Thousands of employers use WorkExcel.com to educate employees, train supervisors, reduce risk, enhance workplace wellness tips, and have more effective Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and for alcohol/drug training.
Are you the victim of the
following dangerous EAP myth?
Many EA professionals falsely believe that their programs are safe from closure,
sale, contract loss, or takeover by
managed care hotlines because they have pleasant
and positive relationships with top management. It takes more.
Many EAPs were axed in 2017, and more in 2018 are on the brink. Reason: EAPs
fail to effectively engage, add
value, promote services, and embed themselves in the work culture.How? What’s the secret?
to More EAP Security
An essential tactic for
embedding your EAP is to use the right kind of EAP newsletter that shows your
program’s personality. Ensure it reaches every level of the organization frequently. The key word is “frequently.”
Frequency beats quantity.
Only a true EAP publication from EAP pros can produce the internal buzz that
produces the embedded effect. That newsletter is FrontLine Employee.
FrontLine Employee is “EAP relationship glue.” It increases EAP
utilization almost instantly, and promotes EAPs while building bulletproof
Articles in FrontLine
Employee are written to promote wellness, offer productivity tips, and
help employees and their families
Guaranteed to Protect Your Program
the EAP testimonials enclosed. Most are notable professionals in our field. They
all subscribe to FrontLine Employee.
FrontLine Employee arrives a week early, before the month. It has
never been late—not once in 18 years. It’s editable, renameable, and amendable.
However, it is ready to use the moment it arrives.
Newsletters Increase EAP Value and Utilization
The main reason for FrontLine
Employee’s popularity is its monthly two-page format. This amounts to 50% more content per year than a quarterly four-page
newsletter! Ironically, this also makes FrontLine Employee more
likely to be fully read!
All articles in FrontLine
Employee are between 75 and 250 words. They are tightly written without
fluff, and easily digested with how-to’s, to-do’s, resources, lists, and links.
Feedback after sending out just one issue will convince you that a new path of
engagement and top-of-mind awareness is truly yours.
Here’s the point: Your newsletter cannot be casual entertainment, a cute reminder, or a
snoozer. You can’t sheepishly
insert something into employee inboxes every
three months. This will risk losing your EAP.
Absolute Flexibility—Not a Copyright Mark On It!
Do anything you want with FrontLine
Employee except share it with another EAP – edit, amend, or rename it. Our
copyright mark is not required. Take advantage of the free professionally created masthead using your own name for the
newsletter! Or, insert our text in your own template if you like!
FrontLine Employee: Facts
Affordable with a flat-rate price–for internally or external EAPs
Completely editable—you have full
control of all elements.
Article depth—delves deeper to focus on productivity, stress, family, and wellness—also
customer service, conflict resolution, relationships
formats PDF, MS Publisher, MS Word, and/or text only.
web-usable, e-mail-able, and adaptable to any need.
Hassle-free –emailed early. Complete ready to edit or send.
EAP-driven–encourages employees to seek help from the EAP.
Subscriber hotline –EAPs can always request article topics.
Free professional masthead—you get a free, unique, and impressive-looking masthead
with your own title, logo, colors, and look!
e-mail a week early, and have never been late—not once.
Thousands of companies get FrontLine Employee and readership
is now over 3,000,000—including all employees of New York state, the state
of Washington, the Social Security Administration, Army installations, universities,
hospitals, municipalities, small businesses, and EAP providers worldwide.
Do Not Wait
to Subscribe--$258 Gift Deadline!
Money-back Guarantee: 100% of
your payment will be refunded at any time during the entire length of the
subscription if you cancel.
I look forward to hearing from you, so complete
the order form provided!
Feerst, BSW, MSW, LISW-CP
2001 Founding Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Subscribe now. Get 14 issues instead of 12 (And $258 free resources CD!) The
easy way is to phone me at 1-800-626-4327 or fax to 843-884-0442.
Since 1979 -- Member, International Employee Assistance
When a crisis
occurs, how you communicate with guests and employees matters. Safety is
important. If you are able tobe proactive and have strong communication skills, you are going to save lives
in the event of a disaster. While you can't predict when a crisis will occur,
you can plan out specific responses or action plans in the event of a specific
type of crisis. When you respond with skill and collaboration, guests and
employees will be safer.
