Friday, April 18, 2014's "HUFE" Formula (High Utilization For EAPs)

Okay, I will spill the beans.......HUFE. Employees don't use the EAP for one global reason: EA professionals forget that every job, including their's, is about marketing first and the EAP skill set second. For EAPs (not "faux" EAPs associated with managed care firms) that are CT-driven, I like's "HUFE" (High Utilization Formula for EAPs). It provides the most synergy for really "wringing the rag" to get the maximum client flow to any EAP. It taks "value added" to a whole new level. Beyond supervisor training and employee orientation: 1) Promote confidentiality continously to retard attrition of the perception by employees that the program may not be confidential. This is a natural phenomenon caused by fear. It does not go away. If you do not market confidentiality via written communications and frequent mention by key stake holders talking the program and its confidentiality up non-stop, then you will lose the perception that the program is confidential. No EAP is immune from this phenomenon. 2) The EAP should be a voluntary mention or a formal part (as needed and appropriate) of the every "performance improvement plan" 3) The EAP should be part of risk management integration with referrals to it of injured employees on Workers' Compensation to help address many issues associated with injury and recovery; 4) The EAP should grow its influence by making recommendation to management about how to best use its services to reduce behavioral risk. This should be done with a "risk mapping report" annually produced by EAP staff pooling their ideas about unmet and emerging issues associated with behavioral risk in the organization. 5) There should be a monthly newsletter to supervisors to educate them about using the EAP in supervision, which serves to promote the EAP to supervisors as a positive productivity tool to help troubled employees and deal on the job behavior problems; 6) There should be a monthly--not quarterly--newsletter of 2 pages, never 4 pages, given to employees to educate them about workplace wellness topics, and that finds its way home so articles are enjoyed by families while the EAP is promoted with it. Those articles should short, punchy, effective educational (leave out the recipes and jokes) and tightly written so the whole thing gets read, not discarded; 7) a robust EAP website with audio/visual interactive, especially video content on workplace wellness topics should be in place that employees can access 24/7 but each one mentions the EAP at the end, or near by; 8) EAP posters should exist in the organization that are in strategic places and removed and replaced by other posters at least every six weeks just prior to becoming "invisible" to passers-by (again); 9) Family members should be seen by EAPs, if needed. This is part of existing EAP Standards (or used to be) Changes continue to standards accommodate managed care, but nevertheless information from the EAP should reach family members routinely. 10) Key referral points in the community--courts for arrests, juvenile justice, information and referral agencies, emergency rooms, hospital social work departments, urgent care clinics, etc should all have the EAP in their rolodex so when employees come to those locations they get referred to the EAP by these external sources (send your newsletter to these program directors so they remember you when the time comes.) This is is about the EAP engaging in follow-up....I will throw in #11. I call it the 11th EAP commandment: Never let management tell you, "But EAPs don't do that." HR professionals have become victims of the blind leading the blind. Few know what an EAP is really all about. They've been given or propagandized with a false model of what EAPs are and what they do. It's quite limited. Be on the look out for it and squash it.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What the Real Medical Experts on Marijuana Say About Legalization

Are there real experts on the health and mental health effects of marijuana or addiction that we can trust? Does anyone have the most credibility of all professions? Think about it. Who would this be? Well of course, it would be doctors--medical doctors who have no ax to grind, but who treat marijuana addicts and other addicts of drug addiction day in and day out. We should believe them more than the research sponsored and paid for drug abuse advocacy groups. Indeed, the experts would be those educated medical professionals who see the truth everyday in the clinical setting. These are the medical doctors of the American Society on Addiction Medicine. Here is what they say collectively on the topic of legalization of marijuana, but you are not likely to hear this on the news.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (ASAM) public policy statement on “Medical Marijuana,” clearly rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery. ASAM further recommends that “all cannabis, cannabis-based products and cannabis delivery devices should be subject to the same standards applicable to all other prescription medication and medical devices, and should not be distributed or otherwise provided to patients …” without FDA approval. ASAM also “discourages state interference in the federal medication approval process.” ASAM continues to support these policies, and has also stated that they do not “support proposals to legalize marijuana anywhere in the United States.”

Now you know what to point to and what group of educated professionals who are the real experts say. Well, if I am wrong, I can confidently say it is not the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Eyes Wide Open: Hold Managed Care Accountable in 2014!

Managed care companies are under siege financially. Their profits are down. There will be consolidation this year in 2014 and you will potentially see them cut back, cheapen, and/or provide fewer services. They'll be less helpful in going above and beyond the call of duty, and you may see lousier service than ever so they can save money. Learn more about what's ahead from the experts in the managed care industry  from this update and recording that follows. Most importantly, hold managed care faux-EAPs.

