Saturday, December 31, 2016

After Reasonable Suspicion Training Is Completed, Will Referred Employee Be Sabotaged in Treatment?

 After training managers or supervisors in drug and alcohol awareness, including signs, symptoms, impact, and effect on a worker's psycho-motor skills (all required by the DOT for reasonable suspicion training,) be sure so offer a bit of education to all participants about being careful not sabotage treatment in the event an employee is referred following a positive test and assessment.

The sabotage of addicts in treatment is a common dynamic, and demonstrates unfortunately the natural ignorance most persons have about addictive disease and also the powerful bond of enabling as a dynamic that seeks out the addict like a bloodhound with determination to "help" by saying and doing all the wrong things for the right reasons.

Much of this so called AMA prevention responsibility lies with the treatment program of course and the counselor's ability to educate family members and concerned persons about the role of the family in support of recovery -

Gatekeeping is a critical role but not all treatment programs do it well.  Read More

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The King Has No Clothes: Managed Care's Utter Failure to Harness the Power of EAPs

One of the things I have attempted to do over the past 25 years is help EAPs see themselves as part of the organization's larger risk management strategy. This is no way conflicts with the touchy-feel (aka, program of attraction) model EAPs depend upon. On the contrary it enhances it.

Things like employee newsletters and other utilization and promotion devices are risk management tools and part of the critical continuum of best practices organizations must embrace to reduce loss.

And wow are these tools inexpensive. I would like to see more organizations phoning the EAP and saying, "Hey, make sure your renew the employee newsletter, it is probably saving us thousands or millions by increasing your referrals." 

There are many other tools EAPs can assemble, but this is just one of them. These things are not "nice to haves" as they are often portrayed by uninformed (or misinformed.) Nay, they are essential risk management, and potentially, "going postal" prevention tools.

Until recently, I really could not determine why the value-added argument everyone well-understood in the early 1980's was not working better for EAPs, and why instead EAPs  service vendors and internal programs were closing faster than a creeping forest fire in Gatlinburg.

The idea the EAPs can grow and grow to capture more unmitigated risks associated with human workplace behavior should have overwhelming acceptance by now. I have theory: "The King has No Clothes" . Managed care wants nothing to do with the property-casualty risk market, (which is what we are discussing here), its issues, and the work and integration required to penetrate it. It simple does not meet its business goals of reducing health insurance costs and increasing profits. But EAPs did not start out this way. In yesteryear, they targeted the whole ball of wax of risk in business organizations. If you are retired from the EAP field by now, but as you read this, you know something dramatically degrading has happened to the EAP field.

If a better linkage between EAPs and their powerful risk management reduction capacity where ever truly codified, managed care would risk losing control of EAPs and the simplistic model they depend upon for their uni-polar purpose. Managed care depends on the large majority of EAPs thinking and behaving as they do, and they spend millions on publicity, educational forays, and press releases at every turn to educate the human resources continuum and public at large to buy into their understanding of EAPs as they wish them to be seen. That is, more or less counseling and assessment services with a predominant self-referral path. When the time comes, as  it seems to do almost every day, traditional EAPs bite the dust. Actually, a better way to put it would be that they are more easily assimilated like the Borg in Star Trek. ("resistance is futile.")

I helped secure Arlington County Government's EAP and the School System's EAP against
managed care contagion 15 years ago by capturing the high ground and allowing the EAP core technology to work its magic by reaching out into any area of the organization where human behavior and trouble employees became exposures that threatened the financial well-being of the organization. Arlington County/Public Schools now has a six person staff for 7,500 employees and a very healthy budget. No vendor or managed care organization can touch it (many have tried) with the large swath of EAP services it provides.

Below is an amazing Web site which contains many arguments and appropriate phraseology for EAPs to use in arguing for their larger purpose, value, and ability to manage more behavioral risks within the confines of the EAP core technology. If you face the ever-present jeopardy of closure and takeover by managed care, you may find help here. Delve deep into it, and start identifying unmitigated risks and exposures during the year. Present an annual "risk mapping report" and recommend additional growth for your EAP, not budget cuts.