When a crisis
occurs, you can't predict if your employees or customers are going to be
sitting at a computer. With time management of the essence, it is vital to
reach out on mobile devices. If you need to check on your employees or you want
to make sure each guest at your facility is safe, a quick text message
requesting a reply to check on safety can make a big difference. You will hear
back from those who are safe and be able to send help to those who don't
situations, your staff may be on the move and won’t always have immediate
access to their computers or a reliable internet connection. With a texting
platform, your staff can easily send a text alert from their mobile phones to
everyone on their distribution list. They don’t need to install any apps or
even have internet access on their phones. In times when seconds matter, the
flexibility this offers is crucial to ensuring guest safety.
Employee or Customer Questions
To keep everyone
feeling safe, information is essential. As the crisis occurs and you have
gathered information, share any pertinent information through SMS. In the event
of a fire, for example, you can send out a text stating exactly where the fire
is located and what the evacuation procedures are. If the fire has been put
out, send out another text to let everyone know. You can respond to questions or
concerns through SMS and use creativity to problem solve the crisis.
In the event of
a large disaster at your facility, you'll need to do more than keep people
informed about what is going on. If you have safety tips, share them through SMS marketing. For example, if there is a security risk in the building, you
need to let everyone know of this risk through SMS. Tell people to shelter in
place or share any escape routes that are deemed safe. Be clear about the risk,
as being vague will only confuse those who receive the messages. Keep everyone
up to date during the crisis.
Automation to Respond More Quickly in a Crisis
can make a huge difference when a crisis occurs. Use project management
strategies to set up a response protocol. You will be able to automate text
messages based on the crisis that occurs. You can even send out a daily safety
tip through an MMS picture message for those that prefer visual thinking. When
there is a crisis:
A solid action plan is
SMS gives you the ability to
reach out in an instant.
Security risks are easier to
Answer questions immediately and
gather vital feedback.
Manage your response with
Use collaboration with emergency
services to keep everyone safe.
Increase productivity by
managing the crisis effectively.
Send infographics to maximize
your response with visual thinking.
makes managing a crisis easier. While you can't predict when a crisis strikes,
you can try to manage how you respond to the crisis. With a plan in place, you
and your employees will know how to respond. SMS gives you a powerful
communication tool so that you can reach out to others, check on safety, and
gather information as the event unfolds. When you can share information and
collect updates from those directly involved in the crisis, it will become
easier to manage the entire situation and makes your organization more secure
Joel Lee is the
marketing specialist atTrumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution
including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart
Targeting, and advanced automation. Jumpstart your business by grabbing your
free copy of this powerful Mobile Marketing Success Kit.
Use these tips or
re-write them to fit your situation and help workers stay positive, make the needed
corrections, value the feedback that came from their boss, admit their
mistakes, communicate better with a supervisor in the future, head
problems off early next time, and bounce back with resilience from the ego-slapped
feeling of being verbally corrected -- OUCH!!!.
Consider these five tips on managing corrective interviews like a champ.
Trust your ability to succeed.
Being corrected isn’t pleasant, but if you have a successful track
record, a corrective interview can’t take that away. Use this knowledge
to detach from feelings of dread so you can focus on what management has
to say. Remain calm. Listen and keep notes. You don’t
have to refute everything you disagree with now. Consider a second
appointment to raise concerns, or compose a memo to tactfully refute
points raised in the meeting. Don’t try to take control of the interview
away from your supervisor in a fit of emotion.
Corrective interviews are management tools, not disciplinary actions.
They happen, and mostly for good reasons. Try to understand management’s
perspective, even if you disagree. Don’t attack a supervisor for
correcting your performance. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on
what you don’t understand.
Supervisors don’t enjoy corrective interviews. Understanding that your supervisor does not take pleasure in correcting your performance can help you avoid feeling “picked on.”
