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Executives

19
Dec

Reasons to Have an Employee Assistance Program

The primary purpose of an Employee Assistance Program is to maximize employee productivity while helping employees face life obstacles that can interfere with your business.  j0405586

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!

20
Jan

EAP’s Help Reduce Absenteeism

All employers know that employee absenteeism is a big problem. It reduces productivity, morale and the company bottom line.  The ever present challenge is how employers can prevent and reduce absenteeism. CCH, a leading provider of human resources and employment law information (hr.cch.com) conducted an unscheduled absence survey in 2005  and found that the  average per employee cost of absenteeism is $660 with some larger companies losing more than $1 million per year.  What is of great concern to employers is that almost two out of three employees who call in sick are not physically sick. Personal illness accounted for only 35 percent of unscheduled absences and 65% were due to other reasons including family issues (21 percent), personal needs (18 percent) entitlement mentality (14 percent) and stress (12 percent).

Companies with low morale saw higher rates and costs of unscheduled absences. 78% of human resource managers feel that the main cause of absenteeism is the belief that those who skip out of work believe they are entitled to time off.  The other reason cited by human resource managers is  a lack of supervisor involvement as a catalyst to discourage employee absenteeism. When managers understand the causes of absenteeism and use the EAP as a resource for assisting employees, they can play a big role in reducing absenteeism.

When employees are faced with stressful everyday life situations, it has an impact on their ability to be present in their jobs. Stressful situations include family and relationship problems, physical illness, addictions,  financial difficulties including foreclosure, bankruptcy, identity theft, debt and unemployment by a spouse. If employees have a confidential, employer sponsored way (the EAP) to obtain assistance with these difficulties, they are more likely to address their problems earlier and resolve them quicker. Additional worklife and wellness programs as part of the EAP can be very helpful for employees trying to manage the stress of balancing work and family issues.

The EAP can also train managers on how to recognize and identify personal problems before they have begun to effect performance. When managers can coach employees on how to use the EAP, they stay out of the middle of their personal problems, while still offering a way to get help. Once personal problems have begun to effect performance or absenteeism, they can refer the employee to the EAP as a supervisor referral for peformance based issues.  In addition, when employees know they are valued and given a free, confidential resource to address their personal problems, they feel appreciated by and more loyal to their employer.

Employers should also create incentive programs that  can improve both attitude and attendance rates. This works for several reasons. Some employees may lack the internal motivation necessary to keep their spirits up and give them the drive and desire to show up to work every day. These people may need the external motivation that incentives provide.

Additionally, incentives tend to promote certain goals, which can be beneficial for employees with attendance problems. The company can create an incentive program that is specifically linked to attendance. Examples of this type of program include:

1) The ability to cash-in unused sick days at the end of a specific period

2) Allowing employees to leave early one Friday per month of perfect attendance

3) Bonus pay for periods of perfect attendance

4) Gifts such as savings bonds or gift cards for periods of perfect attendance

5) Paid time off programs which allow for personal issues, vacation and sick time all in one bank of hours so employees can use what they need when needed.

Of course employers do need to be clear with employees that if they are legitimately sick, they should stay home so that no one else at work gets sick and so they can take the time they need to get better.  When the workplace culture is one that does not allow people to be ill, then it will create resentment and poor morale.

Do you have any good suggestions for preventing absenteeism? If so, we would love to hear your ideas.

Fully Effective Employees offers assistance with drug testing, management training and consultation, and confidential assistance to employees and their families with personal and work related problems.

23
Sep

Employee Engagement and Retention

I attended an HR Roundtable sponsored by Resourcefulhr in Seattle today.  A group of HR professionals met to discuss challenges and ideas for enagaging and retaining employees.

The major topics that we discussed included:

  • Finding certain specialized talent in the high tech fields where the larger companies are able to entice employees with large salaries, benefits and the prestige of the big name corporations.
  • Retaining employees in companies where the hourly salary is very low due to economic constraints.
  • Engaging employees and keeping them loyal and happy.
  • Dealing with generational differences including things like social media, work ethic, expectations and more.
  • Work life balance.

