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: