When the average employee hears the words "employee assistance programs", he may immediately think of medical benefits. Another employee may think of Workers Compensation. Yet another may think of further training for possible advancement. Although all of their conceptions are true, they are not all inclusive. There are several parts to the vehicle called Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs. Employee Assistance Programs are defined by Myers as "structured programs that utilize technical, administrative, and professional human services and personnel people, on either a contractual or employment basis, to meet the needs of troubled employees" (4). EAPs are needed so that the work environment is safe and productivity is as high as possible. This benefits the employees as well as the employers. The process of creating and implementing EAPs will be discussed. It is important to define who the troubled employee is, how the EAPs are to be structured, and how it is that the troubled employee is helped through the structured programs. As those three areas are discussed, some of the statistics that make these EAPs necessary, or at the very least, helpful, will be looked at also.
The Troubled Employee
Many of us have seen Gus – he’s the one who believes that in order to ease the hang over from last nights party, he has to have a drink the next morning. But it may not stop there. He needs a sip around 10am to take the edge off. Whatever he does on his lunch is his business so he may go home and have a couple of beers before returning to his job - at the factory. Gus probably has a problem with alcohol, as do 6 to 10 percent of the employee population (Myers 5). Of that number, 30 percent of them are manual workers (Myers 5). In any situation, this could become quite costly if there were an accident on the job. There are the obvious medical bills, Workers Compensation, destroyed or otherwise broken machinery, and the cost of training new employees. 47 percent of industrial accidents are alcohol related (Cascio 587). It is clear that an alcoholic employee is a troubled employee. Next on the list is Sharon. Sharon comes into the office every morning at least 10 minutes late and when she does, she’s pretty irritated. Around 9:30, she leaves for a coffee break and returns with a silly smile on her face, an odd smell on her clothing and a dire need for cupcakes. She generally "sneaks out" 30 minutes early from work. After a little investigating, it is found out that Sharon smokes marijuana during her lunches and her breaks. When Sharon returns from her "coffee breaks", she is disoriented and sloppy. Sharon is the finance department for a locally owned department store. She writes all of the checks for the store, sends out payroll and does all of the general bookkeeping. This could become a costly problem for her employer if the situation is not rectified. Recreational drug users like Sharon typically "steal time" from their employers to help support their drug habits. They use more sick days, are more likely to file workers’ compensation claims and are 1/3 less productive than other workers (Cascio 588). In Sharon’s case, the cost can run higher simply because of the nature of her position. If Sharon transposed numbers on checks, forgot to write a check or forgot to log a check into the bookkeeping system, she could end up costing her company much more than time. Many employees do steal a bit more than time from their companies. Employee theft ranges from cheating the employer out of time and office supplies to stealing money. Sharon, if given the inkling, could rework the bookkeeping where she works so that she could embezzle money. This may seem a bit far fetched to most people. However, employee theft is cause for concern because it is estimated that white collar crime in this area alone cost...