Sunday, April 15, 2018

Show You’re Confident (An EAP Office Counseling Tip to Help Employees)

Confidence is the belief in oneself or one’s abilities. We don’t always feel confident in what
Image of person being confident in a speech
we are facing, but there is a way to feel and appear confident in job interviews, oral presentations, sales pitches—almost any personal challenge.

The secret is taking the focus off your awareness of feeling deficient or lacking in ability and shifting it to the people or situation in front of you.

How? Ask yourself questions that cause you to shift your focus: Think “What does this person need?” or “What are these people’s needs?” or “How can I discover what’s important to them?” or “What do we have in common?” or “What is the mood of my interviewer or audience?”

Any question that helps you empathize and reach out to discover more about what you’re facing will change your behavior--you will shift use of your brain from right brain to left—the more analytical side—reducing fear and altering the way you appear, speak, and project confidence to those in front of you.

Did you like this “EAP Office Counseling Tip?” Look for more tips by following on LinkedIn. Share with new staff. Coming soon . . . "Follow Up Tip for Supervisors After EAP Referral" (Feel free to copy the above, use, and share.) Follow me on LinkedIn to also see more tips at

Monday, March 19, 2018

EAPs: Education Employees and Help Workers Build Family Resilience

Topic for a Brown Bag:

Personal resilience means the ability to bounce back from adversity
—tough times and tough events. We know this means for individuals, but the concept also applies to families. Families can be resilient too, and they can become more resilient to weather stressful events.

Seek to build resilience within your family and you can weather tough times and improve your chances of thriving despite it all. If you answer no to the following questions, consider how you can build these traits, each one of which reinforces the other. (1) Do individual family members feel confident in their abilities to cope with change? (2) Do family members not shy away from hard work? (3) Do family members demonstrate the ability to cooperate with one another, despite the minor squabbles most families experience? (4) When wronged, do family members forgive each other? (5) When stressful events happen, does your family adapt? (6) Do family members nurture one another? (7) Do family members stick up for one another other? (8) Are family members open and honest with one another other? (9) Does the family interact and build relationships within its community?

We often address topics similar to this one in Frontline Employee..Get a subscription for your EAP and increase your utilization, value of your program, and offer your organizations reduced risk, and better integration....all of which can keep your program thriving instead surviving.

Family resilience has earned its own place in the Wikipedia. I bet you did not know that. So important is this topic that it is examined in many respects. See it here:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

[Valentines Day News] Helping Employees and Their Relationships

suppose this research below on predicting fidelity (or infidelity) in
relationships is appropriate for Valentine's Day. I saw it in my news
feed this morning. But does have some workplace implications for
education and wellness.

Essentially, the research shows that a spouse or
partner's natural inclination to glance away faster and to subjectively
"devalue" an attractive potential sexual partner predicts higher degrees
of fidelity. The longer the look, the more likely the individual was to
participate infidelity. The shorter the look the less likely fidelity
will be a couple's issue.

Here is the research summary.

See the program: "Giving Couples Counseling a Try"

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Revisiting Depression in the Workplace and Helping Employees

All mental health professionals conduct assessments and/or treat people for depression from time to time.

Some who suffer with this illness may experience such chronic long-term sadness that they barely understand any more what it is like to feel normal.

When depressed employees find relief, it is not unlike those who are able by a medical procedure to hear or see for the first time.

You probably have employees on payroll right now who suffer with chronic depression. They function with depression, but they are not firing on all cylinders. Productivity losses for this group of employees is enormous.

Employees with depression may not look "depressed", sulk at their desk, or behave sluggishly. Still, depression is one of the most costly illnesses to employers at a whopping $75 billion in lost productivity and absenteeism alone.

Consider educating employees about depression periodically so those who suffer from it have the chance to self-diagnose, rally with motivation, seek help. This is easy to do, and the payoffs can be great.

Here's a tip: Educate employees about depression in an article, and refer to a term called "bottomless sadness" associated with depression, and normal sadness. Google this term, and wrap a 150 word article around it. Put it in your health and wellness newsletter (or wait until March when I will do it in Frontline Employee.) You will be surprised at the impact this article has employees. Some who need help right now may reach out.

Don’t do a one-shot educational presentation or brown bag on depression. Instead trickle the information out in chapters with your newsletter, fliers, or another wellness tips program. You will see people move toward getting help after awareness builds after about six messages.

Consider this reproducible and editable tip sheet called “Understanding Depression.” Or Google for one like it somewhere on the Web. There are many. But, begin educating employees about this brain disease if you have not done so in a while.

Note, the tip sheet above also is available as a
Video, Web Course, DVD, and PowerPoint. All have professional narration.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Begin an EAP-driven Proactive Injury Recovery Program to Support Employees Injured on the Job

The research is clear--better empathetic communication and engagement with injured workers can reduce workers' compensation costs associated with their recovery.

HR and EAPs should collaborate on this construct to get employees back to work sooner, reduce lawsuits, help prevent related employment claims, identify more troubled employees at risk of re-injury, and address secondary personal problems of injured workers that sabotage recovery.

This is not rocket science. Get excited, man! Follow 25 injured workers in 2018 and engage them in an "EAP Proactive Recovery Program." Then, compare your results--using 6-8 metrics--absences, treatment costs, re-injury rates, legal claims, reduced HR hassle time, speedier return to work, employee turnover, reduced overtime, etc.--to the same costs associated with the last 25 compensable injuries that were not similarly followed.

You should see a powerful return on this program. Then show up at an EAPA conference or share your results at a SHRM conference. Even better, attend a insurance or risk managers conference and promote employee assistance programs for the management tools they actually are, and should be, to help more workers and reduce costs. You might spark a needed true-to-the-spirit Core Technology EAP renaissance. 

