HR / EA: WHAT IS?
Human Resources work with recruiting, hiring, training, disciplining employees. Employee Assistance programs are worksight-based programs designed to assist in the identification and resolution of organizational-related problems or the further enhancement of a well functioning organization. HR/EA professionals are trained to assist employers/employees with almost any issue or problem that might arise.
HR / EA: WHY HAVE IT?
There is an urgent need for business owners to contain costs and achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness with fewer staff—this is a catalyst behind small office HR/EA Services. It costs a bundle to recruit and train employees. But it cost even more to loose them because of fixable problems.
HR / EA: WHERE? In-house or Off-site?
An on-sight setting (at your place of business) provides your staff with a perfect forum in which to learn. It lets them get their questions answered on the spot and gives them the opportunity to try new skills under the watchful eye of an expert. You can train a specific group or everyone. It’s cost effective. The training is tailored. It is hassle free. It can raise the skill levels of everyone simultaneously.
HR / EA: WHO TO RETAIN?
Benefits for retaining an external HR/EA Consultant are maximum independence and minimum bureaucracy. An external consultant is not involved in the company politics, they can be more objective. Periodic meetings with key personnel help identify various needs, concerns and strategies, while clarifying expectations.
TRADITIONAL SERVICES INCLUDE:
* Management Consultation
* Education and Skills Training
* Outplacement Counseling
* Crisis Incidence Stress Management.
* Behavioral Health Care/Employee Counseling
* Intervention in the Workplace
THE STRUCTURE OF ORGANIZATIONS
Some think the structure of an organization is the organizational chart. Others think structure means organizational workflow and internal processes. Rather, the structure is the pattern of inter-related relationships among key components of the system—predominantly, the human components. That might include the hierarchy and process flows, but it also includes attitudes and perceptions, quality of work, ways in which decisions are made and a hundred other factors. In the realm of management and leadership, many people are educated to see organizations as things rather than patterns of human interaction.
HR and EA Relations
An External HR/EA consultant can play an important role in furthering the work of human resource management in an organization. HR management has evolved from the traditional recruitment/compensation/ employee relations. While the objective of HR management is still to attract and retain the best employees, the focus on how to do that has shifted. Today's employees want flexible hours, benefits, training, and education, and many are willing to trade the job security of the past for the opportunity to grow professionally. As a result, organizations have become transitory. This atmosphere of detachment causes anxiety for many employees. A caring organization can provide a point of attachment for employees, and the best way to do that is through an HR/EA consultant. A close relationship between human resources and employee assistance services is especially important given the growing tendency of organizations to retain mediators to improve relations between supervisors and subordinates.
HR and EAP Services for the SMALLER BUSINESS
HR/EAP Services for smaller businesses help maximize both the business and the human potential through...increased awareness & insight, improved communications and new skills. Successful businesses benefit from seeing things differently and making different choices. Because of this, the growth and continuing development of employee assistance programs have been spectacular and are used by more small businesses than ever before. The profile is of a smaller business often enables negative behaviors. They allow such behaviors to occur because their focus is on something other than human resource issues. What I basically advocate and what I have been communicating for years is that smaller businesses need to survive or thrive based on the quality and motivation of key employees. HR/EAP Services help guide them through the path of developing various programs and putting in place the policies and procedures needed.See problems of small businesses.
INCONSISTENCIES PROMOTE INEQUALITY
After almost 20 years in the Employee Assistance Profession, I have seen a common theme arise in many small (and large) businesses. That is the issue of inconsistency within the functioning of the organization in relationship to policies, procedures and rules. Inconsistencies promote inequality: inequality occurs when personnel are treated differently via exceptions to rules, policies and procedures. Inconsistencies in evaluations, expectations, procedures for promotion, and even in leadership techniques can cause severe problems within an organization. This is an area that can be corrected with clearly defined procedures that are expressed to all staff such as clear agendas, goals, timelines, and clearly defined roles and tasks for all personnel. "An organization is the extension of the individuals in it. Human potential is realized and maximized as new learning is lived. The prescription for change takes place over time with an agreement, investment and co-commitment."
