The University of Maryland School of Social Work – the only social work program with a dedicated Employee Assistance (EA) curriculum as part of the larger MSW program – hosts the Employee Assistance Digital Archive.

The Employee Assistance Digital Archive is a free, publicly accessible site where EA professionals can post original works, historical documents or other related papers. The intent of the Archive is to preserve important historical documents in the EA field as well as to provide a national depository for all significant articles in the field.

Please visit our Employee Assistance Digital Archive Homepage to learn about how you can submit and use the Archive.

Recent Submissions

  • Curating Your Life: Ending the Struggle for Work-Life Balance

    Golden, Gail, 1952- (2020)
    This webinar is an abbreviated version of Dr. Golden's book "Curating Your Life." In it, she shares what she has learned from coaching many leaders on how to identify and accomplish their most important goals. She discusses not just work-life balance, but how to curate your life through creating a model of managing your energy using "sprint and recovery." She goes on to cover thoughts related to setting boundaries, saying no, deciding what to do, understanding when good enough is good enough, and how to go for greatness.
  • Principles for Addressing Implicit Organizational Trauma

    McNutt, Bryan R. (EAPA, 2019-12)
    Research has revealed that organizations, like individuals, are susceptible to developing chronic stress and becoming affected by truamatic experiences at the institutional level ( Bloom, 2010; Carr, 2001). Many EAPs are challenged in addressing experiences of workplace trauma, which may be diffuse and subtle, existing on a systemic level beyond the individual employee. Collective traumatic reactions may be implicit and unspoken throughout the organization.
  • Navigating December Holidays During COVID - 19

    Concern Marketing Staff (2020-12)
    The holidays may be different this year, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be special. Consider these low risk activities to help make this season memorable in new and creative ways.
  • Supporting Employees Through Trauma: Social Workers in the Workplace & Employee Assistance

    Jacobson Frey, Jodi; Bryant-Nickens, Tanya (2020-11-18)
    This webinar was presented by Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey and Tanya Bryant-Nickens for the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. Both presenters are proud alums of the School and Dr. Frey currently chairs the Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Sub-specialization at the School. Their presentation uses a fireside chat approach to discussing timely and critical topics related to supporting employees through trauma and the role of Employee Assistance, workplace leaders, and other workplace mental health and well-being stakeholders. The presenters address upstream, midstream and downstream approaches to preventing and responding to trauma and provide resources for attendees to learn more. Additional information is presented about the unique sub-specialization offered by the School and how alumni and friends of the program can get involved through supporting students and programming that advance the field and profession.
  • Disenfranchised Grief and Resilience Among Gay Widowers: A Phenomenological Exploration

    McNutt, Bryan R. (2014)
    Due to the continued prevalence of socio-cultural attitudes of sexual prejudice and stigma towards sexual minority relationships, and the continued lack of consistently inclusive legal protections for same-sex couples, bereaved gay widowers face considerable risk of encountering psychosocial features of disenfranchised grief at some point throughout their mourning process. In addition to providing a comprehensive review of previous research related to the bereavement experience of sexual minorities, this study considered the important role of psychological resilience for gay widowers in managing the bereavement recovery process and concurrent experiences of sexual minority stress. A descriptive phenomenological approach was applied through the use of semistructured in-depth interviews with five (5) gay widowers mourning the death of a same-sex partner due to a non-HIV/AIDS related cause. Results identified three primary constituents supporting a healthy trajectory of grief experience among gay widowers, while also providing indicators contributing to enhanced emotional and social resiliency: (1) Validation and Affirmation, (2) Family of Origin Integration, and (3) Positive Self- Regard. Likewise, the opposite constructs of these constituents (devaluation and disregard, family exclusion, and negative self-regard) also serve as likely indicators of increased vulnerability to developing complicated forms of disenfranchised grief, as well as difficulty accessing emotional and social resilience. Thus, the descriptions of these lived experiences provide further understanding of the influence of sexual minority stress upon the bereavement process of gay widowers, while also emphasizing the critical role of social validation and interpersonal recognition in promoting emotional resilience.
  • Digital Solutions for Employee Mental Health: Landscape Overview, Employer Experiences, & Best Practices

