5 attributes for employee assistance program

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a program that an organization implements to ease some of the personal problems faced by its employees. An employee assistance program is largely voluntary, in that it is not mandatory either for organizations to implement it, or for very employee to avail it.

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According to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, here’s what to look for:

  1. 24/7 phone response. Seek out providers that have trained counselors on duty answering a toll-free phone line at all times. Avoid EAPs that require users to navigate an elaborate phone tree before reaching a counselor.
  2. Confidential services. Licensed, professional counselors should deliver assessments and face-to-face counseling sessions in safe, private and confidential offices. Make sure there are enough counselors in your area to deliver timely services in both urgent and nonurgent cases.
  3. Referral support and follow-up. The EAP should assist employees by providing referrals for long-term or specialized care based on assessed needs, recommended treatment and employees’ financial resources. The EAP should provide follow-up and ongoing support for employees.
  4. Crisis intervention. Will EAP counselors come to your facility if there’s an emergency, such as an incident of workplace violence? Good EAPs can provide counseling for traumatized employees. They can also help management coordinate emergency-response plans.
  5. Substance abuse expertise. Given their disproportionately great impact on the workplace, drug and alcohol abuse problems often represent the bulk of EAP cases.

Workplace violence has to be tackled at all costs

Workplace violence is one of the major impeding factors of productivity. Although the causes for workplace violence are deep-rooted and are a result of psychological, social and emotional factors; it is quite a problem at the workplace. Employees who behave violently or have a tendency for violence can always be a threat to the safety and peace of the employees in the organization.

What acts fall in the bracket of workplace violence?

Workplace violence includes acts such as acts of physical violence by which violent employees target their colleagues physically, disruptive and destructive behavior, harassment, threats of violence, and intimidation. In organizations that have workplace violence, a low level of motivation is observed. This affects productivity and hits at the organization’s self-esteem. Also, when employees who are victims of workplace violence file lawsuits; the organization suffers in other ways.

How does HR cope with workplace violence?

Workplace violence has to be tackled at its roots and has to be uprooted from there. HR should identify employees who have a tendency or potential or capability for carrying out violent acts. If this problem is identified in the early stages; there is opportunity for successful outcomes. It can deal with workplace violence in a number of ways professionally:

  • Encourage victims to share their experiences, as this will give them the confidence that they are being heard
  • Call both the victim and the perpetrator and talk to them objectively to create a case if there is one
  • Keep an eye on employees who boast about their capacity for creating or causing violence
  • Make sure no employee carries a weapon or objects that can cause injury
  • Survey the workplace thoroughly and sanitize it against weapons and harm-causing objects
  • Keep a record of violence and see if there is a pattern
  • Train other employees about ways by which to recognize early symptoms of workplace violence and supply them aids with which to protect themselves
  • Use professional help from professionals such as counselors or psychotherapists to understand the root cause and implement their suggestions

References:

http://www.usda.gov/news/pubs/violence/wpv.htm

http://www.masterclassmanagement.com/

http://www.hr.ucdavis.edu/supervisor/Er/Violence/Brochure

http://www.masterclassmanagement.com/ManagementCourse-DealingWithViolence.html

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Imbibe a workplace culture

One of the strongest indicators of an organization is its workplace culture.  It is one of the definers of what the organization stands for, both in business and outside it. Workplace culture is akin to family culture, in that just as people outside the family recognize it by its culture; organizations too, get reflected by it.

Understanding workplace culture

So, what is workplace culture? It may be defined as a unique set of values, outlooks and characteristics that stand out in the workplace. Organizational ethos is best reflected in its workplace culture, because it is through this trait that the world sees the organization. It is the most visible face of the organization.

Set of behaviors and outlooks

Workplace culture is reflected in how the organization behaves with its employees, and how they in turn work towards it. In many organizations, many managers who have otherwise been very efficient and of high standards have not got along well with the organization because they have not gelled with the workplace culture.

What should the workplace culture show?

The organization’s workplace culture becomes apparent from the way the employees are made to feel comfortable or otherwise. The ideal workplace culture is one in which employees feel at ease and don’t feel stifled. The workplace culture should foster free exchange of ideas between the top brass and the employees. This facilitates a free flow and exchange of ideas between employees, leading to improved productivity and a friendlier workplace.

