If you are a current employee client: 1-800-648-5834 | 425-454-3003

Worklife

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!

12
Apr

Ten Reasons to Have an Employee Assistance Program

Most employers retain the services of an Employee Assistance Program to help employees and their families with personal and work related problems. If employees function well at work, they contribute to the well being of an organization as a whole.  Most EAP’s help with a wide range of problems including stress, depression, anxiety, family or relationship difficulties, work issues, financial, legal, worklife, work problems and more.  An EAP can be highly effective at reducing employee problems and increasing the bottom line.  However, there are many choices in the EAP market and like all services, it is important to understand what you need and what you are receiving from your current or potential vendor. The following is a list of the top ten reasons to have an EAP:

1. Increase productivity

When employees are faced with personal problems, their concentration, focus and motivation are all negatively impacted so an EAP can help them deal with these issues which will improve productivity. An EAP reduces absenteeism, accidents and turnover, thereby making employees more productive.

2. Reduce Company Costs

Employee problems are costly.  Troubled employees take more sick days, have more accidents, and make more health insurance claims. When employees suffer emotionally, their work and productivity also suffer.  An EAP will improve work peformance and help increase the bottom line.

3. Confidentiality

When a third party company provides EAP services,  employees are more likely to seek help, when they know their employer is not privy to their confidential personal information. Employers are not put in the position of assisting employees with personal problems when they are not trained or equipped to do so. They are able to manage people but not their problems.

4. Aids in the Recruitment and Rentention of Valued Employees

An EAP is a value-added benefit for employees and their families which provides confidential access to counseling and resources they might not otherwise have. It builds morale and loyalty when employees know their employer supports their physical and emotional well being.

5. Resolution of Work Related Problems

EAP’s help employees deal with personal problems that have begun to affect work peformance which will hopefully prevent termination and get the employee back on track. The EAP can also help the employee  to develop skills to deal with work related stress and problematic work relationships.

6. Assistance in Getting the Right Help

When left to their own devices, employees may be confused or overwhelmed about how to access services, treatment or counseling in their own community or may not even know where to turn.  The EAP counselors sort out the issues and assist with appropriate referrals and resources for ongoing support and problem resolution.

7.  Management Assistance

Managers and supervisors may need help confronting and dealing with problematic employees or workplace situations. The EAP provides management training, coaching and consultation. The EAP can also assist with drug testing, harassment and potential workplace violence.

8. Drug Testing Programs

The EAP can assist employers with their drug testing programs by providing assessments, referrals, case management and assistance with Return to Work Agreements when employees test positive for drugs at work. Drug testing prevents serious accidents, injuries and fatalities and the EAP can help employees get back on track without losing their jobs.

9. Training

The EAP can provide online and onsite training to employees and supervisors on a range of topics. Training also increases awareness of the EAP. Most EAP’s also provide critical incident debriefings after a traumatic event has occured at the worksite.

10. Resourcs and Referrals

The EAP can be a wealth of information for employers, employees and their families. Not only can the EAP counselors assist with the pyschological well being of employees, they can also assist with legal issues, childcare and eldercare referrals, treatment programs, community resources, human resource assistance and much more.

For information on how Fully Effective Employees can help your company, contact us at audreyr@fee-eap.com

 

 

 

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.

25
Aug

Prepare Your Employees and Your Workplace for a Disaster

Since it is hurricane season, we thought this article might be timely.
Barely a day goes by when the news isn’t covering a horrific national or local disaster. Survivors are interviewed looking for loved ones, possessions and shelter. Some things can be learned from their experiences, such as a disaster can strike suddenly and without warning and what a person can do to prepare in advance. Below are some steps you can follow to prepare your company for a disaster:

Determine what kind of disasters are common to your area from the local Red Cross. For example if you live in Alaska, you don’t have to worry about hurricanes but you should be ready for an earthquake. In the Northwest, we should all be prepared for an earthquake, especially after seeing the devasting and catastrophic effects of the earthquake in Japan.
Designate an out of state partner or branch company you can use to deseminate information to family members, clients or customers about your status.
Be sure employees know where fire extingushers are and how to use them if you don’t have an overhead sprinkler system.
Have an evacuation plan and assign a company individual to bereponsible for the plan and it’s a good idea to conduct a drill ocassionally so everyone is aware of the plan and procedures.
Stock emergency supplies, water and a first aid kit; enough for all employees for at least two days. Replace these items before the expiration date.
Have employees bring in extra medications, foods they eat, eye glasses or extra contact lenses and and a warm sweater and pair of gloves.
Have members of your company learn first aid and CPR.
Be aware that some individuals may be very traumatized especially if they have experienced a previous traumatic event or if they lose their homes or loved ones.
After a disaster, employers can provide critical incident debriefings conducted by the EAP. Some companies will provide meals and other services to employees in the short term to help them recover and get back on their feet.
The EAP can be a helpful resource both before and after a disaster. Preparation is key!

 

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.

12
Apr

Drinking at Work

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.