Organizations are often effective in dealing with problems in marketing, promotions, budget planning and technical skills, but presenting the greatest challenge is the human element. An organization is the sum of its human potential. And, the problem most organizations face are human problems, covering such issues as conflicts, opposing perceptions, ineffective and limited human relations skills, and a array of negative, counter-productive behaviors. For years, businesses have sidestepped the word personality, always leaning toward the term observable behaviors. Nevertheless, call it what it is—behavior is personality; personality is behavior. Personalities are those endearing features of an individual, which account for their characteristic ways of behaving. Personality refers to patterns of behavior. Personality Management is concerned with the growth of cognitive and social competencies. The goal is to obtain a clearer understanding of the images, assumptions, and stories that are carried in your mind about yourself, other people, institutions, and every aspect of the world. You cannot navigate throughout your complex environment without a cognitive mental map. Unfortunately, most of these mental maps, by definition of their subjectivity, are flawed in some way. By working with individuals, an organization succeeds as the individuals succeed. The organization is able to set and attain goals by using all of its potential resources. Personality Management provides a format to resolve issues that stand in the way of an organization’s success. The organization, its goals, and the individuals in the organization must be treated as a complex and dynamic unit. Held closely within the concepts of traditional management and leadership, many are conditioned to see businesses as a thing, rather than as dynamics of interaction. Managers look for solutions to fix problems, as if problems are external to individuals and can be fixed without fixing whatever is within the individuals that lead to the creation of the problems. Personality Management helps individuals develop new skills and abilities, which enable them to do more and understand more. As new levels of awareness and sensitivity develop, so do new abilities and perceptions. The individuals begin to see and experience life differently.
HUMAN POTENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE
Organizational teams, while their purposes and history may differ dramatically, have very similar patterns of behavior, leading to very similar problems. These might come to the surface as personality clashes, anger, jealousy, hostility and even incompetence. Unfortunately, many relationships are characterized by a phoniness that undermines genuine dialogue and honest feedback. Organizations that try to correct these personality issues, without mediation or intervention, are often blind-sided by darker feelings and behavior resulting in damaged relationships, split-up organizations, and reduced work flow. EAP Advisory Services promote team development and cohesiveness. A team is any group of people who need each other to accomplish a result (Marriage Relationships, Co-workers, Business partners). This focus includes creating courteous behaviors, improving communication, performing every day work tasks together and building strong relationships. What are productive human relation skills? The most important skills for human relations are communications, mediation, understanding perception, and problem solving.
EARLY FOCUS REEMERGES
In the early days, EAP’s were primarily concerned with substance abuse. EA professionals who were successfully convincing their companies to acquire substance abuse and/or other behavioral health benefits coverage. The Entrance of Managed Care: Rapidly escalating benefit expenditures had become a hot issue in the 1980’s. As a result, large venture-backed behavioral healthcare firms were formed and began to dominate benefits management functions. EAP-type managed care system works to proactively encourage individuals to seek help using the least intrusive level of care that has a chance of being successful. As EAP’s grew in popularity among employers, managed care firms began offering what they called "EAP". EAP Advisory Services help identify and assist employees and family members who have serious personal problems that either currently or predictably affect work performance. An EAP Advisory Consultant is concerned with the cost of not treating these problems, while managed care is concerned with the costs of actually treating these problems. This difference in approach and focus accounts for much of the conflict and philosophical disagreements that exists today between behavioral health managed care and EAPs.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE
The reality of the workplace is that a startling number of us have serious personal problems that overlap into our professional lives and impair job performance. HR/EA professionals are on the front line in dealing with mental illness and addiction in the workplace and dealing with the inappropriate shame and stigma that compound these problems. Statistics: An estimated 43 million Americans suffer from some form of mental distress or mental illness, and 5 million have severe mental illness. Severe and pervasive mental illness contributes to greater losses in productivity and greater levels of disabilities than almost any category of illness in the Unites States. Two major challenges for HR/EA professionals are: 1) Convincing employers that diseases like depression and addiction disorders are real, diagnosable, and treatable and above all contribute to lost productivity and 2) Proving that it is worthwhile to identify and target these disorders for intervention in the workplace. Diseases such as depression and alcoholism are still under-recognized and under-treated, and as HR/EA professionals can attest, they markedly impair performance on the job, ability to work and even ability to show up at work. Organizational psychology has a history that dates back at least until the 1920’s. Most recently, there has been a resurgence of psychological/behavioral health interest in the workplace. EMPLOYER HEALTH EXPENSES: In general, employers' health expenses are viewed as the "middle line." Companies' "bottom lines" reflect both their "top line" (total sales and revenues) and their "middle line" (business expenses). Most employer health efforts today are focused on the middle line?on reducing the costs of identifying and treating disease or behavioral problems. This is an "illness" approach to health. The alternative is a "wellness" approach that can influence a company's top line. This approach takes the view that corporate success has less to do with cost avoidance or cost reduction than with the benefits of having great employees. A top-line approach recognizes that in order to be successful in today's rapidly changing global marketplace, companies need people who are immensely creative and adaptable, are committed to quality, and who take personal responsibility not only for getting their work done but also for seeking new opportunities to advance the business. Top-line human capital management activities are designed to attract, retain, and motivate healthy and productive employees who can contribute to the success, growth, and adaptability of the business.
