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.
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As our aging population grows, the number of working caregivers does as well. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are 10 million caregivers for those affected by this disease, and most of these caregivers are in the workforce, and this is for Alzheimer’s only! Many times during the workday, a caregiving employee may need to drop everything to deal with a loved one’s health crisis. A friend of mine has gotten 3 calls in the last month from the emergency room regarding her mother, each time she was at work and had to leave to address the emergency. Luckily she has a flexible job. We have talked about some things she can do to be more pro-active with her employer.
As an employer, the following are some things you can share with your employees;
1. Talk to your employer about the situation, familiarize yourself with company leave policies and state/federal laws for family leave. If appropriate also discuss with co-workers as oftentimes, your workload may fall to them in your absence.
2. Since you cannot predict a crisis, make sure that you are up-to-date on your assignments, maybe work longer hours in anticipation of leaving suddenly, and also communicate with your co-workers anything that will involve them.
3. Have medical and contact information at the ready. This will allow for smooth admissions and access to services.
4. Set boundaries! Know yours! Oftentimes, caregivers will take on more than they can handle. Overdoing it can leave caregivers feeling overwhelmed and quite honestly, not doing everything well.
5. Have backup plans- while some elderly parents may deteriorate quickly or require acute care due to a sudden serious illness or fall, others slwly decline and may need caregiving for a longer time. If so, it would be a good idea to have respite care, other family members or family friends who can share the work and information on nursing homes or other facilities if you can no longer do it on your own.
6. Take care of yourself- if you don’t you won’t be good to anyone. Be sure to balance your work and personal responsibilities. Take time to rest, exercise, eat well and do some enjoyable activities.
7. Seek profesional assistance if needed- sometimes the stress of caregiving, work and other family responsibilities can be too much. If you find yourself being irritable, depressed or not doing as well as you should, contact a professional counselor or the EAP for confidential assistance.
In addition to the above tips, the employee assistance program can be an invaluable help to your employees. The EAP can provide the needed emotional support, and assist with resources and referrals. If you don’t have it already, consider adding the Worklife Program to your EAP services. The additional program provides a well of information, resources, and referrals for all aspects of caregiving and dealing with ill or aging family members.
For more information about Fully Effective Employees or our services contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Many employers may see their Workers’ Compensation premiums increase for 2012. Fully Effective Employees, employee assistance program can help employers reduce their liability while preventing expensive claims and reducing the amount of time an employee is off work. Prevention is key- offering support to employees and awareness for employers of the causes of increased WC claims will go a long way to reduce costs. Behavioral risk factors including, attendance, performance issues, depression and drug and alcohol abuse are all known to be associated with workplace accidents, injuries and even fatalities.
The first step employers can take is to provide a drug testing program. Research shows that employees who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in on the job accidents and 5 times more likely to injure themselves or someone else. They are also five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim.
When employees are impaired, their judgment, response time and reflexes are also impaired. Letting all employees know that your company will be conducting pre-employment, random and post-accident drug testing will discourage drug users from working for you. Over the years, we have found that the companies with the highest compensation rates are the ones that don’t drug test. Obviously, more drug users work for companies that don’t drug test.
Next, employers should use their EAP to help all employees who test positive for drugs. The EAP can assess the client, refer him for treatment if indicated, and monitor his progress in treatment. The EAP will continue to provide support once treatment has been completed when he is at the greatest risk for relapse.
Employers could also refer all employees to the EAP when they are injured. The client can choose to confidentially discuss issues related to the injury, including relationship and communication issues with co-workers and family members. The EAP counselor can assess whether there are pre-existing issues or if the employee is at risk for malingering, depression, or drug abuse due to prescription medication or untreated substance abuse issues that occured prior to the claim. The EAP counselor can assist the employee with a return to work plan, preparing him or her for a change in job function or an adjustment to work as soon as possible. The result of working with the EAP is that injured employees may be more likely to return to work sooner and be less likely to abuse the WC benefits. The EAP would also provide follow up and support to the worker after he has returned to work.
The back to work plan is essential. Supervisors should be encouraged to avoid conflicts with employees via telephone or by email with injured workers. Research has shown that supervisor and co-worker conflicts figure prominently in increased injury recovery times and protracted absenteeism of injured workers. In addition, a zero tolerance policy should be implemented for harassing employees on light duty. If a medical doctor has approved an employee to return to work on light duty, co-workers should not be permitted to guilt, influence or intimidate a recovering worker to participate in unapproved work activities. (www.workexcel.net)
Our staff at Fully Effective Employees will meet with your company safety or human resources manager to discuss the role the EAP can play in helping you to prevent and reduce your WC claims. We can discuss your risk exposure, safety plans, training, and assist with a drug testing program. These services are all part of our program to provide both an employee and employer assistance program. Once you have implemented this plan, you should be able to provide evidence of your program to prevent and reduce WC claims ,which should result in lower rates for the following year. The added bonus is a safer workplace and healthier, happier or more loyal employees.
