance market.

In business since 1976, Fully Effective Employees has been saving companies money by helping to reduce absenteeism and turnover by increasing productivity. Our low-cost program includes a thorough assessment of each client, referral to appropriate resources if needed and follow up and case management for up to two years.

We have counselors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and who are accessible from anywhere through our toll-free number. Our staff counselors have expertise in the field of chemical dependency, which allows us to assist both employers and employees in early identification and referral of drug and alcohol problems as well as working with company drug testing programs.

We are also experts in providing consultation, coaching and training to company management and ownership as well as employee trainings.

Call us to find out how we can provide personalized services tailored to meet the unique needs of your company and help your employees become fully effective.

17
May

Discussing Politics in the Workplace

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.

27
Apr

Rude Behavior in Workplace is Contagious

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.

7
Dec

Handling Holiday Stress

holiday-stressWhile 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.

  • Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.
  • Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.
  • Share the tasks. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Share your “to do” list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.
  • Learn to say no. It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you do want to attend.
  • Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it’s a holiday, family problems don’t go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it’s okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.

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

14
Nov

An Employee Tested Positive for Drugs- Now What?

banner_22If 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:

  1. If you have a pre-employment policy, it is designed to rule out anyone who cannot stay off drugs long enough to test clean before they are hired. It does not ensure your new employee does not use drugs. It does however, tend to reduce the number of serious drug users or long –term marijuana users. This is why you definitely should use pre-employment drug testing and just don’t hire someone who tests positive! If someone knows they are being tested for drugs and tests positive anyway, why would you ever want to hire that person? Believe it or not, many companies still hire these people and then refer them to the employee assistance program under a Last Chance Agreement. We recommend that you NEVER hire someone who tests positive under a pre-employment test. Time and again, we have seen multiple problems arise with these folks.
  2. If you do have a zero tolerance policy, meaning you terminate if the employee tests positive, we do not believe you should rehire the employee after any period of time. Without proof that the employee has been abstaining from drugs, he may be able to test clean on a pre-employment test but will likely not remain clean through his employment at your company. It is just too much of a risk.
  3. If you do have a Last Chance Agreement, suspend the employee until he tests clean and has been assessed for chemical dependency and the need for treatment, and has followed through with that treatment. Once he has returned to work he needs to sign an agreement that he understands that if he tests positive again, he will be terminated. We recommend that you employ the services of an employee assistance program with expertise in working with drug testing programs. The EAP can help with a drug and alcohol screening, refer employees for an assessment to determine the need for treatment, and ensure the employee is following through with all recommendations. The involvement of the EAP keeps you out of the employee’s personal life and treatment process. It saves time and resources so you can be left to run the company while leaving the alcohol and drug treatment to the professionals. It also keeps things cut and dry- the employee knows the expectations and makes a choice as to whether to follow them or no longer be employed with your company. The EAP can help ensure long term compliance and sobriety by providing regular follow up and support to your employee. This creates a win-win for everyone. You retain a good employee which saves your company money, prevents accidents, and increases safety, thereby increasing your bottom line. The employee gets the help he needs to return to maximum productivity, keeps his job, and has the ability to live his life free from the grip of drugs.

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.

 

30
Dec

Domestic Violence: The Secret in Your Workplace

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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

 

19
Dec

Reasons to Have an Employee Assistance Program

j0405586The primary purpose of an Employee Assistance Program is to maximize employee productivity while helping employees face life obstacles that can interfere with your business.

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:

  • Comprehensive assessment of an employee or family’s member’s presenting problem
  • A referrals to reputable mental health and substance abuse resources
  • Brief, short term assistance with problem resolution
  • 24/7 telephone access to professional counselors
  • Legal assistance and referrals
  • Financial counseling and resources for debt management and financial concerns
  • Wellness coaching and programs for disease prevention and management, smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss, nutrition and stress management
  • Worklife services including referrals for eldercare, childcare, dependent care and pet care and referrals to community resources for social services
  • Extensive website with self-assessments, resources, articles and more
  • Webinars on a variety of social/emotional topics
  • Online interactive trainings with printable certificates of completion
  • Onsite brown bag trainings
  • Assistance with drug free workplaces
  • Employer assistance program- coaching and training on dealing with problem employees
  • Critical incident debriefing
  • HR consulting services and small business HR programs

There are a lot of companies that offer Employee Assistance services, so why choose Fully Effective Employees?

  • We have been providing EAP services to a variety of businesses since 1976.
  • In-house EAP trained professional counselors have been with the company an average of 13 years.
  • Expertise with small businesses, drug testing programs, training and HR issue
  • Personalized services tailored to meet the unique needs of your company.
  • Available for very small businesses
  • A local, Puget Sound based company with the capacity to work with national and international clients with an affiliate network of over 50,000 counselors.
  • Personalized, professional services tailored to meet your company’s unique needs.

An Employee Assistance Program offers an excellent return on your investment.

Contact us for more information!

17
Jun

Preventing & Coping With Employee Suicide

Stressed BusinesswomanFor 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:

  • Vocal and visible leadership that can emphasize the importance of suicide prevention while modeling mental wellness and self-care;
  • Policies and procedures that promote a mentally healthy workforce- including fair and compassionate reintegration policies, life skills promotion, and a culture of belonging.
  •  Suicide prevention training for the workforce that help employers  to identify warning signs and risk factors; to know how to ask about suicide; and to confidently refer high risk people to the appropriate resources.
  • Screening the workforce for early signs of depression and other mental health conditions, so that these illnesses do not become life threatening.
  • Access to quality mental health services to ensure that those who need help receive appropriate highly qualified care with few obstacles.
  • Means restriction that place barriers between high risk people and lethal means of suicide (e.g restricting high roof access on tall office buildings, securing lethal chemicals, etc)
  • Crisis response and longterm postvention that seeks to stabilize a grieving and traumatized workforce and to honor bereavement needs.

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:

www.carsonjspencer.org

www.suicidepreventionhotline.org

www.save.org

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.

16
May

Combating Workplace Negativity

Businessman Looking Suspiciously Over His ShoulderNegativity 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:

Customer complaints

Errors and poor work quality

Increased employee turnover

Absence and tardiness

Pesonality conflicts

Poor morale

Loss of loyalty to the organization

Decreased creativity

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.