24
Jan

New Year, New Services- Enhanced Worklife Program

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 audreyr@fee-eap.com

16
Jun

Calls Rise to Employee Assistance Programs

An article in our local paper, The Seattle Times, last Sunday caught my attention because it isn’t often that I see articles about Employee Assistance. The author, Michelle Goodman wrote: “Calls Rise to Employee Assistance Programs”. She quotes Harris Rothenberg International (HRI) a national recruiting and EAP consulting firm’s study that reported calls to the EAP rose 14% from 2008 to 2009 and they continue to rise. In 2009, the number of emergency calls to EAP hotlines rose a whopping 75%. According to HRI, this means that despite workers’ through the roof stress levels, “they are delaying calling for help until they reach a crisis stage.”
The number of workers who took advantage of the legal or financial services offered by their employers skyrocketed from 2008-2009. Requests for foreclosure support rose by 137 percent, help with mortgage issues by 95 percent and assistance with bankruptcy issues by 75 percent.
At Fully Effective Employees, we continually remind employers to refer employees who are stressed and troubled to the EAP for confidential assistance. Early intervention is the key- employees should contact the EAP sooner, before waiting until a crisis point, when problems are more manageable. In the past, employees would call us with one issue, such as a marital problem, now we are seeing employees calling with three or four significant issues.
Program promotion by employers is very important because sometimes employees don’t even know our program exists or they don’t think to call us. In addition to providing assistance with personal, relationship, family, emotional, work and addiction issues, we also have comprehensive worklife and legal and financial assistance programs. Our financial and legal program has been expanded to include assistance with bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt consolidation and credit counseling, identity theft and more. It also includes a comprehensive website with hundreds of articles and “do it yourself forms”. Speaking of program promotion, we can also assist employers with setting up a benefits fair. If it is too difficult to have employees participate in on-site trainings, we can help invite vendors to a benefits fair where employees can learn about all the benefits and services you offer them and to help them learn more about our employee assistance program.
Now that the economy is showing signs of improving, employers are beginning to increase the range of benefits offered to employees. Super-stressed, unhappy employees are also unproductive employees. Offering the EAP makes good business sense.

15
Apr

Undercover Boss

I recently started watching the CBS reality series Undercover Boss.  If you haven’t seen this show, I would highly recommend it. The premise is that CEO’s of major corporations go “undercover”, acting as participants being filmed for training and informational videos. The CEO’s participate in the operations of the company, doing everything from shipping and receiving, to acting as call center agents or digging ditches.  The executives undergo this week of “undercover” work so they can learn more about how to improve their companies and the work environment. 

The CEO’s learn about the company from various employees’ perspectives.  Obviously, there is a Hollywood component as the chosen employees  that  coach or train the “new trainee”  all have personal stories that add a touching emotional component to the program.  At the end of the episode, the CEO does something to help those individuals such as paying off a loan, finding them childcare or making donations on their behalf.  However, the show does emphasize how little corporate executives really know about the front line work and the struggles of everyday employees within their own companies.

For example, one CEO had a father who died of alcoholism and when he was assigned to work with an  employee who shared that he was a recovering alcoholic, the CEO broke down in tears- grateful that the employee had chosen a better path than his father. He then implimented a program whereby the employee could speak to other facilities around the country about recovering from addiction. When company owners really understand what goes on in their businesses behind the scenes and on the front line, they can do great things to improve morale, productivity, loyalty and peoples’ lives.

So, we can learn a lot from Hollywood reality shows.  As business owner, we should ask ourselves the following:

If our best assets are our employees, are they happy? Are they getting their needs met? What more can we do to assist them with their personal issues, career advancement and job satisfaction?

Do we have a good employee assistance program that can provide feedback and assistance to both the employer and the employee?
Do we have a drug testing program that offers employees a last chance to get help before termination?

Do we give employees access to affordable health care, child care and drug and alcohol treatment?

Are  the operations of this company working? Are they effective, efficient and cost effective? If not, why and what can we do?

2
Mar

Balancing Work and Family

As a business owner and working mother of two school age boys, I know first hand the demands of balancing work and family. My boys attend different schools with different spring breaks which fall on consecutive weeks this year.  I find myself wondering how in the world I can manage to work for two weeks in a row while each of them is off school, needing to be occupied, entertained and kept away from twelve hours a day watching tv or playing video games.

 I am one of the lucky few who has the opportunity to work a flexible schedule.  What about the many thousands of other of working parents who have their kids off from school for spring break, professional development days and various other “no school days” while they have to work?  Parenting is a full time job.  Keeping track of sports practices, games, homework, playdates and doctors appointments can make a family schedule more complex that a work calendar and if you are a single parent or a dual income family, juggling family responsibilities with a full time job can be a challenge, if not downright overwhelming. 

With the increase in technology including voice mail, email, Blackberries, iphones, laptops and the like, employees are often asked to be available anytime, anywhere.   Now, more than ever, employees feel they must prove themselves and work harder so they can increase their value and escape layoffs.  When there are fewer employees to do more of the work, it can be  awfully hard to separate work from family obligations. 

So how can you cope with the demands of family and work? 

Here are the following tips we offer our clients:

1.  While at work, try to focus only on work and if you must deal with family responsibilities, like corresponding with the teacher, arranging snack for the sports team or booking doctor’s appointments, try to do it on your lunch hour so you can be more productive and avoid distractions. 

2.Try to give yourself time to separate and unwind from work on your way home. Listen to music, get caught up on personal phone calls (with a headset of course!)  or plan your evening in your head.  Turn work off.

3. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself before you jump into family mode. Change clothes, go for a walk around the block, take a quick shower,  or flip on the news for 5 minutes

4. Prepare and plan meals ahead of time so all you need is last minute preparation when everyone is tired and hungry.

5. Try to multi-task by throwing in laundry while preparing dinner.  Make cleaning up a family time with everyone pitching in to give you more time together in the evening.

6. Delegate chores and responsibilities so you are not doing it all.

7. If you must work at home, try to do it for a set period of time, preferably when they kids are in bed and but not right before you go to bed so you can relax before sleeping.  Make at least one night or a part of the weekend, work-free times.

8.  If you are overwhelmed, stressed or having difficulty balancing work and family, contact the EAP for professional assistance.

We have a wonderful worklife program as an optional part of our service.  Our worklife website is full of articles and resources on ways to balance work and family.  Our counselors can refer clients to resources for childcare, eldercare and families anywhere in the U.S