The Need for Employee Counseling Have you ever seen people: Struggling due to high levels of anxiety? Refusing treatment for a treatable condition? Experiencing job burnout? Involved in efforts to promote good health?
Personal problems are a part of life Personal problems affect job performance Healthcare costs continue to rise Reducing tardiness, absenteeism, lost time and workers compensation saves money Reducing turnover can improve productivity and the bottom line
Addressing Employee Well-Being Promotes employee morale Reduces the impact of external factors on work Promotes productivity – Cheaper to train, treat, and retain existing workers than to hire new ones
Employee Counseling as an HRD Function Counseling serves the same goal as other HRD activities – Improving/maintaining worker performance Same techniques are used, especially coaching Same kinds of analysis and planning needed
Overview of Counseling Programs 1. Problem Identification 2. Education 3. Counseling 4. Referral 5. Treatment 6. Follow-up
Problem Identification 1. Screening device 2. Absenteeism records 3. Supervisors observations 4. Referral 5. Voluntary participation
Education Pamphlets Videos Lectures Unsolicited – Television – Radio – Other media
Counseling Needs a non-threatening person with whom the worker can discuss problems and seek help. Options include: – Supervisor/coach – Ombudsman – HRD Counselor – Professional Counselor
Referral Directing employee to appropriate resources for assistance – e.g., – Physician – Substance abuse treatment center – Marriage counselor – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – Other options (clergy)
Treatment The actual intervention to solve the problem – e.g., – 1. Group therapy – 2. Medications – 3. Individual therapy – 4. Psychological therapy
Follow-up Needed to: – Ensure the employee is indeed carrying out the treatment – Obtain information on employee progress – Ensure that referrals and treatment are effective
A Caution About Employee Counseling All six approaches are not always needed The following issues drive which approach is taken: – Type of problem identified – Appropriate response – Available resources
Who Provides Employee Counseling? Depends on the organization and organizational culture Can be done using: – Corporate resources (In-house) – Outside resources (Out-of-house)
In-House Efforts Advantages: Internal control Familiarity with organization Better coordination of efforts Sense of ownership Greater internal credibility Disadvantages: Confidentiality Lack of needed resources Employee reluctance to use services Limitations in staff skill and expertise
Contracting Externally (Out-of- House) Advantages: Subject matter experts Confidentiality easier to maintain Lower cost Better identification and use of resources Disadvantages: Lack of on-site services Possible communications problems Lack of organizational knowledge
Characteristics of Effective Programs 1. Top management support 2. Clear policies and procedures 3. Cooperation with unions and employee groups 4. A range of care: – Referral to community resources – Follow-up
Characteristics of Effective Programs 5. Policy of guaranteed confidentiality 6. Maintenance of records for program evaluation 7. Health insurance benefit coverage for services 8. Family education
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are employee benefits programs offered by many employers, typically in conjunction with a health insurance plan. EAPs are intended to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health, and well-being. EAPs generally include assessment, short-term counseling and referral services for employees and their household members.
PURPOSE The purpose of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is to improve the psychological health of your employees. It will help your staff develop coping skills and accept a greater degree of personal responsibility. It will help them resolve their individual, marital, family and job performance problems. As a result, their productivity and attendance will improve.
FEATURES Direct Access: Employees call the psychologist's office directly. Quick Response: The first counselling session occurs within a few days, and a crisis is dealt with immediately. Professional: Counsellors have their Doctorate degree in clinical psychology, and are experts in human behaviour. Confidentiality: The employer never knows who uses the service. Off-Site: Counselling takes place at the Psychologist's office. Direct Treatment: Referrals are made only when the patient requires another specialist or long-term care. Appropriate Coverage: 24 hours a day hot-line with offices in towns and cities in which employees are located
Employees and their household members may use EAPs to help manage issues in their work and personal lives. EAP counsellors typically provide assessment, support, and, if needed, referrals to additional resources. The issues for which EAPs provide support vary, but examples include: Substance abuse Safe working environment Emotional distress Major life events, including births, accidents and deaths Health care concerns Financial or legal concerns Family/personal relationship issues Work relationship issues Concerns about aging parents
SUBSTANCE ABUSE Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Psychoactive substance use can lead to dependence syndrome - a cluster of behavioural, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.
People abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons, but it is clear that our society pays a significant cost. The toll for this abuse can be seen in our hospitals and emergency departments through direct damage to health by substance abuse and its link to physical trauma. Jails and prisons tally daily the strong connection between crime and drug dependence and abuse. Although use of some drugs such as cocaine has declined, use of other drugs such as heroin and "club drugs" has increased.
Behavior Patterns That Could Indicate A Potential Substance Abuse Problem Absenteeism On-The-Job Absences High Accident Rates Job Performance Issues Poor Relationships with coworkers
MENTAL HEALTH The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder.
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES Individual adjustment problems External factors Divorce and marital problems Depression and suicide attempts Difficulties with family or children Legal and financial problems
EAPs are based on the premise that work is very important to people, the work itself is not the cause of the employees problem. Consequently, the workplace can be a means to get people help. The supervisor plays a key role in getting help for the employee. Often, however, the supervisor denies the problem and even enables the troubled employee to continue the problem behavior. The supervisor is critical in confrontational process with the troubled employee. Therefore, education is necessary to eliminate the supervisors tendency to enable the employee by denying the problem. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Information about the employees job performance is extremely important in diagnosis and treatment. It can be used to measure and track whether treatment is successful. Workplace peers and union stewards are very important, however they too can deny the problem and enable the employee to continue the behavior. Teaching them to confront and consequently break the denial barrier is an important element. Job leverage is the key ingredient in helping an employee. The counselor must be able to use this in conjunction with supervisor. EAPs concentrate on job performance issues. They are not intended to be medical programs.