Research has shown that unless the salary is very low, financial incentives are not always the way to reach the hearts and minds of employees.  Appreciation, acknowledgement, and recognition will go a long way towards keeping employees motivated to perform. A sense of belonging to the community in which they work, feeling valued and supported by their employer are important to keep employees loyal to. Low- cost benefits like health club membership discounts, wellness and worklife programs and employee assistance programs can be implemented for a great return on investment.

The members of the roundtable discussion offered some great ideas that worked for their workplaces. Some of these included:

  • Hosting a community garden which provided a place for employees to plant, tend, weed and water flowers and vegetables and then reap the rewards of the garden by picking flowers for the workplace or making a salad with the fresh picked vegetables.
  • A monthly theme such as wellness or “stress less”, where speakers, massage therapists and other professionals were brought in to assist with the theme and provide benefits for employees.
  • A “Rock Star” program where decorated rocks with positive sayings would be passed to deserving employees who were nominated for certain acts of kindness, good performance or when they were going through a tough time.
  • A book club meeting weekly to read and discuss books relevant to the workplace or personal interests.
  • Webinar trainings or onsite trainings on new technologies such as Linked in, Facebook and Twitter, for the older generations to help bridge the generational gap.
  • Social media policies to clarify the use and time spent on social media in the workplace.
  • Nominating employees for exceeding performance, helping others, etc and then entering the nomination into a monthly drawing for a prize.
  • Host meetings to listen and hear employee concerns and to solicit ideas for improvement, change, etc.

All of these are fabulous ideas for keeping employees engaged. We all know the cost of recruitng and retraining new employees, so we need to be sure we keep our current employees happy.

Do you have any other ideas to contribute to this list?  We would love to hear from you!

 

16
Aug

Why Should a Small Business Have an EAP?

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 audreyr@fee-eap.com

11
Aug

Personal Skills for Professional Success

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

 

 

1
Aug

Employee Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

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”
drug test?

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.

 

 

9
Jul

Employee Assistance Programs Lead to Healthier, More Productive Employees

EmployeesMorneau Shepell, the largest Employee Assistance firm in Canada, released a new study that said that intervention through employee assistance programs leads to improved employee mental health and higher productivity, as well as a reduction of 25 percent in costs due to lost productivity.

The study collected data to measure four specific outcomes: general health status, mental health status, productivity, and absenteeism.  Here are some of its findings:

  • Employees rated their mental status 15 percent higher after receiving EAP support.
  • EAP intervention resulted in a 34 percent reduction in costs related to lost productivity.
  • Before EAP intervention, decreased productivity and absence was costing organizations almost $20,000 per employee per year.

75 percent of North American businesses have an employee assistance program and they are a key component of employee benefit plans.  The Morneau Shepell study made two key recommendations:

1. Organizations should develop a more strategic partnership with their EAP provider as a first step in reallizing the return on investment.  The provider can recommend strategies to optimize the use of the EAP as a preventative measure with the objective of saving costs on the bottom line and using the EAP to support the organization’s health priorities.

2. Organizations should consider a strategic approach to absence management, cost management and strategies related to employee engagement and retention.

For more information about this study go to http://bit.ly/kZ2Xx1

While 75 percent of employers may have an EAP, all programs are not alike.  Employers should investigate their vendors to be sure they are meeting the needs of their company. The company contact or HR representative should have a good relationship with their EAP provider, with the ability to consult or to seek management assistance on a range of personnel issues.

Your EAP should be your partner in assisting with your employees’ emotional health.  The more the employee assistance program is supported by management and  promoted and marketed to employees, the more it will be used.

Healthy, happy and engaged employees will save their employers thousands in lost productivity,  morale issues, performance problems and health insurance claims.   Employees who feel supported by their employer will be loyal in both good and bad economic times.

17
Mar

Workplace Wellness

National Workplace Wellness Week is April 5-11, 2011. It’s a good time for employers to assess the health of their workforce and make plans to improve it. “Workplace wellness programs are critical to improving employee health, increasing productivity, reducing absenteeism and lowering health care costs,” says Dr. Craig Thorne, spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

Medical research reports that 145 million American adults are overweight and 74 million are obese, making more than a third of the working-age population at risk for chronic illness. Obesity-related health conditions cost employers about $30 billion per year, according to some studies.

