Friday, May 23, 2014

Communicate More to Boost EAP Utilization

Hey many of you EAPs are not communicating enough. On LinkedIn, I ruffled a few feathers by saying the most important job you have as an Employee Assistance Professional is marketing, not counseling. It was a little tongue in cheek to make the point. You must communicate monthly with employees in the work organization. It is pure marketing fact and theory. If you don't, you will lose top of mind positioning. Here is what you need send to employees in your internal newsletter that I hope you use for marketing.

Insert this:

"If you think that the EAP only helps employees with mental health or substance abuse problems, think again. EAPs improve productivity by helping employees whose personal concerns affect their job performance. Also, EAPs do a lot more than simply acting as sounding boards. Think about the EAP when you need confidential help with job and career concerns, boss issues, co-work negativity, fear of job loss, difficulty pleasing management, needing to know more about how demonstrate leadership, severe teenager issues, health resources, making a tough decision, difficulty finding time for yourself and work-life balance, arguing too much with a spouse or loved ones, inability to make ends meet, financial concerns, eldercare matters, workplace-adjustment challenges, workplace-relationship issues, or finding helpful resources in the community. If in doubt about whether the EAP can help with an issue or concern, be sure to ask."

Deliver this message and your utilization will increase. If you are interested in getting an EAP newsletter or just trying one out, go here and use FrontLine Employee for three months..let me know how it goes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Functional Alcoholism: ("The Drinking Doesn't Bother Me")

“Functional alcoholic” is a destructive term that everybody has heard.  Generally, the term is used by those who are aware of the alcoholic’s drinking pattern, but wish to avoid feeling responsible for confronting it by denying its problematic impact.

There is no such thing as a functional alcoholic just like there is no such thing as functional cancer.  This term
is an example of enabling. It is a term of convenience created by enablers. In a sense, all alcoholics -- if they’re alive -- are functional.  It’s a matter of degree.  This term is destructive because it helps the alcoholic avoid being confronted and it works for the enabler quite well.

Functional alcoholic means the coworkers behavior doesn’t bother you.  Indeed, others  may see the same
alcoholic as quite dysfunctional -- particularly family members.  Don’t use this term to describe alcoholics.

Do you need a supervisor or employee substance abuse awareness training for employees? Visit the two hour DOT Drug and Alcohol Training Program for Supervisors for Reasonable Suspicion at

Monday, May 12, 2014

Some EAP Reports are Worth Repeating: 2008 Employer's Guide to Employee Assistance Programs

I bet you missed what I think is an excellent study that included all the right players who help develop and write it: The 2008 Employer's Guide to Employee Assistance Programs

My only concern is that after 40 years, we are still arguing in this report about the definition of an employee assistance program.  This was one of its recommendations and a sub-committee was formed to advance the answer. There lies the problem. Too many market forces "have had their way" with the definition of an EAP, to the point where the abuse of the original concept has nearly been lost. Too many different entities now claim rightful ownership to their own definition. How does one put this genie back in the bottle?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Promote Your EAP Service By Getting There First

Keep a cover sheet handy. On that one page write in the message section: This is "John Smith, CEAP from Middle Valley EAP Services (or whatever). We have an expert on staff regarding the (subject) related to the (INCIDENT) that has just occurred.... This professional can speak on air and answer questions regarding....this matter. (Include a resume behind the fax cover.) Phone us at ....... We are available to your listeners or viewers or can answer questions."

What you are looking at above is the way to communicate with television and radio stations in your area who will put you on live to answer pertinent questions about news events occurring in your community. When breaking news happens, they scramble for experts. And they often grab the wrong folks, those with less knowledge than you...or people who may say things that completely eliminate the idea of phoning an EAP, where in fact that is the best step to take.

These could trauma incidents related to disasters, shootings, court decisions, layoffs, or almost any sort of newsworthy event where your expertise--whether organizational or clinical--could provide that news outlet with a valuable way to educate its listeners or viewers.

Keep a list handy in your purse or pocket of the key phone numbers or fax numbers of the local TV and radio stations. If you are driving down the road and learn of some major incident on the radio (or no matter where you are, head for the fax...or head for the nearest KINKOS and hit the button!

RESULT: You will help people, improve your own EAP's utilization, promote the EA profession in general, and dispel myths about EAPs. And of course, gain free publicity...and their AIN'T NOTHIN' WRONG WITH THAT!

Message of Recovery Pamphlets from NCADD

If you work in the EAP field, you know about AA, and if you visit AA meetings, whether you are in recovery or not, you know those personal stories - the core of what happens at AA--sharing strength, hope, and recovery - works. A desire to stop drinking is influenced by the messages of others.  Powerful recovery stories are also in special brochures published by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - visit their website or phone to learn more. Ask about the Personal Stories of Recovery series brochures. Make them available to EAP clients. The stories in each pamphlet are designed to target the pain and stir "self-diagnosis" in those who use. A decision to seek recovery and sobriety may follow. No, it's not the taking an AA meeting to someone, but is about taking the story. One of these brochures could be the "thing" triggers the decision to save one's life.