Using Technology to Serve E-Clients
By Maria Lund, LEAP, CEAP
The EAP profession is at a juncture of opportunity wherein we can adopt and integrate today’s technological advancements in the interest of better engaging clients. Doing so can be to our advantage, especially where we seek to remain relevant and effective with young employees.
There are important elements of our work that don’t involve technology and people who prefer less technological approaches, so we need to maintain the status quo where it serves us well. However, it’s also true that an “e-connection” is a hard-wired preference for the Facebook Generation. This distinction might make all the difference between young people utilizing your EAP (if they can shoot you a text) versus passing you by for an online alternative (if they have to pick up the telephone). However, this opportunity does not stop with young employees. Being adaptive to emerging preferences and needs can help make us more effective at what we do with all our clients.
In this issue’s cover story, Leah Szemborski, an EA professional and member of the Facebook Generation, examines how EAPs can better utilize existing websites and use social media to build their online presence. In addition to her recommendations, a panel of EA professionals in the U.S. and abroad present their suggestions for making EAP relevant to young employees.
Social media and websites are merely one of the platforms EAPs can use to reach young employees. Kathleen Greer and Associates (KGA) embarked on an initiative to determine the leading behavioral health apps. As Kathleen points out, “digital natives see apps as a viable mechanism for self-help.” As a result EAP counselors need to be aware of a variety of high-quality apps that could serve as an adjunct to counseling sessions and referrals for treatment. For EA practitioners Kathleen’s list serves as an excellent resource for engaging young people who might not otherwise utilize EAP.
Video counseling (VC) is another important technological tool. Barb Veder, Kelly Beaudoin, and Stan Pope present important outcomes of their Shepell study in which they sought to evaluate their VC program and contribute to current literature on this topic. Expanding EAP services with video counseling can offer significant benefits to clients of all ages.
This issue of the Journal has other great articles. In a 1st quarter JEA article, Dr. Richard Brown described how Behavioral Screening and Intervention (BSI) offers a more effective approach to treating employees’ behavioral problems than traditional workplace wellness programs. In part two, Dr. Brown explains how EAP practitioners can address this gap and deliver BSI to their customers.
Elsewhere, Mark Attridge, Marina London, Jeff Harris, and Puneet Leekha offer insights and observations in their respective columns. Happy reading!