How Does EAP Help?

How Does EAP Help?

EAPJuly 20, 2017

You likely know how our Employee Assistance Program works and why every company needs one. But have you ever wondered how EAP has helped employees and employers in real-life situations? Today, we’re sharing stories and testimonials to show you how EAP truly makes a difference in the workplace. All testimonials come from our trusted source, FrontLine Supervisor.

1) “I’m concerned that my employee is abusing the funeral leave policy. How should I handle it?”

Employees on funeral leave, responsible for managing the affairs of the deceased, may experience additional distress or suffer from grief that affects them later, because they postponed self-care while attending to the needs of others. Suggesting the EAP is always a good idea for any problem. Dozens of things could explain the absence, but you can refer your employee to the EAP based on a finding of funeral leave abuse. EAPs have discovered that problems like this are often multifaceted. An employee may be grief-stricken, depressed, abusing leave, relapsing into an addiction problem, looking for another job, taking vacation, or all of these things at the same time! This is why EAPs exist—to help sort out the issues and help organizations retain valuable workers.

2.“I know EAP is available to consult with me on troubled employees. What other types of help is available to supervisors from the EAP?”

Beyond consulting with EAP about performance issues and referrals, consider the EAP as an expert source of help and guidance in five additional areas:
1) Improving relationships with your employees by examining your strengths, communication style, and any opportunities for improving these skills
2) Discovering ways to engage individual employees and motivate them, based on your observations of their work habits and personality styles
3) Assistance for yourself in understanding how to better manage stress
4) Help for difficulties you face in communicating, engaging, and satisfying the needs of upper management
5) Guidance in managing team communication, team development, and resolving conflicts among employees, especially where personalities clash

3. “How can the EAP help my employees with customer service stress?”
Consider surveying employees to see where their ‘pain points’ are regarding customer service stress. This is a broad topic and could include burnout, physical demands, dealing with angry customers, and so on. Use the survey to better understand your group, and you can meet with the EAP to better discuss how the EAP can meet the specific needs of your group or individual employees. Retaining good customer service workers by helping them deal with stress is a smart move—and a cost-beneficial one that could help you retain your stars.”

4. “I have always been a little hesitant about referring workers to EAP. Instead, I have discussed personal problems with them. This is not the right approach. Can you help me with this issue?”

This is a “dual relationship” conflict, where the employment relationship interferes with your ability to play the role of a counselor or problem solver. You cannot successfully alter this dynamic. Playing both roles of boss and counselor interferes with employees’ ability to share complete information that is potentially critical to resolving their problem. You may hear only 95 percent of what’s going on, and therefore offer the wrong advice, discuss the wrong problem, or at best facilitate half-measures that make the problem worse. A better approach is to encourage your employees to phone the EAP and make their own decision. Confidentiality rules associated with EAPs are the strictest of their kind. Consider talking with the EAP about confidentiality. You’ll discover how truly safe EAPs are for employees to use.

4. “My employee came to my office the other day to say he was being followed by agents of a foreign country. He acts sincere, but I know this is mental illness. How do I get the EAP involved?”

Your employee’s behaviors could be explained by mental illness, such as a type of schizophrenia, but an evaluation would be needed to learn more. You can start by suggesting the employee visit the EAP, or consult with the EAP about the steps to take.

5. “How can supervisors support employees who suffer from depression?”
Recognize that depression is a disease like other chronic illnesses. Symptoms may lead employees to be less assertive about their needs or when discussing their thoughts, feelings, or ideas around a project or work problem. Do not misinterpret this as laziness or unprofessionalism. If your workplace is under stress, and serious changes are at hand, this can also make depression worse. Encourage all employees to be open with you about their needs and how you can support them. Remind them as appropriate to reach out to the EAP, but also hold employees to the standards reasonably expected for their positions. This can help troubled employees in general seek help sooner from the EAP, no matter what their problem might be.

6. “I am concerned about an employee who works too much. What should I do?”

Encourage a self-referral to the EAP based on your concern about the level of overwork. Later, if needed, make a more formal referral for failure to maintain the level of performance standards. All employees bring their personalities to work, and sometimes these include mental health issues. These issues do not necessarily interfere with work or become concerns for management. However, when they do, disturbances in personal and work boundaries will typically become noticeable. EAPs are in an ideal spot to help employers address issues of this sort so valuable workers with treatable conditions can remain gainfully employed.

7. “I have an employee who comes to work with a slight smell of alcohol on the breath. He appears perfectly sober and capable of work. I haven’t had a problem at all with him. Should I be concerned?”

Don’t ignore this any longer. You should review your company’s drug and and alcohol policy for guidance on how to proceed. Also consult with the EAP and your manager. Workplaces are different and so are drug and alcohol policies.

If you are interested in bringing EAP to your workplace, please contact us!