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? -- 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