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:
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.
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!
Morneau 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:
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.
One of the Human Resource Managers I work with as an EAP provider, is a gifted author and a woman who is also a recovering alcoholic. Amy Hatvany’s new book, Best Kept Secret is being released on June 7, 2011. The book tells the story of Cadence, a recently separated mother of a five year old boy who struggles with a painful divorce and making ends meet. Cadence descends into alcoholism and loses custody of her son in the process. This book tells a heartbreaking story of a women’s alcoholism and path of recovery. For many alcoholics, giving up their painful secret is the first step towards recovery. I asked Ms. Hatvany the following questions:
1. What made you decide to write the book?
I began writing the story as a direct result of my own emotional experiences as a professional woman, mother and recovering alcoholic. While the characters and plot are fiction, Cadence’s emotional turmoil during her decent into addiction and her journey back toward sobriety are largely based on what I went through. As I worked on the emotional side of getting sober, it became clear to me that there is a special, intense kind of shame that accompanies being a woman who was drunk in front of her children. It’s that shame that forces so many of us to keep our addiction secret, for fear of what might happen if we tell someone the truth. We are terrified of the stigma and possible consequences, but keeping this secret, can have devastating – even deadly – results.
2. How does it relate to your own life and that of other professional women you know?
I think as women in our culture – whether or not we are mothers – we are certainly driven by perfectionism. We are told we can do it all, be it all, have it all. Of course, we can’t – at least, not “perfectly” – so I wanted to portray how as a result, many women experience profound levels of shame and self-loathing, even as we smile brightly and tell ourselves that we can’t expect to always be perfect at everything in our lives. But deep down, perhaps subconsciously, I think we still believe that we “should” be. So we reach for behaviors that drown our shame out, at least temporarily. And then we become ashamed of the behavior and the vicious cycle emerges. I’m not just talking about alcohol, here. Eating disorders, shopping, gambling, sex – even our careers can serve as an escape from the pressure.
3. How is alcoholism perceived in the workplace?
Unfortunately, I think it’s perceived the same way the world perceives it: as some kind of moral failing. I believe the key misconception is that the alcohol itself is the problem, when really, drinking is really just the symptom of much deeper physiological, and emotional issues. Simply stopping drinking is not going to resolve a person’s problems. There is a saying in recovery, that when you remove the alcohol from the alcoholic, you are left with”ick”. Certainly an alcoholic needs to heal from the physical side of addiction, but learning how to sift through the “ick” – negative thinking patterns, emotional reactivity, etc, – is the true work of recovery.
4. HR Managers deal with performance and personal issues with their employees every day. How does this impact an HR manager who may be going through her own issues?
I’d have to say that being in recovery has certainly made my job in HR easier! I used to be a bit of an emotional “sponge” but I have learned healthy ways to set boundaries and not absorb the chaos that can surround me on any given day in my job. I can’s speak for any other HR professional, but for me, I have gathered so many tools to manage my own performance or personal issues, and I’ve found that sharing some of these tools – which are universal, not recovery specific – has been greatly appreciated by many of the people I work with. I think in order to be an effective HR manager, I need to be aware of my own baggage, so I can hopefully keep it from coloring my interactions with employees. Of course, my generally cheery, positive outlook can irritate the heck out of people too, but it helps me immensely to understand their response is not about me.
5. What is the best way in your opinion for an employer to deal with an employee who is suspected of having an alcohol problem, from the recovered person’s perspective?
That’s a tough question, because as a professional, I know I need to manage it – from a performance level. Monitor the employee’s attendance patterns, lack of productivity, etc., and discipline as necessary. We all know the dangers of labelling anyone as an alcoholic, or even intimating that they might be one, so clearly, I don’t recommend that. But if an employee comes to you and communicates they are afraid they might have a problem with alcohol, I would certainly refer them to your EAP for help and guidance. I would let them know if your health plan covers treatment for substance abuse. I would recommend finding ways to educate your management team about the disease of alcoholism. But at the end of the day, if an employee refuses to seek help, and his or her performance continues to decline, sometimes the best thing to do is follow your progressive discipline procedures based on a well-documented case for not being able to perform their job, and terminate. Nursing an active alcoholic along, making concessions and exceptions and excuses doesn’t do them any favors. It only enables their disease to destroy them more quickly.
6. What message do you hope this book will leave your readers with?
Overall, I hope that women, especially, are able to see the similarities they share with Cadence, rather than the differences. I hope that the story widens the readers’ understanding and compassion, and perhaps makes them re-evaluate any preconceptions they might hold about women who suffer from alcoholism and mothers who don’t have primary custody of their children. I also hope that any woman in the throes of active addiction sees herself in Cadence’s story and finds the courage it takes to reach out for help.
For me, that’s the inherent beauty of books – each person will walk away with something different from a story. My hope as an author is that readers will find a need met perhaps one they weren’t aware they had to fill.