Wednesday has been marked as “Walking Day,” and the groups are encouraging employers to take advantage of free wellness programs, such as Start! and National Start! Walking Day. The programs push employees to walk before, during and after work.

“Getting your employees to walk briskly for just 30 minutes a day can help lower chronic disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure,” says Thorne. “Educating them about basic cardiovascular disease prevention and developing health education programs that focus on lifestyle behavior change is a huge investment that will increase any company’s bottom line,” he adds.

Companies that create opportunities for employees to improve their health while on the job create a culture of wellness that unltimtely generates the best results. Employers who promote and support wellness, tend to have successful programs. While it is difficult to measure a wellness program stictly on the bottom line but it can be evaluated by the cost of health care and absenteeism. Some employers are finding that a successful program can allow them to move to a high-deductible health insurance plan which can significantly cut their annual health premiums. Under these plans, employers can help pay the deductibles and still save money. Some companies allow employees to earn points for participating in healthy activities which can be used to reduce their share in annual health insurance costs.

The Healthy Workforce Act (S.803/H.R.1897) is a bill to improve the health of America’s workforce which would provide a tax credit to businesses to supprt comprehensive workplace wellness programs. It would provide employers with the means to implement evidence-based strategies for improving the health of workers by addressing causes of chronic disease including obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use.

If you would like to implement a wellness program for your company, we have a very low cost on-line program or a very comprehensive program tailored to fit your company’s needs.
Contact us at audreyr@fee-eap.com

11
Feb

HR Consulting Partnership

For years, employee assistance programs have been a partner of human resource professionals and our roles often overlap. We have seen an increasing need for smaller businesses to obtain professional human resource assistance.
State and Federal employment laws, with more legislation coming down the line, can make dealing with employee issues seem daunting. The exposure for employment lawsuits has never been higher, but this risk can be managed with sound Human Resource structure, forms and policies.
Many of our companies have grown from small family owned businesses or start ups and they are now finding the need to develop policies and procedures for dealing with the range of personnel issues from discipline to accomodation. Employers may turn to their company attorney who may not have HR expertise or who may be charging a very high hourly fee to write an employee handbook or to address their human resources questions or concerns. We have found a perfect solution for our clients who may need the services of a professional human resouce manager but may not have the need or budget for a full time HR generalist.
Fully Effective Employees has partnered with JB Consulting Systems, a Human Resource Consulting Firm that provides education, training, and assistance to companies with 1-250 employees.
Together, we offer packages designed to assist small business owners with forms, policies and consulting to fit your budget.
JB Consulting Systems is owned by Juli Bacon, an HR professional with over 18 years of experience in organizational development, creating and executing training plans, policy and procerdure development.
Services may include:
* Consultation and counseling on a variery if Human Resource issues
* Anti-harassment and discrimination training
* Employee performance documentation and evaluation
* Employee handbooks
* Consulting on disciplinary issues
* State and Federal regulatory compliance
* Benefits package review and management
* Drug Free Workplace consulting
For more information about our HR Consulting and Employee Assistance Program, email audrey at audreyr@fee-eap.com or contact us at 425-557-0907.

15
Dec

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is more prevalent that we might think. Despite all of the anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, bullying still exists. Workplace bullying is a silent epidemic that creates significant risk management for employees, management and company owners. Employers who fail to adopt policies and practices related to buyllying, may be facing potential litigation when behavior crosses the line and employees become targets. However, it is even more shocking when harassment occurs within Human Resources, the one department that most employers expect to act as an example for other departments. In Washington State, an example of this hit home this week when the of Washington State Department of Transportation HR Director was fired for workplace bullying. Evidence showed that there were previous allegations, lawsuites and settlements against this Human Resource Director.
To watch a short video, click the link below to see the details of this story.
State WSDOT HR Director fired for being a bully.
For assistance with policies, consultation about situations and learning more about how your company can erradicate workplace bullying, contact the Workplace Bullying Institute at workplacebullying.org