Why Don't More Employees Use EAP Services?

Let's discuss one of the best-kept secrets in the business world: Employee Assistance Programs. As an increasing number of employers offer this valuable benefit, a shockingly low number of employees actually utilize it.  The reasons for this are varied, yet boil down to four key points. That is, people are concerned that the services aren't confidential; they don't want to face the stigma associated with seeking help; they mistakenly believe they need permission to access the services; and they are unaware that such services exist.

As an employer, it's important to break down each of these concerns so that more employees access this remarkable service. Here, we tackle each one.

People Worry That It's Not Confidential

Understandably, people worry that their private struggles will become public knowledge if they access their company EAP. As a result, leaders need to consistently inform employees how the EAP program works, beginning with the fact that confidentiality is guaranteed so long as the threat of harm isn't present. “I can't tell you the number of times I've had to tell employees not to worry about the confidentiality aspect because their information is protected by HIPAA. If an EAP vendor were to provide us with information about a specific employee's conversations with a counselor, not only would the vendor get sued, but we'd get sued as well, especially if we made any employment decisions based on that information,” explained Bruce Elliott, compensation and benefits manager for the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource Management.

People Worry About the Stigma

Asking for help is difficult. Asking for help from a stranger ratchets up the challenge tenfold. It proves to be too big a hurdle for many people, particularly men who face overwhelming pressure to be strong and all-knowing. Of employees who access EAP services, 60 percent of them are female. As an employer, it's useful to bestow a sense that everyone struggles with problems and consequently, everyone needs help, notes Steve Albrecht of Psychology Today. "Each of these concerns can be addressed urgently and competently by EAP professionals, who may have a list of resources where they can refer the employee as well," he stated.

People Worry That They Must Ask for Permission

Similar to the concern about confidentiality, employees don't want to ask for their supervisor's permission in order to access EAP services. Needing to do so is perceived as an unnecessary hurdle that reduces any chance of keeping information private. Again, an employer can avoid this barrier by explaining the EAP process. Specifically, employees must understand that they don't need to go through Human Resources nor ask anyone for permission. Flexibility is also paramount to many EAP programs; that is, therapists will often meet in an office, over the phone, or at a person's place of employment in order to be accommodating.

People Are Unaware of the EAP

Despite the prevalence of such programs, a large number of employees simply don't know the benefit is available. Communication is a powerful way to overcome this hurdle. Employees should be informed of the EAP during orientation and periodically thereafter.

As an employer, you may wonder just how often people are using the EAP program your company offers. Given the potential benefits such a program has for an employer, it would be wise to reflect on the obstacles and try to eliminate them.

Categories:EAP Effectiveness

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How to Improve Employee Performance Through Training

Even if you are very thorough during your hiring process, there is always a way to improve your employee performance. With employees that are under performing, it is a good idea to reinforce good habits. The best way to accomplish these things is though training and there are multiple ways you can do it.

Inspiring Motivation

When done correctly, trainings can inspire motivation. When your employees are motivated, they will perform better. This is a good strategy when the performance of your employees is not based on their skills but rather their mindset. When you are trying to inspire motivation, you must make the trainings fun and find ways to incorporate interaction. The old way of training employees through a classroom environment will not cut it. You must find ways to inspire engagement and motivation through the training and beyond.

Generate Confidence

For some employees, one of the main reasons that they may be under performing is because they are not confident in the job they are doing. This comes back to really understanding what they are doing and what is expected of them on a daily basis. Take a look at your core employee groups and find ways to incorporate training that will help all of them gain more confidence. When an employee is confident in what they are doing and understand how to complete a task, they will tend to be more productive and efficient.

Reinforce Core Skills

At the basis of any job are core skills. While more people already have them and utilize them well, there are many ways they can improve. When you are considering potential trainings for your employees, you should find a way to focus on core skills. Provide your employees with all of the tools they will need to get the job done starting with the basics. Not only should you reinforce these core skills but you should show them ways to improve upon them so they can begin to perform them better. It is important to understand that they will already have a basic knowledge of the subjects but will benefit from a deeper understanding and some tips they may not have had before.

Expand Their Vision

During training sessions, you should aim to help the employees develop a greater vision for their work than they already do. You can do this in multiple ways such as reinforcing the vision of the company, showing how the company has grown in recent years or months, or even by inspiring them to consider how they can think outside of the box. When an employee starts thinking beyond their normal job duties and focusing on a greater vision, their performance will improve so they can reach their goals.

Employee performance is something that should always be a goal of training. Training does not just have to surround new processes or policies. You should also focus on the employee and helping them reach their full potential. It is not just an investment in the employee, but also an investment in the company as well.

Categories:Learning & Development

Tags:learning and development, training, employee performance

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Tips for Training and Educating Millennials

Tips for Training and Educating Millennials

The millennial generation is one that operates very differently from previous generations. Many people think they are spoiled and entitled but if you want to be successful, you should work to cultivate them. The millennial generation is a very prominent component of the workforce and they are the future. Use these tips to train and educate them

Opt for Mobile Learning

Millennials are technologically inclined and they like to learn on the go. When you are developing your learning and development systems, create something that is easy to access and use, even when they are not in the office. Learning on the go is important because with this generation, without it you may not reach them as effectively, if at all. Creating mobile learning modules is the key to success.

Take Time Creating Quality Content

There is all kinds of media that is high quality and engaging that your learning and development content will compete with on a regular basis. If your learning modules do not keep your employees engaged, you will quickly lose them. There is no point in creating a learning module if it is of poor quality and not designed to keep you relevant. Also, make sure your content is current because that will demonstrates that you are progressive company. 

Create Flexible Learning Options

Having learning and development sessions is a great way to get people involved but Millennials want to learn at their own pace and in their own way. Provide some flexibility in your programs in lessons so they can learn at a pace they desire. This will result in more engagement because they will be participating the way they want to. As a result, the lessons are taught and your employees are better satisfied.

Continue to Provide Learning

Millennials want to absorb as much information as they possibly can. You should focus on continuously creating and launching learning modules so they can continually learn and expand their skillset. Take a proactive approach to your learning and development program instead of just providing it when it is needed. You should absolutely train on a subject when a problem occurs but you can help your employees, Millennial or not, develop better skills and knowledge by taking part in valuable learning opportunities that are constant and relevant.

Learn Millennials Language

When you are trying to teach Millennials, to have the best results, you need to speak to them they way they speak. Relate the content to them. Tell the truth and be clear with your content. Explain to them why you are doing something instead of just doing it. Model behavior you want them to portray and let them know what is important.

Connecting to Millennials is not as difficult as it may seem. To reach them through learning and development, you simply need to understand what they need and where they are coming from. Using these tools will help you train and develop them so they can help your business prosper.

Categories:Learning & Development

Tags:millenials, learning and development

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