Sunday, May 25, 2008


Did you know that the first element of the EAP Core Technology has nothing to do with assessing or counseling troubled employees? In fact, the first element is about the EA profession's unique role in consulting with managers and supervisors. That's fitting, because EAPs were historically established to consult with managers and more specifically coach them in referring troubled employees so a consultant or counselor could assess them to determine whether the employee was alcoholic.

(DIGRESSION! Do you know who this person was--the person who first established this linkage? His name was Lewis Presnall. And he accomplished this feat at the Chino Mines of Kennecott Copper of Arizona in 1959. (Not to be confused with Kennecott Copper INSIGHT program of Salt Lake City, Utah which came years later in 1969.) Presnall has been credited by EAP historians with discovery of the mechanism and "intervention technology" for how to find more alcoholic employees by referring them for job performance problems to a person who could conduct an assessment and provide motivational counseling. Presnall is in fact the Grandfather of the EAP movement.)

The EA profession has historically put its focus on solving employee personal problems that may or may not affect job performance. Unfortunately, this message has been the only one, or the main one, for many EAPs. As a result, supervisors have failed to consider EA professionals as the most knowledgeable workplace professional for advising and consulting with them on the subject of employee supervision. Ask most supervisors ‘Who do you believe in the world of work is most able to advise you on the subject of employee motivation, morale management, performance evaluation, and behavior change? The answer most supervisors will give is human resources consultants or senior managers. No way. In reality, EA professionals are the most qualified to teach and consult on the subject of employee supervision, but few supervisors know it because this ability has not been historically marketed or advertised by EA professionals. HR managers and senior supervisors do not accumulate anywhere near the experience base that EA professionals do when it comes to the subject of ‘how to supervise.’ To increase your utilization rate, claim the high ground in your organization and say you are the expert, the one most qualified and capable of helping supervisors learn how to supervise better. Do this in phone calls, follow-up, and of course supervisors training. Your experience at dealing with trouble employees and consulting with them on difficult employee behavior has supplied you with a large base of knowledge capable of boosting your clout and prestige as a performance management consultant. It also turns EAPs back to what they were always meant to be – management tools to salvage employees and increase productivity. This will also help you lose some of that “do-gooder” tag you may have been given by some.