September 28, 2014

Wellness Resources & Tools for October 2014

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) - a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.
See our extensive resources from last year's post on Breast Cancer Awareness .

Health Literacy Month - "...a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. This annual, worldwide, awareness-raising event has been going strong ever since 1999 when Helen Osborne first founded it."

Domestic Violence Awareness Month - Victims of domestic violence can be women, men, children, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans, elders, Jewish people, and other marginalized groups. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) offers tools and resources ranging from a database of shelters and safety plans to help for providers and policymakers.
National Bullying Prevention Month - With a theme of "The End of Bullying Begins With you, PACER encourages action. PACER created the awareness campaign in 2006 with a one-week event which has now evolved into a month-long effort that encourages everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement. PACER offers a variety of resources to use during October — and throughout the year — to inspire, educate and involve others to join the movement and prevent bullying where you live. Check out all of the different events and activities and make plans to get involved.

Down Syndrome Awareness Month - The National Down Syndrome Society says, "...we celebrate people with Down syndrome and make people aware of our abilities and accomplishments. It’s not about celebrating disabilities, it’s about celebrating abilities." Show support by participating in the 2014 BuddyWalks near you.

Eye Injury Prevention Month

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month

National Physical Therapy Month

Dedicated weeks / days
Oct 5-11 - Mental Illness Awareness Week
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the first full week of October, NAMI and participants across the country are bringing awareness to mental illness. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care. Each year, the movement grows stronger.

October 6-10 - Drive Safely Work Week is sponosored by The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, an employer-led public/private partnership dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees, their families, and members of the communities in which they live and work by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on- and off-the-job.

October 8 - International Walk to School Day

October 16 - World Food Day

October 20-25 - National Health Education Week

October 22 - International Stuttering Awareness Day

Looking for the most comprehensive and effective wellness program for your employees? ESI TotalCare Wellness pairs Behavioral Health Clinicians with certified Wellness Coaches to provide employees and their families with the help, motivation, tools and support to make changes and improve their lives. Call 800-535-4841 for more information.

September 27, 2014

Inspiration of the Week: NFL role models

Football and football players have been under a negative spotlight of late with stories of domestic violence - so it's a good time to offer a counterbalance, two incredibly moving stories of players coping with family issues. Besides being very touching, they also shed light on the enormous toll that family problems take on an individual. They present compelling testimony into the stressors that employees face when dealing with a serious family issues.

The first is the story of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay, who volunteers and supports a Pittsburgh shelter for battered women. Gay knows firsthand the terrible toll that domestic violence can take - his mother was killed by his stepfather when he was 8 years old. You can hear his story below. He offers his thoughts on what the NFL should do to battle domestic violence.

"If we’re going to fix this problem in the NFL, our focus can’t be solely on what the punishments should be. The main priority needs to be helping victims—to show them how they can be heroes. The league needs to be asking, Why is this occurring? And how can we help prevent this? The NFL needs to focus on setting up programs that can help men and women have healthy relationships. Let players know about what facilities or services are available. We, as players, need to continue talking about this. Keep the issue of domestic violence in the conversation to raise awareness. That’s where our energy needs to be."

Father / caregiver

The second story is one of a devoted father and caretaker who has had to put his career on hold to devote himself to helping his 4-year old daughter battle cancer. Devon Still is on leave as defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. Leah is battling Stage 4 cancer and reportedly has a 50-50 chance of survival. The Bengals have been supportive as an employer - despite having to cut him from the roster, they have kept him on payroll on the practice squad and have also dedicated all proceeds from sales of Devon Still jerseys to pediatric cancer treatment and research facilities at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Within 24 hours, the sales of Still jerseys had outpaced those of any other player in Bengals history over a one-day span.

This past week, social media has been riveted by Devon Still's Instagram account, including the touching clip of his pre-surgery pep talk to his daughter. While the surgery was successful, Still notes that there is still a long road ahead, including bone marrow treatments.

ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 21, 2014

Engaging Employees & the Importance of Employee Training

Brian Benton writes about importance of training employees, offering 6 reasons why training saves you money. The article links to a story about Deloitte and their commitment employee skills development.

