At Halloran & Sage, services to help employees recover from alcohol anddrug abuse aren’t commonly needed. The highly paid, busy professionals on thestaff are more interested in support services from an EAP, such as finding elderor child care.
To meet their needs, the firm developed a Generations Program. It is ahotline referral service through Family Care and Workforce Diversity Consultantsthat helps employees find care, schools, community centers, housing, andscholarship programs for members of their families. The company’s diversityreps help employees research cultural or work/life questions that come up, suchas finding a school or community center with a diverse ethnic makeup.
Many employees use the program to find concierge services and to handletravel and cultural questions related to business, such as how to addresscolleagues from another culture, or where to get basic foreign-languagetraining. The reps also help employees find financial services and resources forfinancial planning.
"We are always looking for cost-effective benefits, and this is one of them."
Halloran & Sage launched the program three years ago as a stand-alone EAPservice to meet the needs of the growing number of women in the workplace. Womenfeel more anxiety about their personal lives when they are away at work, saysJuliana McMeans, HR manager. The service was originally developed to help womendeal with those pressures so that they spend fewer hours on personal businesswhile they are at work. However, the program quickly became popular among allemployees as a tool for managing work/life issues.
"Because our people are so busy, they have little time off to handle theirpersonal issues. They don’t know where to go to find the resources to handletheir family responsibilities," she says. From the beginning, the program hasbeen widely used.
After two years, the utilization rate is a respectable 13 to 14 percent,which means that is the percentage of employees who have used the service atleast once. Best-practice rates for the program are 7 percent or higher,according to benchmark studies conducted by Family Care and Workforce DiversityConsultants.
It’s not just a feel-good service, McMeans says. The program wasimplemented because it saves the company money. "We are always looking forcost-effective benefits, and this is one of them."
Halloran & Sage pays $9.50 per person per year for the program, or atotal of about $2,000 annually. In exchange, the company saves hours of time."We are always finding new ways to use it," McMeans says. One such exampleis a homework program for employees’ children, who can call the servicedirectly.
The program also saves McMeans and her staff time because they no longer haveto field calls and conduct this kind of research. When employees come to herwith personal and family problems, she now directs them to the GenerationsProgram.
Workforce, February 2002, pp. 67-68 -- Subscribe Now!