Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Something's Stirring with Psychologists

Sometimes it is a good idea to know what other occupational groups and professions are planning for the future.

Frequently these decisions are based upon well-researched needs and interests of customers. One such group are Psychologists. They have big plans for reaching out to business and industry in the future. Here's what the Ph.D.s have been focusing on and discussing at their conferences and reporting to their members:

  • Workplace Resilience Training
  • Workplace Psychological Well-being
  • Military Stress and PTSD/Suicide Prevention (then on to other professions)
  • Bullying prevention in workplace
  • Presenteeism (employees sick at work and their impact on others/productivity)
  • Erratic commuting stress and How It Undermines Productivity.
  • Psychological health of untrained disaster responders (as opposed to trained responders)
  • Improving personal communication on the job and creating healthier workplaces
  • Employees with parental duties and productivity declining while at work, but beginning at the moment school lets out -- i.e. What is Johnny doing? Where's the babysitter?, Etc.
  • The study and management of flexible work schedules, employee stress, and related issues.

Hey, wait a minute! I thought EAPs dealt with most of these issues? And, hey again, I read recently that there are more EAPs than ever! So, what gives?

One itsy, bitsy, small difference. Managed care now provide most EAPs. The CT (translation - authentic) programs are dwindling. Indeed, manager care 800#'s don't have any practical involvement with the issues discussed above.

Could it be that the decline in the number of solid, core technology-driven, personally visible, and integrated employee assistance programs is causing or allowing to become visible, unmet needs in the workplace? I think they are. I have been observing this trend ever since reading in an HR journal a few year ago that HR managers should start addressing more personal problems of employees when "EAPs" can't do it. Holy cow! You never heard that about the EAPs of the 70's, 80's, or early 90's.

So where do HR managers and customers (decision makers) turn to get these needs met? Themselves? Mental health? Of course, they are turning to mental health professionals. And psychologists are at the waiting--organized, focused, and with clout they have uniformly built for decades.