Attitude and relational problems can do more damage to your business -- and cut deeper into your profits -- than any other problems you face.
The two most common reasons why organizations seek help are impasses in relationships and problematic behavior they feel can’t be managed or controlled. Let’s face it, organizations are people and people are flawed. Psycho-politics or psycho-power dramas are a part of every organization. So, do the solutions to organizational problems lie with a person, a group of people or the organization? The answer is all three. Because all businesses have organizational psychology problems, an HR/EA process with its adaptability and flexibility will help organizations achieve solutions. An EAP professional should ask this question, "How can I work with the organization where they are currently, while keeping in sight where they wish to be?" In doing so, the organization’s past and present becomes a road map for the future with opportunities to educate, resolve conflicts, correct behavior problems, or recommend changes in personnel, systems, and marketing. HR/EA services can move an organization, and the individuals that make up the organization, gradually and persistently toward change, growth and development.
The term "presenteeism" is being used to describe people who physically are at work but aren't fully present. Their bodies are at work, but not necessarily their minds and souls. HR/EA Services can influence presenteeism, both from an illness approach?by reducing the influences that keep people from being present at work?and from a wellness approach. HR/EA Services are one of the few organizational functions that can help employees be more truly available to their work and their fellow employees through training and coaching employees?increasing skillful communications, team work and promoting a more emotionally intelligent workplace.
HR / EA COACHING
Human Resource and Employee Assistance Coaching (HR/EAC) is about partnering with clients for their success by listening, asking questions to clarify, encouraging them to think outside the proverbial "box," endorsing, validating, brainstorming and strategizing. At the heart of coaching is a belief in your clients. If they say they want to do something, help them do it. Coaching has emerged on the corporate, as well as the personal, all-improvement landscapes as the new, exciting way to have a more purposeful life, both professionally and personally. Coaching helps improve work interactions and leadership skills. Clients can be in every corner of the globe, since most coaching is done via phone or e-mail. Coaching is collaborating in the active discovery process with clients.
EAP ADVISORY SERVICES DETAIL
Functional Focus: Manages complexities in business operations and environments, specializations, hierarchy and structures, delineation of boundaries of authority and responsibility. Process Focus: Application of behavioral sciences to change management facilitation and organizational structure. Concerned with the soft side of change: people, attitudes, culture, politics, facilitation and communication. Process management is proactive and preventative—focusing on cost-containment, systemic relations and employee involvement. Total Quality Management Focus: Concerned with the hard side of change: statistical quality control, rigorous standards, discipline and management by fact.
Education and Skills Training
Job Coaching: The focus is to maintain supportive contact with staff through difficulties, keeping employees connected with the workplace. Job coaches provide specialized on-site training, identifying ways for the employee to perform his or her job successfully. They teach employees effective and socially appropriate ways to interact with others.
Executive Coaching: Smaller work forces have thrown many top executives into close contact with front line employees for the first time. The workplace now demands leaders who can stretch and deal effectively with a relentlessly changing environment.
Services include three elements: 1) Prepare the company to conduct sensitive terminations and support the remaining employees. 2) Help laid off employees move to a new job, and 3) Help remaining employees feel secure in their positions.
Crisis Incidence Stress Management
Eighty-four percent of employees experience at-work emotional, cognitive or physical reactions to critical incidents (death or serious injury of a co-worker, employee suicide, situations that threaten life or safety, lay-offs, business closures, radical changes in management or policies). The goal of CISM is to provide the support necessary to ensure optimum functioning, enhance job retention capabilities, resolve issues in a timely manner and promote well-being for both the organization and its staff.
Behavioral Health Care/Employee Counseling
Just as family physicians help people who are physically ill or injured, behavioral health care professionals help people overcome emotional, mental or behavioral problems that can interfere with every day life. Getting help with an emotional problem is a wise step. Not only do clients benefit from the counseling services they receive, so do those closest to them--family members, friends and co-workers. EAP Advisory Services activate interventions to remedy problems: absenteeism, slowdowns, stress and grievances.
Is there a need for employee counseling? See For Your Information
Intervention in the workplace
* It is a process that works to increase self-understanding, to develop awareness of interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all aspects of the organization.
* It is a process that deals effectively with personality conflicts, problems, opposing perceptions, sensitive issues, etc.
* It is a process that is equally accessible to everyone in the organization.
* It is a process that does not have to involve personnel files, due process, disciplinary procedures or supervisors.