If they’re right, they’re right. It
is possible to leave a corrective interview thanking your supervisor
for feedback. Affirm your intent to perform satisfactorily. Add your own
suggestions. Cooperation demonstrates professionalism, and it will be
remembered. It might also be reflected in your annual performance
Resilience is about getting the right
perspective, finding a way to step back from very uncomfortable event,
and quickly doing what it takes to feel good again while retaining all
the necessary lessons. There are several ways to do this.
your own schedule to meet periodically with the boss. Take a
list of essential functions with you on a sheet of paper and discuss
how you are performing on each one. Repeat this process every three months--we are
talking about a 10 minute meeting, and get feedback. Make it conversational. Don't drill your supervisor with a checklist!
Humorous Supervisors May Not Produce Happy Results
Everything in moderation...Humor
can motivate and engage employees according to research. But research
has found in some cases, that the boss’s humor is not the best kind for
productivity output. Instead, it can sabotage productivity.
Swiping office supplies, insulting
coworkers, goofing off, and even fudging on financial reports can be
consequences of a work culture led by a supervisor who attempts to
enliven the workplace with too much humor.
Analysis: Supervisors represent a natural
existential threat to employees because of their control or influence
over job security. Removing this perception may precipitate less
unproductive behaviors, attitudes, and a loss of urgency to work above
You already know what it means to be an enabler. These are the people alcoholics and addicts know and depend on to somehow or in some way prevent them from really feeling the consequences of their problematic substance abuse.
Enablers "buy off" the addict's pain by what they say, or do, or think, or admonish others to do or say, that essentially allows the addict not realize the seriousness of the problem they face. Addicts then avoid the pain that would cause them to do something radically different...like get effective treatment.
But there is another type of enabler, and this one is not human. It's the organization itself, and its policies, customers, expectations, excuse-making, and traditions. And in many ways this is the worst kind of enabler because it is linked to the alcoholic's paycheck.
Everybody strives for a safe, healthy and happy workplace. Sometimes, management believes that employee behavior, such as addiction, is an isolated problem--and that nothing contributes to it that they could possibly be responsible for changing. How wrong they are. It starts with appropriate policies, education, awareness, and helpful EAP programming.
Just like loved ones of the addict, organizations can enable workers who abuse drugs and/or alcohol. Not only will your workplace suffer when organizational enabling takes place, but employees who are intoxicated on the job can lead to profound consequences, such as injuries and resulting lawsuits.
Here are four ways that your workplace may be enabling substances abusers to continue their behavior.
Employees are not empowered to confront peers. Often, a substance abuser’s coworkers are the ones who first become aware that there is a problem. Without education and awareness, and out of pure ignorance, they label alcoholic coworkers as "functional alcoholics". This means: "The alcoholic's drinking problem does not bother me." If employees were educated, they could proactively begin interrupting these sorts of enabling patterns.
If you don’t have an effective way to communicate with employees or you don't work toward giving them the right education on behavioral risk issues, you won’t get their cooperation in helping reduce risk in the workplace. A poor employee assistance program mechanism (call it a "faux EAP") may also contribute to keeping coworkers in the dark by not providing education and awareness and being proactive with both supervisor and employee training.
Drinking is part of the work culture....Not only does the substance abuser continue his behavior, not acting sends a signal to your employees that you don’t care. If you are investigating the situation, let key employees know so that they are aware you take substance abuse in the workplace seriously.
Clear, direct policies aren’t in place. Employees with addiction problems or who abuse substances on the job are pushed underground by fear. There may be a zero tolerance policy, but it does not add up. -- It fires rather than seeks to help via referral, treatment, and follow up. This drives drinking and drug use further underground, reinforcing stereotypes that create enormous risk to the organization.
You’ll learn in DOT Supervisor Training (if it is done correctly) how to organizational enabling happens and how seeing not only set up a plan to deal with substance abusers, but also how to communicate it to employees in a way that does not hold them in contempt or stigmatize them further. When this happens, employees with substance abuse problems begin thinking in different terms about how to solve their life problems associated with addiction..and this means treatment.
