Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Increasing EAP Utilization Hack #17: Distribute an EAP Supervisor Newsletter

Create your own supervisor tips newsletter, or use ours, or someone's to build relationships with supervisors so they will naturally refer more often. You'll get more more EAP referrals, more at-risk employees, and you will see more alcoholic workers. Make it short. Make it sweet. Make it easy to read and relevant to supervisory issues, especially relationships, conflict, leadership, morale, productivity, team building, attitude issues, communication, and improving employee engagement. Send it monthly for maximum top-of-mind-awareness, not because I think you should, but because that is what is needed. Every marketer will tell you this--frequency is king, not quantity. A two page newsletter sent monthly is 50% more content per year than a four-page sent quarterly. And a 2-pager is more likely to be completely read. This is how you boost your EAP utilization. You also deepen your integration within the organization. Supervisors "sit" on troubled employees and often do not refer them until a crisis hits. It takes some nudging to get them to loosen their grip. This requires them trusting you, and then thinking of you first when a incident (or crisis) occurs. So also regularly educate supervisors about the EAP, how to refer to it, all the nuances associated with communicating effectively with you, how to avoid armchair diagnosis, how to follow up, how to help the EAP maintain and nurture the perception and reality of confidentiality, and remember to put yourself out there as a consultant regarding documentation, coaching, referral to the EAP, motivating of employees, engagement, conflict resolution, morale improvement, and making performance improvement plans more effective. You will grow your influence. Here is a sample supervisor newsletter and information.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Increase EAP Utilization Hack #19: Encourage DUI/DWI Court Programs to Refer to Your EAP

Employees of your company, or the companies you serve with your EAP, may get arrested for drunk driving. Establish relationships with the local courts, and specifically their municipal alcohol safety action DUI/DWI diversion programs to boost your EAP utilization rate. I've done it.
 

We're talking meeting with these professionals and discovering how you can help them with specific case management issues associated with clients who have eligibility to use your EAP. This could include family members.

ASAP or court-run alcohol-DUI/DWI intervention programs improve highway safety by reducing alcohol-related accidents and arrests. They are court-mandated programs for DUI and first-time drug offenders. ASAP evaluates those entering the program and recommends one or more of the following: driver education, alcohol/drug education, combination of education and counseling. All education is designed to prevent relapse and repeat offenses. By monitoring program participants, ASAP acts as a probation facility or diversion program for the courts. After completing the program, defendants either receive a certification of compliance or an order to return to court for noncompliance.

ASAP offices or similar services managing court referred DUI/DWI cases can use your services for assessment, follow-up, treatment referral, post-treatment monitoring, etc. And they have the power to make these referrals. Your EAP is voluntary, so the one caveat here is that the court can't force the offender to use your EAP, but a firm request will rarely be turned down by an anxious and cooperative client who would like to avoid going to jail. DUI staff counselors are swamped with cases. Many are difficult to follow up, and they experience frustrating communication with these court appointed clients, many of whom are alcoholic.

Some ASAP offices will accept the EAP's assessment, recommendations, and with the client's permission, allow the EAP to do the follow-up. As stated, most employees will readily accept a referral to the EAP when the ASAP counselor says, "You have an EAP with your company. We would like you to take advantage of its confidential services."

The chances are high that employees arrested for DUI are alcoholics, and this can further boost your alcohol-related EAP stats. There is nothing more valuable to an EAP than improving alcohol-related stats.

As you know, DUI and ASAP clients don't usually end up in treatment. And if they do, it is often poorly followed up--the most important aspect of treatment is follow up and aggressive participation in a program of recovery that does not dwindle. Many serious addicts get overlooked in DUI intervention programs, and your involvement may save lives on the highway if the alcoholic is motivated into treatment and properly followed up.

Call your court-run DUI/DWI intervention program. Meet to set up a cooperative relationship, and discuss how you might help them, help you. Synergy your efforts and boost your EAP utilization. Email me, and let me know how it goes.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

EAP Utilization Hack #20: Make and Rotate New EAP Posters Every Six Weeks

Increasing EAP utilization is about visibility, promotion, and efforts you take to keep your program "top of mind." This means employees develop reflexes for thinking about the EAP as a "fix" for their problems. When people are in pain, they think of resolving that pain. If your EAP offers solutions  that employees can connect to their problems, they will phone. This is why you should be specific about the solutions you offer and link them to specific problems in promotion in your promotional efforts. Also, the magic is to never to underplay the importance of mentioning confidentiality in every communication. You are always marketing confidentiality because there are always forces real and imaginary that are marketing against confidentiality. One promotional technique that doesn't get enough appreciation is EAP posters. This is why I distribute a free EAP poster periodically. Three things make EAP posters work: 1) Relevance to the work culture (that means you must create them with a relevant message. Fun and easy.; 2) Rotate them or post new ones every six weeks. Six weeks is the magic number I came up with where I believe things like posters and flyers of any sort become invisible to those who have seen them 11-12 times; And 3) Problem specific. This means creating a poster that focuses on something like "Seasonal Affective Disorder" or "Teens and Drug Abuse" rather than the general as in this bad example: "When Times are Tough, the Tough Get Going to the EAP" (gag me). Okay, now you know about EAP Poster Technology.

Monday, April 18, 2016

EAP Utilization Hack #21: Do EAP Refresher Training with Supervisors

Many good employee assistance programs have closed down, consolidated, or been turned into 800 hotlines over the past several years. Will it happen to you?

