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January 17, 2008
  <<Prior Strategy          Next Strategy>>
  Huge EAP Opportunities in
  in Workplace Loss Prevention
Stick a fork in it. The research is done. The solution to reducing workers’ compensation costs is for the employer to have a plan that addresses total injury management by reducing or eliminating injuries, reducing or eliminating lost work days, and reducing or eliminating the inclination of an injured employee to litigate. It is a total package.

Is your EAP in the package?

If you’re a good EAP core technologist, you immediately see two key EAP service areas in the above formula that can play a key role in reducing workers’ compensation costs.

These two areas of service are 1) helping to reduce or eliminate lost work days and 2) reducing or eliminating the readiness to sue. EAPs can play key roles by injecting themselves or having the work organization inject them into the continuum of loss prevention measures.

After reading this page, take a look at the following Web site: www.healthspsych.com

I believe this Web site is so relevant to the EAP field, and the information within it is so valuable, that it could revolutionize the EAP field if used properly.

Have you heard of the term “psycho-medical theory”?

This area of study asserts (with lots of research to back it up) that recovery from physical injuries and maladies is intimately related to psychosocial factors, psychological treatment, and related behavioral health matters. Hmm….

EAPs can help reduce the length of time an employee is out of work by developing a follow-up relationship with the injured worker.

Of course, the ability to help prevent injuries by helping troubled employees is written in EAP stone. For future reference, the useful phrase for describing cost benefit of this activity is “dollars recovered from loss.”

After an injury, is there a process within the organization(s) you serve that connects the injured employee with the EAP? The rationale for ramping up the EAP role and having an efficient way of doing this is psycho-medical intervention. (If your employees get FrontLine Employee EAP newsletter, you’ve seen that I periodically encourage employees to make use of the EAP after they’ve been injured.)

Part II: Angry employees are at a higher risk to sue employers. Do you believe that? Of course you do. This is part two in the rationale for including EAPs as a tactical approach to reducing workers’ compensation costs.

Without trying, EAPs naturally play a major role in promoting goodwill. The EAP is paid for by the employer, but it is still viewed by the employee as a safe and trustworthy source of support (if promoted well.)

EAPs have a significant ability to influence employee feelings about the employer. This plays a major role in reducing the employer’s exposure to employment practice lawsuits and the willingness for employees to sue.

Have you ever heard an employee client in your office threaten to sue the employer? Indeed, EAPs are sometimes first to hear it and first to intervene to possibly prevent it from happening. How much is this worth to the employer? Your calculator won’t go that high. The opportunity to sue combined with anger attracts lawsuits; eliminate either of those factors, and the likelihood is reduced. Helping employees more effectively process their anger is a staple of an effective EAP.

There is much unfinished business for EAPs in helping employees and employers. Soon I will discuss the 1991 Civil Rights Act and how the EAP field missed the implications this legislation had (and still has) for the proliferation of EAPs. This is low-hanging fruit if EAPs want to pick it. Stay tuned.

Dedicated to Your Effective EAP,

Dan Feerst, LISW-CP, CEAP

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