A drinking culture exists and reinforcement of it is rewarded. In many companies,reasonable suspicion trainingconflicts with their company traditions. Such training is avoided. It simply gets in the way of the fun, the business, and can harm an organization financially. One reason this happens is because of misguided definitions and understanding about alcoholism. Imagine taking customers to lunch but avoiding alcohol when that is in fact a lubricant for conversation that encourages deal making at all the other companies that compete. It's a problem. However their is a way around it -- educating employees about alcoholism and alcohol abuse -- so those who may have be in recovery are not penalized for failure to participate.
Enabling substance abusers on the job leads to employee dissatisfaction, workplace safety issues and dwindling production, and organizations can be the worst enablers.
So, you just finished your DOT supervisor training and are worried that because you have a drinking problem that you
can’t confront employees? Think again. You can, and you may even do it more effectively than other supervisors in your organization.
That’s because your issues with drinking give you an edge. It’s called educated second guessing of defense mechanisms. No we are not talking about diagnosing your employee, we are talking about a better ability to know a bullshitter.
Your drinking problem (you may not yet have identified yourself as an alcoholic, but are pretty worried about or sure) gives you special insight into an alcoholic’s thoughts and behaviors. You can get inside the head of employees drinking on the job and determine how to avoid their manipulative tactics. You can easily see patterns of behavior that may escape your peers. Again, you are not diagnosing, you are using your affinity for the problem to reduce risk in the workplace.
All of this may make you a bit uneasy, but the truth is that EAPs see this everyday. Many people with drinking problems believe they are lucky and efficient drinkers. They know their body and life experiences with alcohol are periodically problematic, but they are still counting themselves a clever drinkers with high levels of productivity, awareness, and a following of people who love them…but, they are alcoholic.
If you suspect that a worker is drinking on the job, you know how to investigate the situation almost instinctively. You know the best hiding places for a flask or a bottle. You can spot behavior right away, such as shaking hands, slurred speech and poor judgment.
But where you’ll really excel is in confronting employees who are drunk at work. Alcoholics know how to manipulate to stay out of trouble. You already have used many of these methods yourself, such as attempting to make others feel guilty, telling would be "confronters" that their perceptions aren’t real, and trying to appeal to friendship with the boss to invoke a sense of loyalty that overshadows the needs of the workplace.
You understand that the alcoholic is incapable of accepting blame for the situation he now finds himself in, and that excuses are well-thought out and sophisticated.
You can be an example to your employees drinking on the job. Show them that they can manage their addictive illness and recover from it with help, such as treatment or recovery groups when, and if they employee offers a confession about the nature of their drinking problem—but link this to referral to the employee assistance program of your organization, instantly and without delay. This is an open window of opportunity, and it closes fast. Your goal also in such a discussion is to help the employee overcome fear of getting help.
One caution about being a supervisor in recovery: Don’t try to be a worker’s sponsor. Many supervisors have gotten sober after drug and alcohol training and the referral of employees to treatment. But don’t 12-step your employees. It’s a mixing of roles that simply does not work. It’s easy to slip into this role. Boundaries, limits that alcoholics tend to have problems with, need to be set between you and your workers. Remember always that your role first and foremost is to be their supervisor. You can still be supportive, but within the confines of that role.
Although you have insight into the addicts at work, you will still benefit from reasonable suspicion training—no one is a complete expert on it. You’ll learn how to gather evidence effectively and tips on how to de-escalate situations that may get volatile when you confront employees high or drunk at work. You’ll be the supervisor that all the others look to when they need help confronting their own employees.
Supervisors want to keep their workplace happy, healthy and productive, and part of that is keeping your organization
free from employees from being drunk or high on the job. However, once a worker gets help for their addiction, the battle isn’t completely over. Recovery takes time and effort, and supervisors may unwittingly hinder their employee’s success. Here are six ways you may be sabotaging his or her recovery. Can you think of any more?
1. Hyper vigilance. Especially if you are an adult child of an addict, you may be conditioned to be hyper-vigilant. This means that you watch your recovering worker’s every move to determine if they have slipped. Although the employee does deserve some scrutiny, overdoing it could make him uncomfortable enough to relapse.