In addition to building the workforce of the future, training is also critical to job satisfaction and employee engagement. This infographic from Benchmark Learning tells the story - it is based on interview with 1,400 IT Professionals. You can see the original here: Employee Engagement: How Skill Proficiency & Training Affect Your Workforce



esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

September 20, 2014

News Roundup: Pot, FMLA, Coaching, Same Sex Benefits & More

Nearly 10% of Americans Go to Work High on Weed
From Mashable: "About 9.74% of Americans have gone to work under the influence of marijuana, according to a survey conducted by SurveyMonkey for Mashable. About 534 Americans shared their marijuana and prescription drug taking habits when it comes to the workplace. "

Ten Unbelievable But True Workplace Incidents
Evil Skippy at Work blog offers "...ten crazy, hard-to-believe things that I have experienced during my tenure in the wonderful worlds of H.R. and employment law. Believe!"

Should Employers Ban Email After Work Hours?
Jim Harter, Gallup Business Journal: " Mobile technology has created a "new normal" work life for a lot of us: Gallup research reveals that nearly all full-time U.S. workers (96%) have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet, and 86% use a smartphone or tablet or both. A full two-thirds of Americans report that the amount of work they do outside normal working hours has increased a little to a lot because of mobile technology advances over the last decade.
But is this a net gain or net drain on our well-being? And how should leaders manage this after-hours work?"

FMLA FAQ: Can We Terminate an Employee for Working a Second Job While on FMLA Leave?
Jeff Nowak at FMLA Insights replies to this reader query: "Q: One of our employees has taken FMLA leave for anxiety attacks. Recently, we found out that she is working a similar job for another employer at precisely the same time she should be working for us. Can we deny her the right to return and terminate her employment because of this leave abuse?"

How (and How Not) to Conduct Backdoor Reference Checks
Candidate-supplied references don’t always provide you with an objective perspective. To find out what makes a candidate truly tick, backdoor reference checks can be much more revealing.
Post includes Walk-Through Guides for Conducting Backdoor Reference Checks

Knowing What Matters to You Instead of Living by Default
Steve Spring at Tiny Buddha: "I am sharing my story with you today because I don’t want you to experience what happened to me. I want you to spend your time on the things that matter most to you before it is too late. I want you to decide what is important to you, and create a plan to get there."

Coaching Your Employees
Video webcast: "Ed Batista, experienced executive coach and co-author of the HBR Guide to Coaching Your Employees, shares insights from this Guide and from his extensive coaching experience. Batista describes how you can improve your coaching skills, create realistic and inspiring plans for people’s growth, customize your approach, and provide employees the support they need to achieve peak performance."

Update on Same-Sex Employee Benefits
Jenny Kiesewetter, Butler Snow LLP: "In recent months employers around the country, have been scrambling to keep up with developments with respect to the evolving rights of employees in same-sex relationships. This articles touches on some recent guidance in this regard from federal agencies."

The 10 Commandments of HR
William Tincup, Fistful of Talent: "As an interesting experiment, I decided to create a list of “thou shalts/thou shalls” for HR pros. The list is similar to the “original” 10 Commandments List, of course. That said, my list is completely subjective… "

Brief Takes

ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 14, 2014

How to break the misconceptions & silence about domestic violence

(This is a reposting of a prior post - Why domestic violence victims don't leave - with some updated links)

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” -- that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. Leslie Morgan Steiner is a writer and outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic violence -- which includes herself

For a transcript and alternate source of the video, see this on the TED talk site.