Here are a few ideas to consider for your project:

1. Consider having injured workers engage with the EAP. A self-referral, or even a formal referral after injury is appropriate because the referral is based upon a job-related issue--injury. Another source of referral for such a program is the workers' compensation managed care nurse--get this individual on board with the program. 

You will discover this to be relatively easy because you are actually making their job easier and giving them improved stats. (I have done it, or I would not be writing about it.)

2. Have the EAP assess the psycho/social and environmental issues, and intervene with those that could contribute to a prolonged absence. This is a research-proven cost driver for WC injuries--the longer out, the less likely the return to work.

3. Institute EAP follow-up with medical doctors. They often have information helpful to a better EAP assessment.

4. Identify workers affected by depression and resolve employee concerns and complaints related to communications with the boss, HR, etc. (This reduces the likelihood of employees involving attorneys and suing the organization See:

5. Provide assertiveness training to help injured employees avoid peer pressure to engage in prohibited work activities that can cause re-injury when they return to the job.
Return to work programs are great, but many include risk of re-injury if they are located near the environment associated with the original injury. ("Come'on Joe, help lift this lumber! Your back is fixed by now! Gimme a break!")

6. Conduct an EAP assessment for untreated alcoholism. (WC injuries are three times higher for alcoholic workers.) Also have the EAP discuss opioid use issues because many of these folks are at risk for addiction, especially those with back injuries.

These few activities require trust, a commitment to confidentiality, and services that only an EAP with its core technology and legally-backed confidentiality assurances can offer. (Think again if you still believe #800 insurance EAP hotlines can engage to this degree with employees and key stakeholders.)

So, "who you gonna call" to reduce workers' compensation costs? Try an effective EAP with a programmatic approach to WC injury and recovery--or get one in place for 2018.

Increase your supervisors referrals free for the next three months, no catch. No invoice, No Bill, no hassle, no nothin'. - Fax this form, and cross out the price on it. And mark "Give it to me free, Dan."  Put your email on the form. I don't need your name.

Sign up for free EAP resources at

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Free Holiday Stress Tip Sheet for EAPs

Okay, everybody has been waiting for this. Here is it.

There were at least a few national news stories this year discussing the health effects of loneliness. Researchers see it as a growing problem, and some believe it is the new "obesity" issue because of its adverse impact on health--both physical and mental health. Given the strong association between the holiday season and family get-togethers, a tip sheet topic on being alone for the holidays looked like a good one to send to you. Go to this page to download this year's free, reproducible, editable, and Web usable workplace wellness tip sheet on holiday stress entitled, "Alone for the Holidays."
WorkExcel Tip: When we create a Web course, we take a document you might have or a PowerPoint, separate all the text into separate moving parts for a slide program, animate it, professionally narrate the text, time it with images, and add handouts, test questions, and certificate or course validation element. When this is completed, we can then create a DVD format, a video that will play on any device, and of course the Web course.

This brochure provides more information. Finally, create your own library of web courses, engage employees and family members more effectively, add to your capabilities, make a bigger impact, brand everything with your logo, never pay another licensing fee, own your library, have no off-page links to a provider/vendor customer go off and explore, and compete more effectively.

I could go on, but what it is on your computer right now that would be awesome outreach in the form of a Web course. Fax this form to 843-884-0442 for a quote.

Daniel Feerst, BSW, MSW, LISW-CP

P.S. If you place a link to in some isolated location on your Web site, it greatly helps keep this free service going. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Share Productivity Laws with Employees as a way to Entertain and Make a Point with Your Employee Newsletter

Have you heard of Parkinson's Law? It was first coined by British author and historian C.
Parkison's Law states the amount of time given for a tasks is  used completely
Northcote Parkinson, writing for The Economist in 1955.

The law states that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Have you experienced this phenomenon?

A better question is have you seen employees who are given an assignment with plenty of time to complete it, but still manage to only get it to you barely on time, or even late? This is the Parkinson's Law in action.

Your employee newsletter is a magical tool to educate employees about productivity principles like this one within a workplace wellness context. Improving productivity, reducing stress, sharing the information with others, and having a chuckle or two are exciting reasons to educate your employees about productivity laws that cleverly (more so than others) define our lives. 

A bit of research on productivity laws discovers that there are actually nine different productivity laws commonly cited in time management literature and personnel management training. You've heard of Murphy's Law. It happens to be one of these nine.

In the future, I will share more about these laws of cause and effect with you, but the employee newsletter article idea I would like to recommend is composing a simple article on this topic right now. Make it about 100-120 word range. Remember, it is my recommendation that you never have employee newsletter articles that extend beyond 250 words, and keep most in the range of 120-150 words.

When you research these productivity laws, you can make a strong impact with your employees as I have done here taken from a newsletter article I wrote several years ago.

Have you heard of Parkinson's Law? Simply stated, the law states that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”  That’s the observation made by the British author and historian C. Northcote Parkinson, writing for The Economist in 1955. The few who are able to overcome this productivity-killing phenomenon are able to work so efficiently that they seem to have magical powers. Here’s how to join this elite group: Shorten the amount of time required to complete a task and correspondingly increase the urgency of completion by promising it sooner. You will develop more efficient work habits with this intervention, and you will find more free time in your life that you struggle to find right now. A simple way to work with this principle is to take a kitchen time and set it for say, thirty minutes and tell yourself you will finish a project before the bell goes off. The move to your next task and repeat the strategy. Subscribe to Frontline Employee -- a newsletter you can distribute to the workforce, rename and call your own, and  finally have an on-time, highly visible EAP newsletter for improved utilization and program preservation.