2. Inflexibility. People in recovery know there are certain things they need to do right away if they are thinking about using. These tools include going to a meeting or calling their sponsor. Not allowing your employee the time to do these things may hinder his recovery. At least for the first year or so, give him the flexibility to get the help he needs.
3. Not completing DOT supervisor training or reasonable suspicion training. You’ll get tips on how to support your employee in recovery with the proper training. Even if you are in recovery yourself, you’ll receive new insights from this specialized training.
4.Trying to be the employee’s sponsor. A man can’t serve two masters. Remember that you are his supervisor first. Modeling good boundaries is helpful to someone new in recovery. Allow the employee to get his support in recovery from a sponsor.
5. Overreacting to a relapse. Addiction is a disease, and relapse is a commonplace symptom. Although you need to follow your organization’s protocols for drug or alcohol abuse, continue to support the employee if he slips a time or two, especially in early recovery.
6. Discussing your own ignorant ideas about addiction, especially trying to convince your worker or employee that they are not alcoholic in order to overcome your own alcoholic denial.
In treatment, employees are intensively educated about three things: 1) the nature of the disease of addiction; 2) What to do in order to arrest the illness; and 3) What not to do in order to arrest the illness. This information is based upon the best research and the experience of millions of recovering addicts and alcoholics. Involving yourself in discussions with employees that negatively influence what they have learned is one way to sabotage your employee and facilitate a relapse.
Recovery is a slow process where sometimes people take one step forward and two steps back. It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. Addicts need time and appropriate support in all areas of their life to be successful. As a supervisor, you can make or break their success by your actions. The fact that the employee has sought help- is a promising first step. Appropriate boundaries, flexibility and specialized training will give you the tools to manage him in a way that will equal success for both him and your organization
You’ve finally got the goods on an employee who is coming to
work drunk, and you appropriately confront him about his behavior. You may not
know it, but you’ve just put yourself
in the sights of a master manipulator.
Will you understand the disease of addiction properly or will you be hoodwinked by enabling?
Addicts are experts at pulling at your heartstrings, lack of self-confidence or
your common sense. Through reasonable suspicion training, you’ll learn how to
spot the following manipulative behaviors and techniques to stop them.
“ But I haven’t had a drink since last night.”
Your employee smells like a distillery, but he tries to convince you that you
can’t trust your own perceptions. Point out what you are seeing, hearing and
“ I thought we were friends.” Playing on your
loyalty is a classic manipulation. Remind him that you’re his boss first. And
even if you are his pal, true friends confront each other with bad behavior.
“It’s medicine.” Even If bourbon was prescribed
by a doctor (which it won’t), no one is allowed by policy to come to work with
alcohol in their system. Keep hammering home his coming to work “medicated” is
“You’ll ruin my career.” Addicts often take no
responsibility for their actions by blaming others. They can’t perceive that
their drinking may possibly ruin their career. His behavior has created your
“ What you’re smelling is mouthwash.” Heck, it
may be. But your employee may have used enough of it to get drunk. Many cold
medications and mouthwash contain copious amounts of alcohol, and they can and
will get someone drunk. It doesn’t matter whether your employee has been
drinking mouthwash or champagne. It all causes the same behavior when it’s not
“ Yes, I did drink, but I’m an alcoholic.” It may
sound noble that your employee realizes he has a problem, but it’s important to
remember it’s not an excuse for being intoxicated at work. The issues his
condition cause in the workplace are the real problem.
“ Give me a pass this time. I’m going through
something at home.” Again, the employee is blaming his wife leaving him, his
father dying, his child not speaking to him, etc., for his drinking. Your
giving him a pass isn’t going to the solve the problem: He’s drunk at work.
Through DOT supervisor training, you will earn how to be
assertive, firm and respectful when confronting an employee about coming to
work impaired. It’s important to learn these skills, as well as deescalation
techniques, to keep your workplace safe and productive for your other
some, getting high is as close as a can of spray paint or a few ounces
of gasoline. Inhalant abuse, often called “huffing, or “sniffing,””
generates a quick high from breathing a variety of easy-to-acquire
chemicals. From nail polish remover to solvent glue, some people will
seek out this cheap and easy method to change the way they feel -- get
high. But will it happen in the workplace? Or will you see its effects
in an employee who has brain damage from the practice of huffing
volatile chemicals? And is it important to put in DOT Supervisor Training.
abuse was once thought to be prevalent among teens and young adults,
especially those who lived in poverty. After all, things to sniff like
gasoline and paint solvent are virtually everywhere.