    London, Emily (Pacific Business Group on Health, 2020)
    Employers are the largest purchaser of health care services1, yet there is minimal research on employer use of digital solutions. This report summarizes qualitative research on the use of digital tools for mental health (MH). Interviews were conducted in the Summer of 2019 with 10 large employers who represent over 1M employees, and 22 mental health vendors. This report describes: • The mental health crisis • The impact on the workplace • The rise of digital tools for mental health • Does digital work? • Research findings: employer perspectives • Research findings: vendor perspectives • Is digital the future for mental health? • Best practices for employer purchasers. Key Findings A rise in mental health conditions and a lack of access to treatment are top concerns for employers. Benefits teams are interested in digital solutions as a means to increase access and provide multimodal support. Amongst the interviewed group, use of benefits that included a digital component through a smartphone or computer was common. Telemedicine was the most widely used offering; the majority of employers offer employees the opportunity to access video visits with a therapist, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist through their health plan, EAP, a standalone point solution, or an employer-owned on-site clinic. Use of apps that connect users with a coach by text, or provide online, self-guided content were uncommon. Efficacy and return-on-investment of digital offerings was difficult to assess due to low utilization, leading several employers to drop all-digital tools. However, when employees did engage with the tools, reported feedback was positive. Both employers and vendors cited the need for a strategic communications strategy to educate employees and increase adoption of the services. Employers also struggled with evaluating the quality and use case for digital solutions; more work is needed to develop criteria and guidance for benefits managers from trusted sources.
  • Creating a Health Workplace: Impact of Supervisor Support and Company Culture

    Nguyen, Theresa; Reinert, Madeline (Mental Health America, 2020)
    Mental Health America (MHA) conducted a survey with Qualtrics to explore similarities and differences in answers to our Work Health Survey questions across two different populations. MHA’s Mind the Workplace 2019 Report synthesized findings from our 2019 Work Health Survey of nearly 10,000 individuals from 2018 and 2019. The Qualtrics survey was given to 1,000 individuals in 2019. The comparison of findings is summarized in this report. The results of both surveys demonstrate that the factors necessary for creating a mentally healthy workplace are the same in both a help-seeking and non-help-seeking population. Whether people are happy or sad, satisfied or unsatisfied, the elements that makes a company successful in creating mentally healthy workplaces is the same. Our collective findings from both surveys reveal that: • Supervisors matter. Having a supervisor who checks in regularly, is supportive, and who values feedback is a protective factor for a company. Positive supervisor relationships were correlated with the greatest number of positive outcomes including satisfaction with work, employee motivation, employee confidence, pride, and ability to report ethical violations and areas for improvement in the workplace. • Safe and transparent company culture is a protective factor. Creating a culture of safe and open communication provides staff increased opportunity and willingness to provide constructive feedback on improving workplaces. It also is highly correlated to reporting unethical or unfair practices that put a company at risk for legal issues. • Safety and pride impacts perceptions. Feeling comfortable to report dishonest or unfair practices was most correlated with pride. Staff who feel safe in their companies are more willing to recommend their workplace to others and speak positively about their company. • Good company practice fosters good will. Among all employee well-being measures, pride was the most correlated with supervisor communication and a company culture of safe and open communication. • Silence is the most damaging. People who are the most stressed also reported they were in companies where it was safer to remain silent about their personal problems. Across both a help-seeking and non-help-seeking population, an organizational culture of safe and open communication and supervisor support and guidance are important for increasing employee engagement and well-being and creating an overall mentally healthy workplace for all employees. Therefore, it is imperative that supervisors and other company leadership take action to create a culture of communication and support that will benefit not only those employees that may be seeking resources for their mental health, but every employee in the workplace. Doing so will ultimately improve overall operations.
  • Mind the Workplace: Work Health Survey 2019