The successful end result, of course, is more lives saved and more organizational costs contained. Be aggressive with risk management and program growth to help your EAP and the EAP profession itself. It has shrunk 60% in 25 years despite growth in what are called "EAPs."

The real story of successful EAPs is still be written, or re-discovered, but it is not one that will sit well with managed care. When it comes to the "lead, follow or get out of the way" approach to the EAP field (as I heard at a recent EAPA conference), be sure the one you are following has clothes.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Increasing EAP Utilization Hack #16: Use a Good Health Supply Line

I want to share with you an employee assistance program utilization improvement hack I created that will help boost your EAP utilization nearly overnight. It is called the "Good Health Supply Line®". I created this service as part of the EAP program I owned in the early 90's, but since I have never seen it duplicated, I thought I would share it and let you consider it for your EAP. You are welcome to use this idea by changing the name of the service to one you find suitable, but different than mine. The following background and rationale for this utilization hack is obvious. Many employees will never phone the EAP, and so you need to make every reasonable attempt to reach them. This does the trick. Create an order form with a large menu of wellness topics that include handout titles, tip sheet titles, or booklets on workplace wellness topics, such as those distributed by Abbey Press using their product called "CareNotes." Or, you can use the workplace wellness tip sheets from (purchase the entirely library here). On the order form, allow employees to confidentially choose five topics/titles. The form should be mailed via U.S. Postal mail to the EAP office. The EAP then fills the order and mails it back to the employee or family member. Distribute a postpaid envelope with it the order form for best results. Emphasize confidentiality. Only the EAP will receive the order from the employee. Postal mail is confidential of course. The beauty of this outreach technique is the opportunity to promote your EAP with a cover letter designed to encourage the employee or family member to visit the EAP for the issues or problems that concern them, identified in the titles they chose. Do this once per year. Have the employer to reimburse the EAP directly or make it a part of your service. The titles of the booklets distributed to employees are not shared with the employer. This is also an important part of the service and key to its effectiveness.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Can Mindfulness Help to Intervene with Our National Opioid Epidemic?

A new federally funded research project will attempt over a five-year period to demonstrate that mindfulness  will reduce a person’s craving for opioid painkillers and improve the ability to cope with the intense pain for which these drugs are most often prescribed. There is evidence already that mindfulness can have some impact on managing pain. (Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.) Here is the essence: The research will attempt to restore restoring brain levels of endorphins in patients with chronic back pain who are being treated with prescription opioids. This, in turn, will make it potentially possible to reduce addiction occurrence rates. The subjects will be military veterans who suffer with more pain, trauma, and serious problems with opioid addiction. The advantage of the research will be to extend its benefits and approach to opioid addiction treatment to other people in the general population. Here's what to do: 1) Check out this news article here. 2) Follow the research 3) Find and find out what they are doing and whether you can apply these techniques to supplement recovery and follow-up work if you are currently working with recovering addicts. This is a non-medical, non-invasive approach, and I would not hesitate to consider whether these approaches might help addicts, frankly, because prior research from the same researcher shows that mindfulness has an impact on some of this stuff. This researcher should be posting a twitter account or updates that can be tracked by the general public. Consider: "Prolonged opioid use changes the way the brain functions, leading to heightened pain sensitivity, insensitivity to natural pleasure, and vulnerability to addiction—factors that may result in opioid dose escalation, which can end in overdose and death. Based on the results of previous research, Eric Garland, Associate Dean at the University of Utah hopes that with this grant he will find evidence that mindfulness meditation training through this research will restore proper function to the brain’s opioid receptors.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Don't Keep Parents in the Dark about Club Drugs