Cost – effectiveness is an important consideration and must be addressed with upper management. The EAP professionals knowledge about addiction is paramount. Every EAP should be staffed by licensed professional s who are familiar with addictions and other employee personal problem.
EFFECTIVENESS OF EAPs Effectiveness is generally accepted Estimated 50% to 85% effectiveness rate Estimated savings of $2 to $20 per dollar invested in EAP However, much EAP evaluation is subjective, and strongly criticized
EAPs AND THE HRD PROFESSIONAL EAPs are often housed within the HRD area of the organization HRD must determine: – Costs vs. benefits of the program in monetary terms – Whether its cheaper to replace an individual than to successfully treat that person Healthcare organizations are increasingly involved in EAPs (behavioral healthcare management)
WHAT IS STRESS ? Stress is the wear and tear our minds and bodies experience as we attempt to cope with our continually changing environment. SOURCES OF STRESS: 1) internal 2) external
THE ALARM REACTION Increased gland activity Increased heart beat and respiration Elevated blood pressure Body poised for action Insomnia FIGHT OR FLIGHT REACTION
COMPONENTS OF STRESS Stressor Psychological or physical response to stressor Interaction between the stressor and the individuals response
TYPES OF STRESSORS Physical Social Psychological
ORGANIZATIONAL STRESSORS Factors intrinsic to job Organizational structure and control Reward systems Human resource systems Leaderships
SMIs Stress management interventions or programs are defined as any activity, program or opportunity initiated by an organization, which focuses on reducing the presence of work – related stressors or an assisting individuals to minimize the negative outcomes of exposures to these stressors
TYPES OF SMIs Educational Skill- acquisition oriented
EFFECTIVENESS OF SMIs Look for specific issues with employees Assessment Specific and focused solutions Strategic interventions Evaluation and feedback
EMPLOYEE WELLNESS AND HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAMS Employee wellness programs (EWPs) or Health Promotion Programs (HPPs) are made up of activities that ensure employee health and fitness. Wellness is more than mere absence of disease. These Programs attempt to encourage individuals to adopt lifestyle that maximize overall well-being.
Three Levels of Fitness and Wellness Programs ODonnell describes three levels at which fitness and wellness programs can be implemented. Level 1 – primarily educational without interventions Level 2 – seeks to bring about direct change: – Supervised exercise, fitness centers, etc. Level 3 – institutionalized wellness
Ten Dimensions of Work Site Wellness Heirich described 10 dimensions of worksite wellness programs: 1.Establishing a Constructive wellness policy 2. Conducting wellness screening 3.Establishing Working relationships with community resources 4. Employee referrals to treatment and health- improvement interventions. 5. Menu-approach to health improvement
Ten Dimensions of Work Site Wellness 6. Outreach and follow-up counseling 7. wellness events carried for entire organization. 8. Worksite policies and systems 9. Ongoing evaluation of wellness process 10. Periodic evaluation of cost-benefits of wellness programs
Exercise and Fitness Interventions 1. Most popular interventions 2. Even modest exercise helps prevent disease 3. Research shows effectiveness Problem: Getting those who would benefit the most to exercise
Smoking Cessation Programs Smoking: most publicized health risk Cost per smoking employee: $2,853 per year more than nonsmokers Measuring effectiveness: – Quit rate – Percentage of smokers in program Cost Benefit: $8 saved for $1 spent
Nutrition and Weight Control Obesity: 30% or more over ones ideal weight 30% of Americans are obese; another 34% are overweight Obesity causes hypertension, musculoskeletal problems, high blood sugar, and cholesterol levels Competition helps program effectiveness
Control of Hypertension Hypertension – blood pressure greater than 140/90 repeatedly over time Greater incidence of heart disease and stroke – Control through, exercise, weight loss, medication, stress reduction and low salt diet Benefit: $1.89 to $2.72 reduction in health claims per dollar spent on program
Overall Effectiveness of Health and Wellness Programs Organizations should have multiple components to their health and wellness programs Studies and Research demonstrate reductions in sick leave, health plan costs, and workers compensation costs of over 25%. Challenge : 1.To get more organizations to implement such inclusive wellness programs 2.To see that more individuals take part in them.
52 Issues in Employee Counseling 1. Effectiveness of programs 2. Legal issues 3. Who is responsible for counseling? 4. Ethical issues 5. Unintended negative outcomes
) 53 Effectiveness of Counseling Determine organizational demographics Determine expected participation rates Estimate start-up and maintenance costs Implement test and tracking system Measure pre- and post program Analyze results for users and non-users Do present and future cost-benefit analyses
54 Legal Issues Using counseling programs to comply with legislation may increase liability to lawsuits: – Must be equally available to all – Erroneous assessments are made Injuries in wellness/fitness programs can lead to lawsuits
Responsibility for Employee Counseling HRD Professionals? Supervisors? Unions? Management? Individuals? What are your thoughts?
Ethical Issues Confidentiality: – Records should be held in strictest confidence, and kept separate from the employees regular personnel file – Release only with specific employee permission Nature of Participation: – Mandatory versus voluntary
Question Should participation be mandatory or voluntary? Why?
Potential Unintended Negative Outcomes Increased workers compensation costs Employee scheduling problems, increased fatigue, lower performance Conflicts at work over smoking bans
Closing Thoughts EAPs show that companies care HRD professionals have the skills and expertise to provide EAP information Promoting employee health and well-being can contributes positively to an organizations bottom line.
Summary Employee well-being affects ability, availability, and readiness to perform a job Employee counseling encompasses a lot of areas It is an HRD function that: – Ensures that employees are now effective contributors to the organization, and that they will continue to be in the future – Needs professionals who are qualified to deal with the difficult issues involved with this topic