    Nguyen, Theresa; Reinert, Madeline; Hellebuyck, Michele; Fritze, Danielle (Mental Health America, 2019)
    Mental Health America’s Mind the Workplace 2019 report explores the relationships between supervisor communication styles, company culture of open and safe communication, and employee engagement and wellbeing. • What matters more in creating safe spaces for disclosure – having supervisors who create safe spaces or creating a company culture of safe and open communication? • How does a supervisors’ communication style or a company’s culture of open communication foster motivation, engagement, and mental healthy workplaces? • If a person does not feel safe to speak out on personal concerns or ethical violations, how much does that contribute to their engagement and wellbeing? FINDINGS • Supervisor communication and a company culture of safe and open communication are correlated with an employee’s motivation, confidence, and pride. • Supervisor communication is correlated with safety in reporting ethical violations and areas for improvement in the workplace. • Feeling comfortable to report dishonest or unfair practices was most correlated with pride (whether you would recommend your workplace to others). • Among all employee wellbeing measures, pride was the most correlated with supervisor communication and a company culture of safe and open communication. • People who are the most stressed also reported they were in companies where it was safer to remain silent about their personal problems. Employee Engagement and Wellbeing • Fifty-eight percent of people reported that they were unmotivated at work. Of those, twenty-four percent were strongly unmotivated. • Sixty-six percent reported that workplace issues negatively affect their sleep, and half of respondents engage in unhealthy behaviors to cope with workplace stress. • Over half of respondents would not recommend their workplace to others, and 1 in 5 were strongly against it. • Nearly half (45 percent) look for a new job at least several times per week. Supervisor Communication and Support • Sixty-one percent of respondents disagreed that their supervisors check in on their workplace needs. • Only half reported they receive enough guidance to perform their jobs well. • Fifty-three percent reported their supervisor remains objective when dealing with workplace conflict. • Whether a supervisor valued feedback on workplace culture was most correlated with the health of the organization. Organizational Culture • Fifty-four percent of people reported they were not comfortable reporting dishonest or unfair practices to human resources or management. • Sixty percent reported it was safer to remain silent about things that need improvement, and sixty-nine percent reported it was safer to remain silent about their workplace stress. • Over half (55 percent) reported they were afraid to take a day off to attend to their mental health.
  • Mind the Workplace: Workplace Mental Health 2017

    Hellebuyck, Michele; Nguyen, Theresa; Halphern, Madeline; Fritze, Danielle; Kennedy, Jessica (Mental Health America, 2017)
    Mental Health America (MHA) recognizes the psychological impact that workplaces can have on their employees. Millions of employees spend a large part of their day, and lifetime, at work, increasing the effect that workplace environments can have on psychological well-being. MHA’s research is part of an ongoing commitment to uncovering workplace disparities and addressing the psychological needs of the workforce. The Workplace Health SUrvey measured the attitudes and perceptions of over 17,000 employees across 19 industries in the US. Survey questions were designed to collect data on workplace culture, workplace stress, employee engagement, and employee benefits. Survey findings explored the relationship between workplace health and employee engagement, a concept that has, in recent years, become more measurable, and indicative of workplace stress levels and overall mental health. Workplace Health Survey findings show that only twenty-one (21 percent) of respondents felt that they were paid what they deserved, while 44 percent of respondents felt that skilled employees were not given recognition. Additionally, only 36 percent and 34 percent of respondents felt that they could rely on supervisor and colleague support, respectively. This perceived lack of support and recognition in the workplace contribute to higher levels of workplace stress and isolation, and are strongly correlated with job dissatisfaction. Survey respondents also reported high rates of absenteeism (33 percent) and work-family conflict (81 percent), as well as increased mental health and behavioral problems (63 percent). Unsupportive and unstable workplaces fostered psychological distress and contributed to a decline in employee engagement. Among employees with lower levels of engagement, a majority (65 percent) reported that they spent between 31-50 hours a week distracted in their workplace, and 70 percent stated that they were thinking about and/or actively looking for a new job. Low levels of employee engagement were moderately correlated with overall workplace health. Across industries, those scoring lowest in workplace place health experienced higher levels of job dissatisfaction and insecurity. The healthiest workplace industries were: - Healthcare - Financial Services, and - Non-Profit. The unhealthiest workplace industries were: - Manufacturing, - Retail, and - Food and Beverage. Workplace perks, such as flexible time arrangements, opportunities for professional development, and open door and relaxed policies had the greatest influence on job satisfaction and employee engagement. Industries that scored highest on workplace health had a higher percentage of respondents stating they received flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and an open door and relaxed work environment. Survey findings also confirmed that workplace perks promoted more positive attitudes and perceptions amongst employees, while increasing engagement and productivity. Fortunately, for organizations that seek to improve workplace health, the survey’s results indicate that a handful of low cost options have a significant impact. Staff recognition and praise matters more than compensation, indicating that improving managements’ skills and ability to provide verbal and written support is more meaningful than increasing salaries. Similarly, employees really want to feel valued in their work environment. One opportunity is to explore extra benefits. Companies struggling with high turnover should consider adding flexible work arrangements, professional development, and ways to encourage a relaxed work environment to improve productivity and satisfaction.
  • EAP Competence and Value

