An Outcome Of The Economic Crisis

5 Feb

An article in the New York Times points to one clear symptom of employee engagement in the midst of this economic crisis– an increase in contact with employee assistance programs. The article, in part, states:

A widely available but often ignored corporate perk — the employee assistance program — can help workers who are suddenly facing a layoff, as well as those who worry that the same fate will befall them.

E.A.P.’s, which generally are managed by counseling firms or divisions of health insurance providers, offer advice on family relationships, drug and alcohol problems and dollars-and-cents issues, among other matters. With so many people out of work because of the recession, and signs of economic rebound hard to glimpse, the number of calls to the programs has skyrocketed.

Aetna Behavioral Health, part of Aetna Inc., the health insurer, said it saw a 60 percent increase in program members seeking help in the third quarter of 2008, versus the same period of 2007. Financial stress was the main source of the increase, Aetna said.

“We’re hearing more and more people raising financial and economic concerns,” said Dennis Derr, who runs the firm’s E.A.P.’s. “We started noticing that trend in the middle of last year, with people saying they’re in debt or concerned about being laid off.”

In our research study, Beating the Bear Market with Engaged Employees , we identify five differentiators that can make a positive impact on employee engagement in the midst of these tough times, and taking care of employees is front and center.

Consider:

  • Do you have an EAP program?
  • If so, is the program well publicized?
  • Can you help managers to encourage the use of services such as EAP?

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