Many of these solid EAPs lost the battle to stay open even while they were pointing to lives saved as a result of their services.

Over the years, I have identified a few contributing factors to this sort of tragedy. The leading factor that stands out is a lack of difficult employees referred by supervisors as the only way they could have possibly gotten help--under duress, with the leverage of job security motivating their choice to use the EAP, and then following through with recommendations given to them.

That's it in a nutshell.

You see, self-referrals are a good thing, but telling top management that they would never have used an 800# hotline--only your EAP--to get help is not going to be believed. If you use this line, then I can guarantee that you will soon be putting your office plants in a cardboard box.

Supervisor referrals of the most at-risk troubled employees, however, are completely different story.

The most difficult and problematic employees don't use an 800 hotline. Their level of denial and over-adaptive use of defense mechanisms preclude self-motivation and insight.

Instead, these employees reach the EAP because of constructive confrontation by managers, often where declining the formal supervisor EAP referral means termination for performance issue. This constructive coercion (which is really what it is) is the dynamic that saves lives. This is leverage.

You can increase the number of these valuable supervisor referrals, and it may help you not become a statistic. Click here to see two products to grow your EAP utilization with formal supervisor referrals.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Blog Note Update: EAPs and Emergency Room Relationships

I was talking the other day about improving EAP utilization and helping more employees with substance abuse problems by developing relationships with local emergency rooms--- and letting them know that you can do follow up work with patients who are eligible for EAP services at companies where you happen to provide EAP services internally or externally as an EAP vendor. Well, I got a press release today about something similar. I thought you'd like to see it. It dovetails into my earlier post on this subject but addresses intervening with people in the Emergency Departments by screening them for suicidal ideation and recent attempts, or indeed the primary reason for their current visit associated with a failed attempt. Recent research called sought to examine whether universal suicide risk screening is feasible and effective at improving suicide risk detection in the emergency department (ED). The findings were positive. The researchers do not have a recommendation along the lines of be sure to "Ask the patient whether we can have your EAP contact you confidentially and follow up," but I can say it here--get this going. Universal suicide risk screening in ERs is feasible and it leads to a nearly twofold increase in risk detection--and I am postulating that along with EAP involvement, even fewer deaths ultimately will be prevented.  If these findings remain true when scaled, the public health impact could be tremendous, because identification of risk is the first and necessary step for preventing suicide. Do you have our latest brochure with the free download link? http://eaptools.com/1.pdf -- check it out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

EAP Utilization Hack #22: Get an EAP Newsletter and Distribute It Monthly--NOT Quarterly

You may have heard me say this before but a quarterly EAP newsletter is a sheepish frequency. You won't see much impact from a quarterly newsletter, because typically they are four pages with lengthy content that don't get full read, and frequency is not going to deliver the top of mind visibility you need to stay in front of employees and have them remember you when personal problems arise. So, get a monthly publication of some sort. Here is a popular method with EAPs who get enormous impact:



Employee newsletters Make an Employee Newsletter

Monday, March 21, 2016

EAP Utilization Hack #23: Create a Video to Orient Employees and Family Members

If you don't have an EAP orientation video on your Web site because it sounds too expensive or complicated, let me give you the story on doing this simply.

You can create such a video yourself--more useful and effective than a Hollywood movie--with professional narration that discusses the use of your program. You make it from a PowerPoint.
This is very easy to do and it can look stupendously professional.

You may have everything in-house to do this yourself already, but using an organization like www.Upwork.com, you can find 3-4 professionals, each with their own skills to piece together such a project for about $300-$500. Such a video will also help you compete in EAP proposals and in responding to RFPs because it will drive EAP utilization up, thereby reducing behavioral risk from at-risk employees.

Here are the steps:

1) Create your script. Make it about 15 slides. Plan 25-30 words (no more per slide.) Brainstorm with staff what will be in this PowerPoint. This entire move will last about 4-5 minutes.

2) Get a professional voice to create 15 mp3s from the scripts above. This will cost you about $25-$50.

3) Get a PowerPoint expert to create the slides with professional graphics. This will cost about $150-200. You can make awesome professional PowerPoints yourself by visiting www.slideshare.net and copying the techniques you see. Easy peasy. 

4) Get another PowerPoint person to sync the words with the images, and with the voice files that are inserted as sound objects using PowerPoint. This will cost about $50. If you understand PowerPoint, you can do this yourself.

5) Create a video from the PowerPoint Show using a software program like Wondershare or PresentationPro to turn the PowerPoint into a video. This software is about $200, but well worth it. You will use this in the future like crazy for other videos you can make.

Your done!!

Now you have something you can show in an auditorium with a laptop, put on the web, or put in a DVD. The real value of your video is reaching family members and otherwise unreachable employees who are not familiar with your EAP (yet). You can also email the video link anywhere.

The ability to work with family members is part of the historical purpose of EAPs. It is also part of the EAP standards. Managed care EAPs play this down, don't promote it, or avoid it altogether. Don't let this be you.

Use bitly.com to create a custom link to your video that is easily remembered. Try something like bit.ly/your-eap, etc. Put in the emails, in your EAP newsletter, on business cards, an on EAP posters.

The above could skyrocket your EAP utilization. To see an examples of EAP orientation or "what the EAP can do for you" PowerPoint and Video, visit the preview page at WorkExcel.com

#EAP #employee assistance programs