If you are an EAP, be sure to offer parents information about Club drugs in addition to more common drugs of abuse like marijuana. Parents want to be informed and armed with information about substance abuse, but the one area of drug abuse that they will have the least knowledge about are "club drugs." Club drugs is a moniker assigned to psychotropic, elicit substances that are commonly used on dance floors, at raves, and in other party locations that are often hidden or otherwise protected from police raids. (Raves are wild, often drug-fueled parties.) Club drugs tend to be used by teenagers and young adults. Club drugs include GHB, Rohypnol®, ketamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine (Meth), and LSD (Acid). Any of these substances can be used as date rape drugs. Help parents know where to go to find more information about these substances. is the go-to source of information sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Did you know that in the past year 2.3 percent of 8th graders used Meth? Addiction can occur with one dose. What you do think the long-term prognosis for a great future might be for an 8th grade Meth user? Not good. You'll find a lot of information on the Web site above. Consider this resource on teen drug abuse at

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Increasing EAP Utilization Hack #17: Distribute an EAP Supervisor Newsletter

Create your own supervisor tips newsletter, or use ours, or someone's to build relationships with supervisors so they will naturally refer more often. You'll get more more EAP referrals, more at-risk employees, and you will see more alcoholic workers. Make it short. Make it sweet. Make it easy to read and relevant to supervisory issues, especially relationships, conflict, leadership, morale, productivity, team building, attitude issues, communication, and improving employee engagement. Send it monthly for maximum top-of-mind-awareness, not because I think you should, but because that is what is needed. Every marketer will tell you this--frequency is king, not quantity. A two page newsletter sent monthly is 50% more content per year than a four-page sent quarterly. And a 2-pager is more likely to be completely read. This is how you boost your EAP utilization. You also deepen your integration within the organization. Supervisors "sit" on troubled employees and often do not refer them until a crisis hits. It takes some nudging to get them to loosen their grip. This requires them trusting you, and then thinking of you first when a incident (or crisis) occurs. So also regularly educate supervisors about the EAP, how to refer to it, all the nuances associated with communicating effectively with you, how to avoid armchair diagnosis, how to follow up, how to help the EAP maintain and nurture the perception and reality of confidentiality, and remember to put yourself out there as a consultant regarding documentation, coaching, referral to the EAP, motivating of employees, engagement, conflict resolution, morale improvement, and making performance improvement plans more effective. You will grow your influence. Here is a sample supervisor newsletter and information.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Increase EAP Utilization Hack #19: Encourage DUI/DWI Court Programs to Refer to Your EAP

Employees of your company, or the companies you serve with your EAP, may get arrested for drunk driving. Establish relationships with the local courts, and specifically their municipal alcohol safety action DUI/DWI diversion programs to boost your EAP utilization rate. I've done it.

We're talking meeting with these professionals and discovering how you can help them with specific case management issues associated with clients who have eligibility to use your EAP. This could include family members.

ASAP or court-run alcohol-DUI/DWI intervention programs improve highway safety by reducing alcohol-related accidents and arrests. They are court-mandated programs for DUI and first-time drug offenders. ASAP evaluates those entering the program and recommends one or more of the following: driver education, alcohol/drug education, combination of education and counseling. All education is designed to prevent relapse and repeat offenses. By monitoring program participants, ASAP acts as a probation facility or diversion program for the courts. After completing the program, defendants either receive a certification of compliance or an order to return to court for noncompliance.

ASAP offices or similar services managing court referred DUI/DWI cases can use your services for assessment, follow-up, treatment referral, post-treatment monitoring, etc. And they have the power to make these referrals. Your EAP is voluntary, so the one caveat here is that the court can't force the offender to use your EAP, but a firm request will rarely be turned down by an anxious and cooperative client who would like to avoid going to jail. DUI staff counselors are swamped with cases. Many are difficult to follow up, and they experience frustrating communication with these court appointed clients, many of whom are alcoholic.

