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

EAP and HR consulting

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!

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.

 

 

17
Mar

“Free” Employee Assistance Programs

“Free” employee assistance programs have become more and more prevalent.  EAPs are often included as part of other core services such as health insurance, disability carriers and even payroll companies. These providers and the employers and benefit brokers they market to rationalize “why not throw in a free EAP?”  However, as a consumer of employee benefits, employers must understand what they are getting.  First of all, nothing is really free- the cost of the EAP services are covered by the carrier and as a result, often the cost is embedded and passed onto the purchaser of these services. Second, do you know who your provider is and just what you are getting?

Ron Holman wrote an article titled “Free Employee Assistance Programs, You Get What You Pay For”  in the California Broker back in 2003 as free EAP’s were just emerging.  It appears as though “free” is here to stay.  However, many of these providers offer very little.  Holman wrote “When a company chooses to offer its employees a “Free” EAP, they may not be invested in who utilizes the plan since they are not paying for the EAP.  However, one very important quality of the EAP is the ability to detect any patterns within the employee population regarding drug and alcohol use, personal problems, legal or financial problems and issues with childcare and eldercare and  to identify any necessary assistance…. Because many “free EAPs” do not provide employers with utilization reports, company executives are not able to understand their employee’s needs.”

The more employees use the EAP, the more it costs the provider.  Therefore most  free EAPs are not motivated to promote and provide awareness of the program because it costs them.  As a result, some employers don’t even know the name of their EAP company and rarely use it.  Usually on site services, critical incident debriefing, management consultation and management referrals and case management are either not provided or rarely used.  All of these services are essential elements of a high quallity EAP which are also required under the “Standards and Guidelines for EAPs” according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

Employee assistance programs that are offered as stand alone services are far more beneficial to employers.  Many companies change their insurance providers frequently based on the most favorable rates they can obtain.  If the EAP is included, it too will have to change which can be confusing and may discourage use by employees.  If cases are managed for a long time then they will need to be transferred mid-stream to another provider that is unfamiliar with the case, which can be especially problematic for positive drug tests,  management referrals and complex cases.

As an employer, you should be looking for a locally based EAP provider;Business Team one that knows the treatment facilities, the community resources and the nuances of your company.  Your EAP provider should be able to assist you with the specific needs of your company and have regular contact with you.  It should be able to provide trainings, management consultation, critical incident debriefings, assist with management referrals and drug testing policies.  It should provide yearly utilization reports and assist you in promoting and increasing, rather than avoiding utilization of the program.

If you have a free EAP or one that is not meeting your needs, it may be time to evaluate what you need now.  For more information contact Fully Effective Employees at 425-557-0907.

 

 

10
May

Do Your Employees Have Financial Problems?

While there are signs the economy is improving, people continue to experience unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy and credit card debt. Many Americans live well beyond their means and survive from paycheck to paycheck.  Financial problems create stress, anxiety, relationship issues and depression. As a result, employees may have a difficult time keeping their financial problems separate from their work lives.  Stress and emotional difficulties can lead to absenteeism, accidents and performance issues which will affect an employer’s bottom line.

Although the economy has been the primary source, there are other reasons employees may be experiencing financial difficulties.

These include:

  • Gambling
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Shopping addiction
  • Depression
  • Poor money management
  • Divorce

The following are some signs that employees may be experiencing financial difficulties:

  • Requesting paycheck advances
  • Requesting an employer loan
  • Often volunteering to work overtime
  • Taking out 401K loans or discontinuing contributions
  • Calls to verify employment or wages by lenders
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Change in work peformance, attitude or behavior
  • Frequent phone calls
  • Overly emotional behavior

Employers can take a proactive approach to help employees with personal and financial problems by providing a good employee assistance program.  You can actively encourage the confidential use of  the program for employees and their families by distributing promotional materials, linking the EAP website to the company’s Intranet, and reminding workers about the EAP in meetings, company newsletters and emails.  Fully Effective Employees provides an optional legal and financial assistance program which allows employees the opportunity to speak with an attorney or CPA about their financial situation.  We can also arrange to have financial planners provide financial seminars at no additional cost.

If personal problems have begun to affect performance, you should refer the employee to the EAP for the performance issue and if you suspect financial issues may be the reason,  you can share that information with the EAP counselor.  Investing in your most important asset- your employees makes good business sense.

 

 

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!

 

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.

 

 

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.