Employee Assistance Programmes Manager s Guide

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1 March 2012 Employee Assistance Programmes Manager s Guide Support and assistance when you need it Vhi Corporate Solutions

2 Employee Assistance Programme Confidential Professional Help Support Communicate Guidance Listen Awareness Process Care Positive Proactive Resolve Motivate Wellbeing Procedures Vhi Corporate Solutions How an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can benefit your workplace Excellent management is a rare talent. After all, it takes real skill to achieve a productive, happy and efficient working culture, where employees are always performing to the best of their ability. Managing sensitive issues with confidence and in the appropriate manner not only strengthens the employee-manager relationship, it enhances on-going resilience, trust and engagement. That s exactly how an EAP from Vhi Corporate Solutions can help. By offering easy-to-access, confidential counselling for employees, managers can work their way through sensitive issues while minimising negative effects on the workplace and employee performance. What services are available? EAP online support website Specialist information Legal information Financial information Telephone counselling Face-to-face counselling

3 Times when an EAP service can make a difference to your employees Counselling When changes where made to my team at work, it affected me in ways I never imagined. These included my work-life balance, relationships at work and even my sleeping patterns. The EAP was a great help. It was available 24/7 so I could contact the counsellor whenever I needed to, and the service really helped me to manage all the changes and their effects. When my husband lost his job the impact it had on our family was huge. Our relationship was becoming so heavily influenced by our financial situation that I developed sleeping problems. The EAP was excellent. My counsellor really listened, and as we worked through the issues I developed a much more positive outlook on life. I learned to take things one step at a time. But most crucially, the service taught me how to budget, manage fatigue and talk to my husband about our financial issues. I recently moved to a new area to start working in a small company. I really struggled to meet new people and get involved in the local community. I was starting to feel very isolated. Thankfully, an EAP counsellor gave me all the information I needed to help me take those first steps; by making me aware of all the local social activities I could participate in. It was of great benefit, helping me to make new friends and to really settle in. Specialist information A first baby was always going to change my life, but there were so many things I needed help with when it came to childcare, returning to work and budgeting. The EAP helped me to focus and figure out the best way of working through all the issues. I had put off writing a will for a while; wanting to be sure I had all the information I needed before spending money consulting with a solicitor. The EAP helped point me in the right direction. Benefits to managers Increased support A sounding board for talking through any concerns Increased resources A referral resource Benefits to employees 24/7 support when required Extensive range of services Specialised and highly qualified team

4 Common queries employees may have about an EAP Q When should I use an EAP? A There are times when it can seem impossible to balance the demands of your job and personal issues. Whether you require support through the counselling service or the specialist information team e.g. tax queries, financial issues, information regarding housing or consumer issues, the EAP can assist you. Q How do I know the service is confidential? A Confidentiality is the foundation of the EAP service and Vhi Corporate Solutions is bound by professional standards regarding confidentiality and the disclosure of details of individuals who have contacted them. In line with the codes of practice outlined by the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP or relevant clinical bodies) your contact with the EAP team remains absolutely confidential. You choose what information you share, and no details will be given to anyone unless you instruct us to do so. The only exceptions to this are: Where there is a risk to someone s life, your own safety or the safety of others Where required by law Your company is only provided with anonymous statistical data for service evaluation purposes. No data is ever given which identifies individual users of the EAP service. Q Who will I speak to? A Every time you contact the EAP you will talk to professionally qualified, experienced counsellors and information specialists. Q Can I see a counsellor face-to-face? A Yes. You will have a choice to talk with a counsellor over the telephone, or face-to-face if you prefer. Your first counselling session will take place within a week of your initial call to the service close to your home or place of work where possible.

5 EAP manager services Vhi Corporate Solutions manager consultation service ensures that management receive support through the EAP that provides access to professional information and resources needed to deal with or resolve specific issues and concerns. Vhi Corporate Solutions manager consultation service provides managers with an independent, expert resource to discuss difficult or sensitive issues that are affecting team members. This service helps managers enhance strategic and interpersonal skills, improving their individual performance and that of their staff. Pressure and performance balance Pressure is inevitable. While it can stimulate individuals to achieve, grow and learn it can also lead to periods of stress. The ways in which people respond to pressure impacts directly on their performance and wellbeing. It is vital to manage pressure effectively and as managers, it is important to recognise and understand how pressure affects employees. The Pressure Performance Curve below illustrates the relationship between pressure and performance. This relationship varies from person to person and across time. As the curve indicates, too much or too little pressure can be harmful. The curve can be a useful tool to help identify levels of pressure for individuals and for teams. Stretch is the state in which most people achieve optimum performance. However, if pressure continues to rise, individuals may move in to strain. Strain is the state most people associate with stress. One of the most effective ways of managing stress is to be aware of some of the early warning signs: Early warning signs: Physiological: Weight loss or weight gain Frequent colds or flu Increase in frequency of lateness Increase in accidents Decrease in attention to personal hygiene/care Cognitive: Prone to errors Forgetful Decrease in alertness Decrease in concentration Disruptive behaviour at work Emotional: Frequent mood swings Apathy Hostility Tearfulness Change in social behaviour with colleagues BOREDOM COMFORT STRETCH STRAIN PANIC Behavioural: Change in the quality/quantity of work Missed appointments and deadlines Lack of social interest Withdrawal Difficulty following instructions Minimum Average levels of pressure Maximum Source: Stephen Williams, Managing Pressure for Peak Performance (1994, 2000)