Some ASAP offices will accept the EAP's assessment, recommendations, and with the client's permission, allow the EAP to do the follow-up. As stated, most employees will readily accept a referral to the EAP when the ASAP counselor says, "You have an EAP with your company. We would like you to take advantage of its confidential services."

The chances are high that employees arrested for DUI are alcoholics, and this can further boost your alcohol-related EAP stats. There is nothing more valuable to an EAP than improving alcohol-related stats.

As you know, DUI and ASAP clients don't usually end up in treatment. And if they do, it is often poorly followed up--the most important aspect of treatment is follow up and aggressive participation in a program of recovery that does not dwindle. Many serious addicts get overlooked in DUI intervention programs, and your involvement may save lives on the highway if the alcoholic is motivated into treatment and properly followed up.

Call your court-run DUI/DWI intervention program. Meet to set up a cooperative relationship, and discuss how you might help them, help you. Synergy your efforts and boost your EAP utilization. Email me, and let me know how it goes.

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

Monday, March 21, 2016

EAP Utilization Hack #23: Create a Video to Orient Employees and Family Members

If you don't have an EAP orientation video on your Web site because it sounds too expensive or complicated, let me give you the story on doing this simply.

You can create such a video yourself--more useful and effective than a Hollywood movie--with professional narration that discusses the use of your program. You make it from a PowerPoint.
This is very easy to do and it can look stupendously professional.

You may have everything in-house to do this yourself already, but using an organization like, you can find 3-4 professionals, each with their own skills to piece together such a project for about $300-$500. Such a video will also help you compete in EAP proposals and in responding to RFPs because it will drive EAP utilization up, thereby reducing behavioral risk from at-risk employees.

Here are the steps:

1) Create your script. Make it about 15 slides. Plan 25-30 words (no more per slide.) Brainstorm with staff what will be in this PowerPoint. This entire move will last about 4-5 minutes.

2) Get a professional voice to create 15 mp3s from the scripts above. This will cost you about $25-$50.

3) Get a PowerPoint expert to create the slides with professional graphics. This will cost about $150-200. You can make awesome professional PowerPoints yourself by visiting and copying the techniques you see. Easy peasy. 

4) Get another PowerPoint person to sync the words with the images, and with the voice files that are inserted as sound objects using PowerPoint. This will cost about $50. If you understand PowerPoint, you can do this yourself.

5) Create a video from the PowerPoint Show using a software program like Wondershare or PresentationPro to turn the PowerPoint into a video. This software is about $200, but well worth it. You will use this in the future like crazy for other videos you can make.

Your done!!

Now you have something you can show in an auditorium with a laptop, put on the web, or put in a DVD. The real value of your video is reaching family members and otherwise unreachable employees who are not familiar with your EAP (yet). You can also email the video link anywhere.

The ability to work with family members is part of the historical purpose of EAPs. It is also part of the EAP standards. Managed care EAPs play this down, don't promote it, or avoid it altogether. Don't let this be you.

Use to create a custom link to your video that is easily remembered. Try something like, etc. Put in the emails, in your EAP newsletter, on business cards, an on EAP posters.

The above could skyrocket your EAP utilization. To see an examples of EAP orientation or "what the EAP can do for you" PowerPoint and Video, visit the preview page at

#EAP #employee assistance programs

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Improving EAP Utilization Hack #24: Engage Hospital Emergency Rooms to Refer Employees

If you could sit in an emergency room for a week, you would discover that about 3.5% of admissions would be alcohol-use/abuse/ism related and diagnosed upon admission by the ER docs.

There are many more patient admissions to hospitals that are in some way related to addictive disease, but are not necessarily treated or addressed. Many are ignored. In this case above, I am talking about obvious injury or health problems attributed to alcohol use/abuse. 

Many of these patients are in an acute state of remorse--a crisis exists--and the opportunity to successfully motivate them to enter treatment is high. A referral for help is easier than it will be tomorrow. As a bonus, a family member or concerned friend often accompanies these patients, and they add leverage and influence in the referral process.

