Friday, October 23, 2015

EAP Utilization Hack #124: Create At-Risk Interview Schedules for Clients By Job Type

Don't hate me for this, but, I do not have a collected list of 124 EAP Utilization Hacks exactly, but someday I would like to go to an EAPA conference and make such a presentation. I admit, the #124 was to catch your attention, but if you read this blog regularly, you may have counted that many suggestions along the way combined with my 20 years of emailing EAPs to a list over 8,200 EAP, HR, and other workforce management professionals. Nevertheless consider the following idea.

When an employee comes to your EAP assessment interview via self- or supervisor referral, be knowledgeable about the risks that employee faces in their job. I am not just talking about stress. You will need to research individual professionals. Try the dictionary of occupational titles. Google "job risk and problems ___________. Take librarians for example. Sounds like a quiet job. Hmm. You will discover that  that they are accosted frequently by strangers and the homeless, threatened, and harassed. See what I'm saying? But they may not talk about these things. So, create mental list of specific questions to help screen these employees when they visit your office for routine personal problems to help identify any emerging problems, health crises, or ticking time bombs in their lives. By the way, sell this ability to organizations if you are an EAP vendor....and link it to cost-benefit, recovery from loss, and reduced exposure. And if you have a free time, consider how to link up with property casualty insurers...however.. I digress.

Police, truck drivers, nurses, Latino workers, firefighters, spouses of emergency responders are only a few, but there are many more professions. For example, truck drivers: 
Long-haul truck driving is one of the deadliest professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truck drivers are involved in an estimated 250,000 crashes each year, with 1 to 2 percent resulting in fatalities. If you are a truck driver, new research points to how they can reduce risk for a crash. The study sought to identify health and occupational factors that may contribute to crash risk. These include: 1) frequent fatigue after work; 2) using cell phones while driving; 3) having elevated blood pressure. The researchers surveyed 797 truckers who underwent a basic physical exam. Two indicators of poor health management – high blood pressure and fatigue – were highly associated with crash risk. High pulse pressure exacerbated by stress, long hours, heavy lifting, and lack of sleep, and exercise are suspected in contributing to these conditions. Now...complete my post and consider, what questions might you ask such an employee who comes to your office complaining of financial problems? A skilled interviewer could find out much more and do much more than refer such an employee to the local Community Credit Counseling Center. [search “truck drivers fatigue”]

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Should EAPs Give a Hootily about Customer Service?

If you have been reading this EAP blog for a number of years, then you know I like to discuss how to apply EAP skills, knowledge, advantage, the attractive element of legal confidentiality, leverage, relationship building, risk identification opportunity, and organizational access to reach into organizations and spot new and emerging problems and opportunities that will save more lives and deliver more black ink to the bottom line. This is how you get management tostand up and notice how the EAP core technology works. (Especially since their CFO and managed care have sold them a bill of goods that are not true EAP.) Indeed, an 800# service as a substitute for a comprehensive workplace focused program is really a farce when you consider all that EAPs do and can do. For example, take customer service training. Of course EAPs were never designed to train employees in how to deliver customer service. But let me ask you this: Is it appropriate for EAPs to deliver seminars on stress management? What about relationship effectiveness in general? Would you say that helping employees to improve engagement, attitudes, optimism, and manage conflict better are worthwhile and appropriate for the EAP role? Of course you would. So, what do you think customer service is all about? I think you are getting my point. EAPs can REACH into risk. And these sorts of services, training in this case smartly delivered, can elevate your program and give it a permanent spot at the strategic table in the employer's boardroom. After all you have a perspective that no one else can give.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

EAPs: Helping Job-stressed Employees at Risk for Stroke

People with high stress jobs have a 22 percent higher risk of stroke than those with low stress jobs. That’s what an examination of six studies concluded after following 138,782 people for 17 years. That is a big number. And that increases credibility in my view. What’s high stress? Answer: Time pressure, mental load, and coordination burdens. That's what the study focused on. Researchers to see physical labor as producing the same degree of mental stress. EAP Impact: Create services and programs which 1) give people more control over their work. Become a “control over your work expert” in your organization to reduce health problems and health risk by doing so. These at-risk jobs include nursing aides, waitresses, service industry positions among others. Anywhere people are faced with unpredictable demands and very little ability to have any control over when, how much, and the details of how they going to do that work create inordinate stress. Who in your organization matches this sort of occupational profile? There's the value added proposition. My suggestion is to forget the brown-bag seminar approach. Make it more programmatic than that. For example, invite employees into the EAP as self-referrals to discuss their job stress and discover how more control can be instituted. The answers you find may save a life.  Test your assumptions, ideas, and strategies. That is what these medical researchers are concluding. EAPs are in the most strategic place to make this difference.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Communication is the #1 problem in all workplaces. Managers continually criticize employees for poor written and verbal communication. Are you one of them? Don't be. Improve written and verbal communication skills with these five courses from - and get CEUs, PDUs, and credit toward you HR certification, EAP certification, and more.