6 How do I refer an employee to the EAP? Self referral: Self referral is the most common way that individuals can access the EAP and they are able to make contact 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Informal referral Often an individual may approach a manager in distress or with a concern they have. The manager will be able to identify that they need support or appropriate information, and can encourage them to call the EAP. The manager can remind the employee of the EAP service and its benefits - this may be the unique skills of those who provide the service, how it works or its confidential nature. Finally, the manager can ensure the individual is given the time, space and privacy to contact the service. Formal referral: Another way to access the EAP service is through a formal referral. This involves the written consent of the employee and an individual in the company requests that a Counsellor or Information Specialist makes contact with the employee directly. This is done with absolute discretion and the identity of the employee will not be disclosed to any third party - confidentiality is maintained at all times. Feedback can only be provided with the written consent of the employee. To find out how to access the formal referral service, please contact the HR or EAP representative in your organisation. Critical Incident preparedness When a disaster or crisis strikes the workplace, managers are always figures of leadership in the face of complex and rapidly changing events. Whilst we can t predict incidents, planning and preparation can reduce their potential impact, and get both individuals and the organisation back to normal functioning as quickly as possible. As the organisation recovers and returns to regular routines, careful handling of the transition is vital in order to minimise the impact on staff and the operation of the business. Benefits of Critical Incident management & support: Develop an understanding of how a critical incident can affect individuals Recognise the key phases of the change cycle from incident back to a regular working environment and peoples responses at different stages Acquire practical strategies for dealing with the situation, managing changes to team structures and work loads Receive guidance on handling sensitive conversations The organisation can: Quickly resume regular work practices following an incident Reduce the likelihood of long term affects of a trauma Gain an understanding of appropriate interpersonal responses during times of crisis Enhance its duty of care provision

7 Following a critical incident Vhi Corporate Solutions Corporate Preparedness and Response package can include: Pre-incident preparedness training to provide employees with the skills to manage these situations enabling them to respond quickly and confidently reducing the impact on both your staff and the functioning of your business Group crisis intervention meetings for affected employees (as appropriate). Discussing an incident in detail with others can be an important step in post crisis recovery and help individuals to identify their support needs and the coping techniques available to them. Providing information on typical post traumatic consequences. This helps individuals to accept their reactions as normal responses to an abnormal situation and enables them to recover more effectively. Immediate and ongoing support to individuals 24/7. Telephone counselling and referral for face to face counselling will be available through the EAP helpline. Support for HR staff and managers. It is important that those involved in dealing with the impact of trauma are supported in their role and in coping with their own response to the incident and its aftermath. To arrange for critical incident support please contact the EAP representative within your company who can make the necessary arrangements for support through the EAP. Additional services provided by your EAP Training & workshops Vhi Corporate Solutions provides focused, performance oriented training modules to keep staff and organisations healthy, happy and functioning at peak performance. Group training workshops allow you to provide training to employees who would like to develop particular skills or learn how to manage a specific situation more effectively. The group training differs from our individual development approach as it encourages interaction between group members, allowing them to share experiences and learn from the experiences of their peers. Our trainers and facilitators are all practising professionals in their chosen fields - with authoritative knowledge and first-hand experience of their subject matter. They tailor the workshops to meet the needs of the audience and are able to focus and draw on the past experiences of attendees. This ensures credibility as well as consistently high quality in terms of content and delivery. We work hard to ensure that all our sessions are informative and engaging and above all, have practical real life use to attendees in order to meet their needs. Workshops include training & support on: Managing workplace relationships Work-life balance Managing conflict Mediation skills Managing change Stress management Positive parenting Diet & exercise Building resilience Diversity awareness Bullying and harassment For further information on any of our workshops please contact your dedicated EAP Consultant

8 How do I access the service? To talk with a member of our team, whether you require access to our information or counselling service call freephone or you can an enquiry to the specialist information service Additionally, we welcome feedback on all elements of our service, comments can be sent to The personal information you provide will be held by the Voluntary Health Insurance Board and/or, on its behalf, by its agent or service provider for the provision of Employee Assistance Programmes ( the Agent ) or (the Service Provider ), for use only in the provision and administration of Employee Assistance Programmes and related services and, in providing your personal information, you hereby consent to its use by the Voluntary Health Insurance Board and the Agent or the Service Provider for such purposes. EAP_MGR_1

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