Employers have a key role in curbing domestic violence
From a prior post on the topic, we note that because we spend so much time at work, colleagues and supervisors are often in a unique position to spot signs of domestic violence and employer can often play a critical role in directing the employee to help through referrals to an EAP or other community resource. In the past, the "none of my business" type of thinking often prevailed, but today employers know that problems at home rarely stay at home. All too often, domestic abuse comes right to the workplace:

  • Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.
  • Of the approximately 1.7 million incidents of workplace violence that occur in the US every year, 18,700 are committed by an intimate partner: a current or former spouse, lover, partner, or boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Lost productivity and earnings due to intimate partner violence accounts for almost $1.8 billion each year.
  • Intimate partner violence victims lose nearly 8.0 million days of paid work each year - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund identifies an annotated list of seven reasons why employers should address domestic violence. Here's a quick summary:

  • Domestic violence affects many employees.
  • Domestic violence is a security and liability concern.
  • Domestic violence is a performance and productivity concern.
  • Domestic violence is a health care concern.
  • Domestic violence is a management issue.
  • Taking action in response to domestic violence works.
  • Employers can make a difference.

Some of the basic things that employers can do include:

  • Instituting a workplace zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence
  • Providing secure work environments
  • Raising awareness of the problem by educating your employee
  • Reminding employees that help is available for domestic violence
  • Training managers and supervisors to be alert for potential signs of domestic abuse
  • Having referral protocols and resources in place for employees who need help - preferably an EAP or a social service experienced in dealing with domestic abuse

Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence - A National Resource Center project offers information for the benefit of those workplaces interested in providing effective responses to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking. Resources include a Workplace Policy creation tool as well as employer-specific resources on training, a guide for supervisors, resources on threat assessments and safety and security and an extensive list of other resources for employers and for victims.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence - the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on the workplace. Since 1995, the Alliance has brought together dozens of progressive companies who exchange information, collaborate on projects, and use their influence to instigate change. The mission is to aid in the prevention of partner violence by leveraging the strength and resources of the corporate community.

For the Manager: How the Workplace can Increase Safety and Provide Support – A section from the US Office of Personnel Management’s Guide that offers advice on what to say to an employee who is faced with domestic abuse and steps you as a supervisor or manager can take to protect the employee.

Initiating a Training Program - Verizon Wireless shares its approach to educating employees about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace via a collaborative program that is accessible, cost effective and easily transferable to various company locations.

Domestic-Violence Policy - State Farm Insurance Co.'s policy on domestic violence defines the term and offers a number of ways the company assists its employees who are victims.

Warning Signs for Supervisors (PDF) Blue Shield of California Foundation has prepared documents that list some warning signs -- and some of the ways a supervisor or co-worker can help -- that indicate an employee is involved in an abusive relationship.

State Law Guides These guides track state laws and bills that can help victims of domestic or sexual violence maintain the economic security they need to address the violence in their lives

State & Territorial Coalitions Against Domestic Violence – find resources in your state.

Protecting Workers Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence

ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 13, 2014

Employer obligations related to domestic violence

Domestic violence is playing out in the headlines via the disturbing video tape of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiance Janay Palmer. Since that story, a slew of other cases of domestic abuse involving National Football League (NFL) players have surfaced, opening a national dialogue in the news, in social media and at the water cooler. Besides the issue of the abuse itself, the NFL is on the carpet for their handling of Rice and other cases. Many are asking if the NFL has addressed these instances with sufficient gravity.

The law firm Seyfarth Shaw reminds employers of the the cost and serious implications of domestic violence for employers in a simple infographic on Domestic Violence: Serious Implications for Employers. It illustrates the prevalence and cost of domestic violence in the workplace, as well as a reminder that several states have laws or provisions under laws that may apply to employees who are victims of domestic violence.

In addition, attorney Mark A. Lies, II discusses an employer's "duty of care" in a one hour interview covering legal obligations of businesses to protect employees against this hazard. He explains laws governing what a business needs to know and do to prepare for and respond to a workplace violence threat by a domestic or intimate partner.

We would also remind of the important role that your EAP can and should play as a tool in addressing workplace violence.

One noteworthy recent legal development: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick just signed a law providing up to 15 days of leave for victims of domestic violence effective as of August 8, 2014. An employee notification clause creates a requirement for employers to notify employees of their rights under the Act.