If an ER patient is an employee of a company that your EAP serves, an eventual referral of the patient to your EAP by the ER staff during the ER visit could be a way to boost EAP utilization and your alcohol-related stats--the most precious kind.

The key is having the medical staff AND the social workers in the hospital know that you are available via referral--and having them remember your EAP. It's tricky. They should also be encouraged to have the patient phone the EAP at the ER (24/7 if need be) and leave a message for you to get back to them. In other words, this ball should start rolling immediately. The patient should not be sent out the door with just an EAP business card or number on a post-it note. You can kiss this sort of referral good-bye.

ERs will love you for this help because hospitals must refer patients to appropriate resources in the community, and why not have this be you? You can help them avoid the time-consuming brokering role by making yourself available, do an assessment, and motivate the patient/client to accept an appropriate level of care.

You need to create a communication system to help ensure a busy 3-shift, high turnover ER department remembers you. I can't say I know exactly how to do this, but I have ideas. I have walked the walk on this post by the way, but I did not have the communication piece right. If I attempted this again, I would simply send a monthly newsletter like Frontline Employee with a message or specially not on it after doing an inservice that provide CEU/CME credit.

Think about this EAP utilization hack #24. Make it work, and you may increase the relevance of your EAP, save more lives, and keep your program from becoming MCD'd (Managed Care Demised)

*Source: Page 20-22 of

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

EAP Utilization Hack #25: Educate Employees with a Family Empowerment Model of Alcoholism Intervention

I phoned the National Association of Social Workers about 20 years ago and spoke with the General Counsel (top dog attorney) about doing interventions using the traditional Johnson Institute approach (the approach where a counselor sits and "lightly guides" a family in confronting a practicing alcoholic to motivate them to enter treatment using a planned meeting that does not include the alcoholic knowing its true purpose.)

The advice was: It's unethical.

Why!? The lawyer said at the time that it violates client self-determination principles because the alcoholic family member is unaware of the true nature of a surprise family meeting. This could get a licensed professional in the helping professions sued. Working for a hospital at the time, I decided upon a different route (you know how paranoid hospitals are) and developed a "Family Empowerment Model" as I called it. It was also an adaptation from Scott McMillan's work and Ron Rogers work with inpatient alcoholics and their incredible writings on addictive disease. The gist: Using influence and leverage that naturally exists in relationships can help family members be successful in conducting interventions with affected loved ones. The upside of the Family Empowerment Model is teaching others to do interventions more easily, being able to teach more people faster, and reducing risk to the intervention specialist who does not meet with the alcoholic at all. The other upside is teaching intervention skills and allowing the family members to make a paradigm shift to seeing the alcoholic as responsible for treatment and getting effective help, making it non-negotiable, giving up on making addict responsible for the illness. Once this shift is made, which must be routed in education about addictive disease and its bio-genic nature, then all family members become unified, as a runaway train to get the alcoholic enter treatment--and insist so strongly, that they use every incidental crisis that follows any failed attempt--to do it again and again until they are successful. Have you noticed after 50 year,s how few JI traditional "family interventionists" are in your community? I bet you can't name more than one or two, if any at all. Why? If the JI model is so effective, how come there aren't dozens of mental health professionals in every town practicing it? One reason: It's hell. This approach is stressful, time consuming, risky, and costly. It requires an inordinate amount of time and it is not reality based. Why? Simply put, 99% of drug and alcoholism treatment admissions to hospitals occur as a result of family members saying and doing, accidentally on purpose, what worked to motivate the alcoholic or drug addict to enter treatment. They used leverage (the power of resources possessed by one or more persons in the relationship with the addict) and influence (the weight of the relationship's value and what it truly means to the addict) as the key drivers or tools to motivating the alcoholic to enter treatment. If you made it this far in this post, here is what I want to say to EAPs: Teach this stuff to employee clients to boost your EAP utilization.