Reflection of organizational values

More than anything else, workplace culture should be one in which employees feel like associating with and staying connected with the management. An organization that brings about free flow of ideas and practices nondiscrimination, honors its commitments to employees, is collaborative with its employees, recognizes and rewards good employees and takes genuine interest in the employees’ wellbeing and growth is bound to have a sound workplace culture. A workplace culture is built on the belief that happy and contented employees are naturally productive.

References:

http://www.businessinsider.com/workplace-culture-is-important-2013-1

http://www.attitudeworks.com.au/AW_pages/attitudes/positive/positive.html

http://www.denverpost.com/topworkplaces/ci_22970656/employee-friendly-workplace-culture-key-company-success

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Streamlining is crucial to workforce management

Workforce management is about time, attendance, and absence. Managing these is very important for HR, because it is important to keep the workforce aspects such as clocking and other elements in place. It is important to keep these streamlined, because that is when HR has a clear idea about things like leave, productivity, time off and others.

How to understand Workforce Management?

HR has its task cut out when it comes to workforce management. Its work at workforce management starts as soon as the organization’s team has been put in place. Whoever has been hired has to be monitored for things like time, attendance and absence from work. It should ideally consist of these functionalities:

  • Work or task scheduling
  • Tracking individual employee competency
  • Core and peripheral aspects of team management
  • Planning and forecasting of work

The time, attendance, and absence factors of workforce management

Many of today’s workforce management applications come with time, attendance and absence factors. It has real-world recording to not only the number of employees who clock in and out; it also keeps track of some payroll functions, as well. The aim of having such a workforce management application is that it helps to streamline work from not only regular employees but also part-timers and consultants.

So, a workforce management system should ideally have components such as:

  • Work scheduling
  • Log and analysis of demand planning, which helps to forecast
  • Payroll, which helps in budgeting
  • Tracking of employees’ competency, which helps analyze skillsets
  • Analysis of skill gaps, which help in professional development and training
  • System for recognition and rewards
  • Labor and time management, which helps pay for consultants and part-timers

Reference:

http://www.friartuck.net/resources/wfm/what-is-wfm.htm

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Workplace negativity has to be negated

In any workplace, it is natural for negativity of one or another kind to creep in. This could be because of the work environment, the nature of work, the way colleagues interact, or due to the way an employee is treated in the organization. Whatever the reason for it, HR has to ensure that it works towards minimizing workplace negativity, because if this goes unchecked, its results will be negative, too: poor productivity, employees that suffer low morale, poor teamwork and coordination and the like.

Ways of minimizing workplace negativity

If an organization has to work towards minimizing workplace negativity; it has to ensure a positive working environment. An environment where there are tiffs over trivial issues, politics at the workplace, favoritism, gossip, backstabbing and such other negativities is the ideal breeding ground for negativity. One of the most important tasks for HR is to take care of these elements if it has to work at minimizing workplace negativity.

Team should be helpful

A colleague who is beset by personal problems can also be a negative influence in the organization. Although it is true that employees need to behave like mature adults and not bring their personal grievances into the workplace; it is human nature after all, to have the need for being comforted. An understanding team that is responsive to the problems of a team member will be a factor in minimizing workplace negativity.

The boss has an important role

There are some important factors that can contribute towards minimizing workplace negativity. The manager and the team have to be transparent in their dealings with each other. The superior should lead by example and should be a role model, instead of being someone who keeps his team members apart from each other by politicking. It is often remarked that one of the prime reasons for which employees leave organizations is their boss. It is the boss who is primarily responsible for negativity in the team. One who sets the example is a great factor at minimizing workplace negativity.

HR should stop nitpicking

When HR is entrusted with the task of minimizing workplace negativity; it should start by avoiding nitpicking. A work environment in which people enjoy freedom is a positive one. On the other hand, if HR fastidiously keeps raising silly issues; it will be seen as meddling and irksome and contributing to negativity.

References:

http://humanresource-tips.blogspot.in/2012/01/how-to-reduce-workplace-negativity.html

http://toostep.com/idea/how-can-workplace-negativity-be-minimized-in-an-organisation

http://www.acloche.com/blog/positives-of-a-positive-work-environment-tips-for-minimizing-negativity-in-the-workplace/

 

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Understand the Gen X employee to manage her

Managing Gen X could be the next big challenge for organizations. It is estimated that by around 2019; Gen X will be in charge of the workplace. What does managing Gen X entail? What is the generation like? Will managements be stretched to their limits in managing Gen X? Will they earn the same loyalty and respect they got from this generation that they got from the previous one/s?