I highly recommend Best Kept Secret. It is a wonderfully well written and heart wrenching story that portrays the struggles that women alcoholics face, especially if they are also mothers.
To purchase a copy visit Amazon.com or www.amyhatvany.com
During the dot.com boom of the mid-90’s, companies were growing so quickly, they couldn’t hire enough people fast enough. In order to recruit and retain good employees who were required to work long hours, they would provide as many perks as they could. The most popular perk was free alcohol provided on company time. Many companies would host happy hour Fridays or allow employees to drink at work after 4 pm. Some employers provided kegs and beer fridges and allowed employees free access to alcohol while at work. As the dot.com boom became a bust, most companies began to tighten their wallets which resulted in the bar being closed at most workplaces.
While the economy is still very slow to recover and recruiters can take their pick of candidates, there appears to be a resurgance of alcohol being provided freely in the workplace. An article in the Seattle Times last month, featured tech companies like Yelp, providing beer kegs and beer fridges. These employers rationalize that they are growing, vibrant companies with a young workforce. Their employees are required to work long hours, sometimes well into the evening so they want them to feel at home at work. While they don’t actively monitor how much an individual drinks, some companies use an ipad app that logs every ounce they drink.
As an employee assistance counselor, I see serious problems when employers provide alcohol to their employees on company time on company property, for a number of reasons. The first concern is employer liability. If an employee drives from their place of employment while intoxicated, the employer may be liable. When employees drink, their inhibitions are reduced, so they will say and do things they may never do while not under the influence. These behaviors may lead to sexual harassment or discrimination claims from other co-workers and again, the employer may be liable. Women are at greater risk for sexual harassment at offices where heavy drinking is the norm, according to a 2004 Cornell University study. The report, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism, found harassment incidents increased more than twofold for each additional alcoholic beverage consumed by male co-workers.
The second liability concern for employers is underage drinking. Some employers hire individuals who are under the legal drinking age but if others are drinking, it can be hard on the under age employee to fit in with the company culture. Unless employers are carding all employees before allowing them to drink at work, they cannot be sure they are not serving alcohol to minors.
The third concern is that when a person drinks alcohol, their judgment and productivity will be impaired. An employer cannot determine impairment based on how many drinks a person has had. Women and men metabolize alcohol differently and other factors include a person’s size and body weight and how much they have eaten. How productive can someone be if they have had two or three beers?
Finally, alcoholism is a major social and health concern in our society. Some employees cannot drink in moderation or control themselves after drinking. 10 percent of American adults are alcoholics. For these people, it is a struggle to face every day without alcohol and often the 8 hours a day they spend at work is the easiest part of their day to get though. If alcohol is served at work too, then they are constantly faced with the temptation to drink at work as well. Before employers decide to provide alcohol to their employees, they should consider the legal and social ramifications.
There are many other perks that make better business sense. Examples are concierge services that make things easier on employees who work long hours, wellness and worklife services to help employees balance work and family and employee assistance services.
For information on how you can provide personalized, professional EAP services, call Fully Effective Employees at 425-454-3003 or 1-800-648-5834.
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 email@example.com
We are very excited to offer a variety of new services to our Employee Assistance Program for 2011. I will describe each new service in a separate blog.
Our Worklife Program is now enhanced and we are renaming it Work-Life Solutions. This program provides resources and referrals for every stage of someone’s life, from birth to death and all the life events in between. Now more than ever, employees are finding they are stressed with financial worries, increasing demands from their jobs, pressure to balance work and family, and coping with dependent children and aging parents. Our program can help address employees’ personal and work/life needs including:
* Balancing Work & Family
* Resources and Referrals
* Child and Elder Care needs
* Adoption Services
* Health & Wellness
* Academic Searches
* Disaster Recovery & Relief
* Interactive Tools and Videos
* Training and Calculators
We now also offer coaching to help clients cope and plan for life events such as job changes, new parenting, dealing with aging parents and retirement. Our program will help clients think more strategically and plan for the future with realistic goals and help them to manage their personal lives while attending to loved ones’ care needs.
The program also includes an online wellness program with dozens of health risk assessments, articles, videos and information about many diseases and health related issues. Individuals can assess themselves for the risk of various health concerns and then put a plan into action to take care of themselves.
Essentials of daily life management provides over 200 interactive tools, quizzes, videos and articles on mental health topics and personal growth and training.
We have a searchable database of over 800,000 national child and eldercare providers.
Our Work-life Solutions program can help build a more productive work environment by:
* Assisting employees to successfully balance their work and family responsibilities
* Decreasing employee absenteesim due to child and eldercare responsibilities
* Increasing job satisfaction by decreasing the pressure of working while trying to locate and manage dependent care issues.
* Saving employers money due to lower health insurance claims when employees have access to a health and wellness program for both emotional and physical health.
This program is available as a stand alone product and does not have to be part of the Employee Assistance Program.
For more information about our very affordable Work-Life Solutions program, please call us at 425-557-0907 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org