Monday, January 27, 2014

EAPs: Counseling While Rome Burns

I am always fascinated by EA professionals and what interests them. Over the past 13 years of blogging on EAP and behavioral exposures to financial loss in the workplace, clinical topics always get top views. Codependency, emotional intelligence in the workplace, relationships with the supervisor, depression, and stress management--they're all big attention-getters. Less so with issues affecting the survivability of the EAP field. This is puzzling to me. These issues include increasing EAP utilization, marketing EAPs, tightening up and enhancing relationships with management, and the one I think is the tippy-top issue --- demonstrating cost-benefit and how to prove the cost of troubled employees. These topics link to the survivability of the EAP field. And let me say that an obscure international EAP research study being conducted Sweden or Swiss researches is never going to produce the sea change needed for this field to relive its heyday. To that end, here is last week's WorkExcel E-Newsletter story which screams for EAPs  to pay attention to it. Get "into" proving your worth and confront faux-EAPs Know how to discuss cost-benefit and return on investment before the CFO comes knocking on your door.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

EAPs: How to Create An "End of Session" Health Tips Pitch

Three Health Tips To Conclude
Any Employee-Client Counseling Session

First of all... Happy New Year.

What three health tips would you offer an employee while walking him or her to the door following a meeting in your office to discuss a personal problem? Employee assistance programs, consider the following:

Whether you meet with an employee who is depressed, anxious, worried, traumatized, victimized, upset with a boss, or simply disgruntled, I bet you say at the end of the meeting, "Thanks John for coming in, and take care of yourself, ok?..."

These last 60 seconds often conclude with a handshake and well wishes, but they are an excellent time to insert healthful advice that will be remembered.

Taking a few minutes to develop a small, health tips "pitch" that you can deliver in the final moments. You'll benefit your client-employee and help the organization at the same time.

When I saw this article in Inc. Magazine, I thought about
all the times I've said good-bye to a client, but only offered a general statement of support when I could have amended the remaining seconds with some cool sticky tips.

Check it out. I think you will agree that the end of any counseling session includes an opportunity for a good-bye pitch and these few health tips below are the ones to include. (I'm a great believer in short, bite-sized help.)

 From the Inc. magazine article include: 1) don't skip breakfast; 2) eat a healthy 4 p.m. snack; and, 3) get enough sleep.

Why these three things? Any why not, "get some exercise?"....

See the article and consider how you can further support your client, while helping the organization's productivity at the same time...what an EAP is all about.

Three Health Habits that Drive Success.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When Organizational Development Specialists Become "Professional Counselor"

EA professionals who also provide organizational development (OD) consulting may be able to practice both professions equally well, but OD staff are not in the position to play the role of an employee assistance professional. The problem is that many do.  This is a risk issue for organizations. An OD staffer cannot counsel employees and promise confidentiality any more than a janitor. I have seen organizations where employees visit with OD staffers instead of the EAP. OD staff can increase risk for organizations when they attempt to resolve organizational, communication, or morale problems that have their roots in clinical or psychiatric problems. Organizations should take steps to examine the role other experts in the organization play, and be clear with these professionals regarding the scope of their duties and areas of expertise. OD specialists who derive personal meaning and job satisfaction from the counseling role with employee employees will create risk for organizations and the employees they seek to help.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Managing EAP Clients in Treatment

If you've recently admitted a client to some sort of addiction treatment program, there are few "touch points" you need to keep in mind. Understanding these touch points will allow you to achieve more treatment success with EAP clients and "score more points" with the value of your program for saving lives. It's nice when you can prove in black and white that you're saving lives with your EAP. After admitting a patient to treatment, you can count on resistance raising its ugly head after detox or without about a week of admission. This dynamic is fueled by the patient feeling better, comparing out of the disease, and a desire to drink again with assurance that the client can do it on his own.

Touch points:
  1. Generally these points require updates and motivational assessments from the addiction treatment counselor: Admission, after detox, middle of intermediate care, discharge, starting day of aftercare, completion of aftercare, and any point within the next year where follow-up program discovers that the patient has moved below the four-day-per week participation in Alcoholics Anonymous.
  2. You should be notified 24/7 with regard to the patient's thoughts and ruminations related to leaving AMA (Against Medical Advice)-- both AMA Ideation and actual AMA. When a patient begins talking about leaving against medical advice, a series of intervention steps occurs. Unfortunately most addition treatment program do not understand dynamics of motivation and leverage and therefore each employee from nurse, counselor, volunteer, doctor, or even the janitor  may take a crack at re-motivating the patient to stay. Unfortunately, each of these attempts reinforces the decision to leave. The first person to make an attempt at re-motivating the EAP client should be you. You can communicate leverage from the employer--generally assurance that the employee will be fired if he or she leaves treatment (we are assuming a formal referral to the EAP with a last chance agreement was involved in this sort of admission). If you are called last instead of first, the patient will have already practiced their "pitch" to leave and your job of convincing them to stay will be made more difficult. Use this EAP Handout Tip Sheet for following clients post discharge from your EAP office.