Solvent glue, also called airplane glue, was one of the most common inhalant substances,
with spray paint. Lawmakers made it difficult for anyone under legal
age to buy these items, which many believed solved the problem. But
inhalant use has never gone away completely.
It is not one of the key drug categories
for which the DOT requires education and awareness. However, some
programs will mention it, and in my opinion they should because it only
takes a few seconds to educate supervisors, and frankly, you may see
evidence of inhalant abuse in some companies. Here is a video below that
shares in a few minutes what inhalant abuse symptoms possibly exist in
how important it is to be aware of inhalant abuse in the workplace.
When speaking of abuse, we mean "symptoms of use" and actual use on the
job. The former could be physical neurological deficits the origin of
which are inhalant abuse.
Industries that require employees to
frequently use paints or solvents are usually on the lookout for the
signs: paint on an employees’ face, plastic bags that contain paint or
solvent, or a strong smell that is out of place for its location in the
workplace, to name a few. In these workplaces employees may gradually
get addicted to the items they use constantly to do their jobs.
a shocker: For children under 12 the most commonly abused substance
after Alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco are inhalants! 13% of teens have
tried huffing inhalants.
other industries people most likely to abuse inhalants are those who
are attempting to stay away from street drugs. The guy trying to stay
clean for a drug test may get desperate and alleviate his cravings
through inhaling diesel fumes or a chemical used by your organization.
Your company could be liable for accidents related to inhalant abuse,
especially if the employee gets the means from your facility.
on the lookout for behavioral changes. Inhalant abusers can appear
drunk, euphoric, drowsy or seem to be experiencing hallucinations. It’s
important to address this type of abuse early because the effects can be
devastating. Misuse of flammable inhalants could put your entire
workplace in danger of fire or explosion. There are also the risks
associated with inhalant abuse that you see with drugs and alcohol, such
as on-the-job accidents.
who abuses inhalants set themselves up for serious illness and even
death. Only one instance of abuse can lower the user’s oxygen level to
deadly levels or disrupt heart rhythm. Long-term abuse can lead to organ
failure and brain injury. Many of the substances used are known to
cause cancer with long-term exposure.
let inhalant abuse fly under your radar. Receiving adequate training
and passing it on to line supervisors can help your organization stay
vigilant against this disturbing menace. Keep your workplace safe and
healthy for all of your employees.
All mental health professionals conduct assessments and/or treat people for depression from time to time.
Some who suffer with this illness may
experience such chronic long-term sadness that they barely understand
any more what it is like to feel normal.
When depressed employees find relief, it is not unlike those who are able by a medical procedure to hear or see for the first time.
You probably have employees on payroll right now who
suffer with chronic depression. They function with depression, but they
are not firing on all cylinders. Productivity losses for this group of
employees is enormous.
Employees with depression may not look
"depressed", sulk at their desk, or behave sluggishly. Still, depression
is one of the most costly illnesses to employers at a whopping $75
billion in lost productivity and absenteeism alone.
Consider educating employees about
depression perioidically so those who suffer from it have the chance to
self-diagnose, rally with motivation, seek help. This is easy to do, and
the payoffs can be great.
Here's a tip: Educate employees about
depression in an article, and refer to a term called "bottomless
sadness" associated with depression, and normal sadness. Google this
term, and wrap a 150 word article around it. Put it in your health and
wellness newsletter (or wait until March when I will do it in Frontline Employee.) You will be surprised at the impact this article has employees. Some who need help right now may reachout.
Don’t do a one-shot educational presentation or brown bag on depression. Instead trickle the information out in chapters with your newsletter, fliers, or another wellness tips program. You will see people move toward getting help after awareness builds after about six messages.