What is Gen X?

After the baby boom generation, which relates roughly to those born in the post war period; the stage is set for the advent of the generation after that, or what is called Gen X, meaning those born from about the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s. Employment analysts surmise that these people will start to attain their highest productivity in around 2019, when they take up their professions or will be some years into it.

Why is managing Gen X considered challenging?

Managing Gen X is challenging for a simple reason: this is the first generation born after the Net took over our lives, so to speak. This generation is the first to be in this position, and sets the trend for being the generation that relies almost entirely on IT for almost anything it does.

In is out, out is in

Since gadgets are here to stay; we can expect that managing Gen X will be akin to managing these gadgets: here today, gone tomorrow. What implications does this trend have for the future of organizations? Employers will now have to come round to the fact that employees are no longer here to stay in the long run. This is the first principle governing the rules of managing Gen X.

Give up micromanaging

It is highly unlikely that Gen X will tolerate any bossing around or micromanaging from its employers. This is a generation that has grown up more independently than perhaps any previous one; so, for people of this generation, the most irritating trait is likely to be micromanaging from employers. They like to be left to themselves, because there are those many more opportunities for them to experiment with anything, be it gadgetry, work, or life itself. The best method in managing Gen X is to give them as much creativity and scope for improvement and experimentation as possible.

Forget loyalty

Another very important element of managing Gen X will be their tendency for job-hopping. It is next to impossible to expect this sprightly generation to stick around for years in the same organization or even in the same profession. For it, it is growth and job satisfaction that comes above everything else, including loyalty. Given that they form the typical global employee gang and the fact of being of very high ethnic diffusion; it is next to impossible to expect them to stay around.

References:

http://blog.dalecarnegie.com/leadership/talent-management-4-ways-to-motivate-gen-x-employees/

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1898024_1898023_1898086,00.html

 

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Retaining your best employees

Make no mistake: how to retain your best employees is one of the toughest challenges for any organization. If finding the best people is one big challenge; keeping them is a bigger one. But when the organization does not know how to retain its best employees, it is certainly a reflection of its weakness.

Key factors

HR or management has to understand key factors that make employees remain with the organization for which they work. Pay is a factor, but certainly not the most important one. With most good employees, the most important reason for working for a company is the recognition, appreciation and freedom associated with their position. HR and management have to find out the reasons for which the best employees work in the organization: what they value in the organization, what they don’t like, what they expect and so on. How to retain the best employees is often a function of these factors.

Understand their needs

First and foremost, HR and management need to understand and create the right environment for helping employees to grow in the organization. The best employees are usually fired by challenge. They want to experiment with new things and try out lots of ideas. If they find that the organization is not providing them, it is certain that the organization will have lost an important factor in how to retain the best employees.

What is freedom?

HR has to understand that freedom means different things to different people. For some, it is about being given the opportunity to fly high. For others, it could be being allowed to work from home. For some others, freedom could consist of being asked to work in flexible working hours.

Of course, giving unbridled freedom has its flip side; too, since fueling an overambitious employee’s challenging nature can sometimes be expensive. It has to be pragmatic and judicious in selecting person for the right challenging assignments if it has to understand how to retain its best employees.

Create the right environment

Many a time, good people leave organizations for the bad work environment. Some people don’t like the politics at office; others may not like being bossed, and yet others may be averse to domineering from above. HR plays a vital role in how to retain the best employees if it goes to the root of the matter. It has to create the right, positive environment at work, something that will take effort and time.

References:

http://www.adeccousa.com/articles/Want-to-retain-your-best-employees.html?id=21&url=/knowledgecenter/employer-articles/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx&templateurl=/Employers/resource-center/Pages/read-article.aspx

http://www.tlnt.com/2013/03/18/4-things-you-can-do-right-now-to-help-keep-your-best-employees/

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4305-why-retaining-your-best-workers-is-a-challenge.html

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/15/2958498/want-to-retain-your-best-employees.html

http://www.roberthalf.com.au/EMEA/Australia/Channel%20Descriptors/rh-au%28en%29/PDFs/How_to_keep_your_best_people_lowres.pdf

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