Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting Through the Door to Train Supervisors

Top management is typically stingy at giving EA professionals time to make presentations on the EAP. And if you want to come back a second time for refresher training, well, good luck. Still, you are more likely to get their attention if you offer shorter, more concise supervisor training that tackles key problems in the supervisor referral process and helps supervisors use the EAP as a management tool more effectively.

The key is to help supervisors, not put your focus on helping employees. I know, that sounds a bit out of place, but it's not. You have to play to your audience. The best way to arrange supervisor training is by sending a letter or memo to departments rather than top management.

Break the organization down and mail a memo that asks a contact person within a certain department to call you to arrange the presentation. Send the memo to the most senior manager of the unit.

Say you would like to include your presentation at the front or back and of a regular supervisor's meeting routinely held in the work unit. You aren't going to be asking for any special meeting times. In the memo, stress that you will helping managers manage stress and give them some helpful tips on how the EAP can help them.

Think about a presentation that includes any of the following:

  • Resolving Conflict Among Employees;
    Resolving Conflict Among Peers and the Boss;
    Negotiating with Others;
    Supervisor Role in Conflict;
    Supporting Troubled Employees without Overstepping Your Bounds;
    Coping with Feelings of Isolation in Supervision;
    Dealing with Discipline and Dismissal Stress;
    Conquering Self-doubt;
    Time Management,
    Getting Things Done,
    Intervening with Burnou;
    Coping Skills;
    Dealing with Change;
    Staying Positive;
    Leading in the Midst of Stress;
    Taking Charge;

Motivating Others;

(Go here to see more ideas that you can pick and choose from.)

Too many employees and managers, as you already know, think EAPs are just about counseling services or feel-good programs. They don’t understand their larger productivity purpose. (Actually, many EA professional struggle with this as well, but that's for another blog post!)

You goal is to help change that perception so they can see how the EAP can work for them. Actually, the first element of the EAP Core Technology is not about employees--it's about helping management with employee and productivity issues. (That's right!)

Call your presentation Seven Secrets of Making the EAP Work for Supervisors. Make your content focus on relieving them of stress associated with managing difficult employees. Talk about EAP Referral Myths, Misconceptions, and Missteps for Supervisors make.

Ask to come back in the future. They'll be looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Five Ways for Supervisors to Refer

There are five ways to make a supervisor referral. (Reproducible Fact Sheet V006 explains all.)

Educating supervisors about these five techniques will increase referrals to your EAP.

1) The Casual Encouraged Self-Referral. With this technique the supervisor mentions the EAP as a reminder in response to hearing about a personal problem first mentioned by the employee. No big deal, but still the supervisor plays an appropriate role. No counseling. No diagnosis. Just a mention.

2) THe Strongly Encourage Self-Referral. Here the supervisor mentions the EAP in response to an existing job performance problem hoping the employee will self-refer. No disciplinary action is used or believed necessary by the supervisor. No contact with the EAP is made prior to the corrective interview.

3) The Type 1 Supervisor Referral. The supervisor notifies or consults with the EA P first. The supervisor meets with the employee and requests performance changes. The supervisor then tells the employee that a “supervisor referral” is being made. The employee is asked if he will accept? A release is requested. Supervisor follows up. Straight forward, this referral works for most employees who are in trouble with their performance.

THE TYPE 2 SUPERVISOR REFERRAL. The supervisor consults with the EA Professional and coordinates a meeting. The supervisor meets with the employee and requests performance changes. Disciplinary action is promised if changes aren’t forthcoming. The supervisor gives the employee the name of the EA professional and an appointment time offered to the supervisor as a possible choice for the employee. The employee is not required to accept this appointment. It is only a helpful opportunity. The employee will almost always accept the prearranged appointment.

THE TYPE 3 PERFORMANCE BASED INTERVENTION: The most powerful and serious supervisor referral. It works virtually every time when done correctly. TI also call this the one minute intervention. Disciplinary action is warranted, known in advance, and administered on the spot if the employee does not accept a supervisor EAP referral presented clearly to the employee as an accommodation and alternative to disciplinary action in the event the employee believes (solely believes!) it would be helpful to address a personal problem he or she thinks is affecting job performance. It is the employee’s choice. Management is not "invested" in the decision either way. The employee is in complete control of their employment future which ends immediately (or other disciplinary action given) or he or she receives the red carpet treatment and is promised A) complete support for getting help, B) No loss of job or promotional opportunities solely for making a decision to go to the EAP; C) the disciplinary action held in abeyance pending follow through with EAP recommendations. The referral to the EAP is in lieu of termination (or other certain disciplinary action.) The employee feels pressured, but it is his or her decision entirely. There is NO other option. Either the EAP referral is accepted or warranted and justifiable disciplinary action based on the performance or behavioral incident is administered. (Termination will provide the most powerful leverage.) The agreement includes following through with EAP recommendations entirely.