#family intervention  #alcoholism intervention

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Employees Who Visit the EAP to Complain about the Supervisor

I would like to recommend again that you think about, and talk about ways in which your EAP protects the employer and serves as a huge, under-appreciated risk management "tool." My motivation of course is your survival! Here is one typical example, and you may want to be conversant with this example at the next board meeting. 

EAPs see employees who come to them for no other reason but to complain about the boss. It happens.

Whatever the case, we know that EAPs never tell the employee that they don’t handle these kinds of problems. Employees feel safe in coming to the EAP and know their concerns will be heard without prejudice. It is therefore not unusual for employees to visit the EAP complaining about the boss. After all, complaining about someone else is a common means of getting help for oneself, and it makes self-referral easier.

EAPs know this. It is always assumed that other issues exist beyond the primary complaint. These might include performance problems, personal problems, communication issues, poor coping strategies, mental health issues, and the like. Typically, employees are helped to better understand conflicts they are having with the boss and to resolve those conflicts in healthy ways through better communication skills or tasks associated with personal change. 

If it appears that an employee is a victim of an abusive supervisor, other internal resources are discussed. But never tell your employee to go get an attorney. This is about the dumbest thing you could do. It completely undermines the purpose of the EAP. The company, HR manager, owner, CEO -- they all deserve a whack at resolving the problem before the employee heads for the courthouse. Managing this type of case with finesse and maturity illustrates a priceless risk management role EAPs play. Whatever the problem, the EAP’s concern--your concern--should be for both the employee and the organization’s well-being (financial well-being). In nearly all cases, agitated employees voicing complaints about the supervisor are looking only to have a better relationship, so seek this as the goal. Do not align with an employee and inspire him or her to sue the organization--the one signing your check. You could end up without an EAP job, and I will lose you as a customer! In 30 years (actually more, but who's counting), I can think of no situation where an attorney referral to sue the company was better than a referral to the next level of management to resolve a problem.

#eap #employee assistance programs #

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Claim the High Ground to Grow Your Program's Influence

I am all for "program creep," as long as it's saving lives, saving employers' resources, and helping workplace wellness and employee assistance programs flourish.

When you see the WorkExcel online E-Newsletter this week, you will learn about new research associated with workplace wellness, employee behavior, and supervisor training.

If you are paying attention, you will see a few ideas, or at least the thought process, about how to grow your influence to make a bigger splash and a more significant contribution with your employee assistance program.

During the year, you certain problems, issues, and risks in the organization(s) you serve. Always have your thinking cap on and consider how you can apply the core technology to the problems you are spotting, especially when no other part of the organization is tackling these issues.

If the timing isn't right to act on these opportunities, consider placing recommendations in your EAP Annual report in the form of an "emerging issues section. "

Connect the problems to the cost benefit of their resolution and argue your case.

Be a creep. See this weeks E-newsletters:

Friday, January 29, 2016

EAPs: Say "People with Mental Illness", not "Mentally Ill"

This is not about political correctness. A new study says the most subtle differences in how mental health professionals refer to people who are mentally ill can affect how others perceive them and fuel stigma and discrimination. I believe it. When I was a student in graduate school, I worked in a half-way house residential setting for schizophrenics and severely mentally ill. The facility was an old Victorian home, with perhaps eight rooms. The program was hugely successful in behavioral contracting and getting people affected by mentally illness on their feet with jobs and proper med management. But, the culture of employees there was not conducive to de-stigmatizing (sp?) mental illness. Staff were absolute pros at their work, but they would use terms like "crazy" and make jokes about residents. This research goes much further that even this behind closed doors "gallows humor." Now research seems to address this problem in even more basic way, and I think EAP Employee Assistance Programs should read this research press release to help ensure they are setting the right examples in their work. For example, participants in a recent study were more likely to agree with the statement “the mentally ill should be isolated from the community” than the almost identical statement “people with mental illnesses should be isolated from the community.” Incredible. Here is the press release. Educate your student interns. Set the example, be a change agent regarding this problem.
#EAP Employee Assistance Programs

Thursday, January 21, 2016

For EAPs: Press Release from American College of Cardiology (ACC)

I am going to start sending printable press releases to EAP Employee Assistance Programs and those who sign up on this blog, so if you wish to tell people about this blog, please do so they can get this content.

