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employee performance

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
Jun

Best Kept Secret- Interview with the Author

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

12
Nov

The EAP is an Insurance Plan

insurance

During difficult economic times, many employers opt to eliminate their Employee Assistance Program benefits or to reduce their EAP services to cut costs.
It is important to understand that an EAP is not just about counseling or the number of “free sessions” an employee or family member can receive from the plan. A quality EAP is also an HR partner, assisting employers and employees when crises occur.
What if an employee suddenly dies? How are your employees impacted? For some, they may deeply mourn the passing of a close co-worker. For others, they may be reminded of previous losses or other unresolved issues. How will these people cope at work in the coming days and weeks?
What if there is a fatality or serious injury at your workplace? Will your employees be afraid to return to work? Will they be angry at their employer for “letting” the accident happen?
What happens if your best employee comes to work drunk? Do you have a drug and alcohol policy? How do you have him assessed and able to return to work?
Did one of your employees get assaulted by a domestic partner last night? In a situation like this her safety may be in jeopardy but your other employees could be at risk if the offender comes to work to find the victim. It’s a tough balance to assist with the employee’s safety, be sympathetic to the employee’s personal issues while ensuring the essential functions of the job are still being met.
Is someone at your company harrassing or threatening a co-worker? As an employer you must investigate and provide safety for your workers.
These above examples are all situations that happen to employers every day. Without a good, service oriented employee assistance program, you are left to your own devices. The cost of legal fees to deal with the aftermath of any of the above scenarios is far more expensive than the cost of the EAP. Not to mention, expenses related to reduced performance, absenteeism, morale, safety, Labor and Industry claims and medical insurance premiums.
Having an Employee Assistance Program in place is analogous to any insurance program. It is there if you need it – for a crisis, consultation, advice, support, training and counseling. So, EAP’s that just provide a session model without all the support to management are not always the best choice for companies. Having no EAP at all, does not make good business sense. You wouldn’t drive your car without insurance would you?
For information about Fully Effective Employees, please email us at audreyr@fee-eap.com or call 425-557-0907.

21
Feb

The EAP Can Save You Money

Now, more than ever, an employee assistance program is a benefit no employer should be without.  The lengthy recession has taken its toll on employers, employees and their families. As employers, we are forced to cut back on perks, benefits, salaries and employees. Some companies are cutting their Employee Assistance Program because they are trying to decrease all costs as much as possible.    As a result, employees are forced to do more work with less support and increased stress.  Employees may be upset about the cutbacks, resentful of the increased workload and worried about their professional and financial futures.  Morale, productivity and performance are all negatively impacted.   Employees have increased stress, financial and personal problems during tough financial times.  Some are losing their homes, their jobs and their relationships.  This affects your bottom line in many ways.

Fully Effective Employees  can actually save your company money by reducing accidents, absenteeism, tardiness and the time managers spend dealing with employees’s personal problems.  The EAP can help prevent litigation and workplace violence.  The EAP increases morale, employee loyalty, productivity and performance.  The EAP counselor  will help employees and their familiy members find counseling and resources and they can provide support and case management for up to two years.  When employees are given the right help, it reduces insurance costs and disability claims.  In addition, the program offers employees a free place to access assistance before their problems begin to affect their work performance.  

The U.S Department of Labor reports that for every dollar invested in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), employers generally save anywhere from $5 to $16.

While you may be looking for ways to cut costs, the EAP can be one of your most important assets.

If you are a current client, please call us for assistance in promoting and using the program.  The more employees and their families are aware of the program, the more it will be used.  If you are interested in the program for your workplace, call for more information on how the EAP can save you money!