(Click for a larger version at Seyfarth Shaw)

We've discussed our thoughts on domestic violence in the workplace on numerous occasions. Here are some of those related posts:

Domestic violence and the workplace

Employers have a key role in curbing domestic violence

ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 12, 2014

Leadership lessons from a 4-star general: Listen, learn ... then lead

In this 15-minute TED Talk, four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. He speaks of how he was raised with traditional military leadership models, but how leadership today requires different skill sets. He found himself needing to build consensus and shared purpose with people who had different vocabularies, different experiences and different skill sets. Instead of briefing meetings and pep talks in one room, he was now required to communicate with a work force over 20 countries via email and chat programs. How can one build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.

If YouTube is blocked at your organization, you can access an alternate source at TED, where there is also an interactive transcript: Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn ... then lead


ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 7, 2014

News Roundup: Analytics, HR trends, Gen Z, ERISA & More

Predict What Employees Will Do Without Freaking Them Out
John Boudreau: "But companies are looking beyond cost savings—to driving outcomes. HR predictive analytics is touted as transforming HR from retrospective and reactive administrative reporting to strategically integrated modeling to predict behaviors, attitudes and capabilities that drive tangible organizational outcomes. Some evidence shows a correlation between HR predictive analytics and organizational performance."

5 big trends shaking up the job market
"The job market is not exactly smokin' hot, but it's an improvement over recent years. Let's zoom out a bit. Here are five important trends in the labor market that you should be thinking about beyond the monthly unemployment figure."

Report: Temp jobs at all-time high in U.S.
"A record 2.8 million Americans are working in temporary help jobs, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, a non-profit organization that advocates for low-wage and unemployed workers. ... temp jobs make up 2 percent of total employment in the U.S, the highest percentage ever."
Related: View from HR: Rise in temp workers creates challenges for employers and job seekers

Brace Yourself For Gen Z
Suzanne Lucas (AKA Evil HR Lady): "A new survey says that today's teens, also known as Generation Z, have some very distinct ideas about what they expect in a job. Are you prepared?"

ERISA: A landmark law at 40: How well is it protecting workers' retirements?
Mark Miller: "Since ERISA’s passage, we have seen a profound shift from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans, mainly 401(k)s. Pensions are a promise by employers of lifetime income in retirement; 401(k)s are a promise to contribute a certain amount to your account while you are working.
Evidence is mounting that we need to get focused on income again."

The One Word Men Never See In Their Performance Reviews
Kathleen Davis: "There's one adjective that's never used to criticize men, yet it shows up at an alarming rate in women's performance reviews."

Workplace stress 'destructive' for productivity
Employees suffering from high levels of work related stress have lower engagement, are less productive and have higher absentee levels than their peers, according to research from professional services firm Towers Watson.

Perception of Control Helps Determine Resiliency
Rick Nauert: "Discovering why some bad news makes one person work harder while other disappointing news causes someone else to quit or give up is the topic of a new research study. In the new study, researchers found different outcomes may result from how much control we feel we have over what happened. "

News Briefs



ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 5, 2014

5 things great workers do [infographic]

We thought this infographic on 5 things great workers do. By way of intro, it appeared in ‘a’ Magazine, an HR publication issued by O.C. Tanner and O.C. Tanner Institute, with the following introduction:

"1.7 million cases of award-winning work across all industries, positions, and pay grades, proves great work is a product of 5 activities people do, and 1 common intention.

The study proved that Great Work isn’t an accident. In fact, all cases of award-winning work began with a single-shared intention: to create a difference people love. Great Workers focus more on the recipient of their work, than on the work itself".

Click the infographic for a larger version with an accompanying text article.


September 4, 2014

Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share

"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment." In a talk equal parts eloquent and devastating, writer Andrew Solomon takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression. That led him to an eye-opening journey across the world to interview others with depression — only to discover that, to his surprise, the more he talked, the more people wanted to tell their own stories."

Visit TED talks for an alternate video source and interactive transcript

For more information and resources on depression see our recent post: Robin Williams' death puts a spotlight on depression

ESI-Logo.jpg ESI EAP offers depression and mental health counseling 24/7/365. Employee Members and their families have access to Masters and PhD level counselors. If your organization needs an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.
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