I subscribe to hundreds of news feeds, and when something comes through that's useful, I will pass it on to you.

This one is on Cardiac Health and Exercise. It was issued two days ago by American College of Cardiology (ACC). These press releases I post here can be printed and copied, and should be. You can distribute them to your employees and wellness customers so you add value to what you do.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Employment Practices Liability Education of Supevisors by (EAP) Employee Assistance Programs

Everyday, supervisors face the need to resolve difficult and critical people problems. Intermingled with their decisions in managing these situations are tripwires that can cause large legal problems for themselves and the organization. Serious and unintentional mistakes can lead to severe organizational crises of a legal nature. So, it makes sense to educate yourself as an EAP Employee Assistance Program about "employment practices liability", all the possible forms it takes, and consider claiming the high ground as an educational resource if no one else in your organization (or the organization you serve) is playing this crucial and preventative role.  Here's the bottom line: If EAPs (meaning true core technology programs, please!) are primarily responsible for consulting with supervisors about troubled employees, and within the organization are seen is the front line contact for such assistance, then EAPs also have the most strategic role for reducing risk of employment practice related lawsuits as consultants to front line managers. So, let me ask if you have a good, solid, in-depth book on supervision malpractices, employment practices liability, and the proper approach to handling the many different types of difficult people problems?  I recommend you getting Joseph D Levesque's book, "The Human Resource Problem Solver's Handbook." It is a thick, highly detailed book on tons of issues managers face. You don't have to be a heart surgeon to share healthy eating information with employees so they can have a healthy heart. Right? So the same is true for legal issues. Educate supervisors about improper and questionable supervision practices that can get them and the company sued. You don't have to hire an employment law attorney to do a seminar. You can educate yourself as an EAP about all the various supervision practices and related interactions managers experience with employees and help them steer clear of those practices that can get them in trouble.

#EAP employee assistance programs

Thursday, January 14, 2016

You're Nothing Without Confidentiality

As an EA professional, do you acknowledge clients in the hallway when they say hello? What about public settings like groceries stores? If a client approaches you in the hallway, do you fail to minimize the amount of time engaging with him or her? Do you accept invitations to Christmas parties? Are you an assistant Scout Master with the local Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troop that happens to be the same troop where an employee (not a client) in your organization also volunteers? Would you attend the wedding of an EAP client--you know, the one you helped get sober three years ago who is now an outstanding worker and is so grateful for you "single-handily" saving his life?" There is nothing inherently wrong with engaging clients in the community, but this activity--the appearance, no matter how slight, of having a different kind of relationship with one employee over another can destroy your EAP's confidentiality in a flash, demotivate and cause would-be clients to stay away, and increase risk to your organization because these same employees might also be the most at-risk. There are only three types of employees in the entire world of work on planet earth--supervisors, employees, and employee assistance professionals. This metaphor exaggerates the point I am trying to make here. You can't afford to look and be more friendly or emotionally close with clients or potential clients in your organization. And every employee is a potential client. Doing so creates a dual-relationship that undermines your appearance of neutrality-a source of confidential help. This happens because it instantly appears that you a have closer non-professional relationship with some over others. This makes you suspect as to being unable to keep a secret to some employees who have different or no relationship with those same employees. The thought will cross an employee's mind, "Can you be trusted?" Being friends or having informal social engagements with clients, employees, or supervisors is a recipe for frightening away potential clients and undermining your program. If employee X does not trust employee Y, but you appear to be friends with employee Y, what happens? Answer: X stays away from the EAP. The dominoes fall from there.

#eap employee assistance program