    White, William L., 1947-; Sharar, David A., 1961- (2001-11)
    The second of two articles on the need for a revised ethic in employee assistance addresses concerns about the use of subcontractors by national EAP vendors.
  • Effectiveness of an Employment-Based Smoking Cessation Assistance Program In China

    Li, Peizhong; Larrison, Christopher; Lennox, Richard; Mollenhauer, Matthew; Sharar, David A., 1961- (2015)
    Objective: The objective of this study was to adapt an evidence-based smoking cessation intervention initially developed in the United States to the Chinese context and evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention in China. Method: A smoking cessation program from United States was adapted and implemented through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in China. The intervention consisted of recommending medication and psychological counseling. Local EAP counselors received training on the program and delivered the intervention to clients. Program evaluation examined the intervention's effectiveness in helping clients quit or reduce the amount of smoking and nicotine dependence. Results: Ninety-day follow-up showed that those who had completed the program were more likely to remain abstinent, or stop smoking daily and have lower levels of nicotine dependence (p < 0.05) than those who had dropped out. Conclusions: The evidence-based cessation program is effective in helping Chinese smokers quit or reduce the amount of smoking. Moreover, implementing such programs in an EAP setting is a practical approach to providing a wider spectrum of smokers with access to cessation assistance in China.
  • Bring it on Home: A Call for a Return to Localized EAP Services

    Bjornson, Tom; Sharar, David A., 1961- (2004)
  • Evidence-Based Practice in EAP

    Sharar, David A., 1961- (2006)
  • How Employee Assistance Programs Can Help Your Whole Company Address Racism at Work

    Jacobson Frey, Jodi (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020-10-14)
    It may surprise some employers to know that when employees experience racism and/or other forms of discrimination and oppression, one of the places they can turn for help is their Employee Assistance Program or EAP. While EAPs are thought of more often for use by employees for short-term counseling and referrals to help employees manage personal problems so that they don’t interfere with work performance and productivity, it is important to remember that EAPs also provide workplaces with services including organizational assessment, management consultation and strategic crisis prevention and response. It is precisely because of this mix of individual and organizational level of services that EAPs are in a unique position to help employees work through the trauma of racism and to provide workplace leaders with an invaluable insider view of complex workplace problems, including racism.
  • Assessment, Counseling for EAPs

    Peters, Robert J. (1989-05)
    Traditionally, EAPs have helped employees address personal problems that impact their job performance. This includes relationship difficulties, child care issues, alcohol and substance abuse, death of a loved one, divorce, parenting issues, marriage and re-marriage, birth of a child, experiencing trauma, low self esteem, depression and anxiety, financial and legal problems, caring for elderly parents and the host of problems we confront in our modern society
  • Worker Alcohol Abuse: Employers Can Help

    Sonnenstuhl, William J., 1946- (ILR - Cornell University, 2020-04-11)
    Isolating and working from home because of the pandemic, everyone has heard the jokes about alcohol. A Facebook favorite: Home schooling going well. Two students suspended for fighting. One teacher fired for drinking on the job. The United States has a temperate drinking culture, and the joke perfectly captures Americans’ ambivalence about alcohol. Drink moderately and alcohol can be a pleasant experience, an accompaniment to a meal, stress reducer and party enhancer; drink too much and unpleasant consequences can result, particularly interfering with the performance of critical social roles such as parenting, family, friends and work. In this context, employers are worried about what employees are doing while working from home. Are they all sitting at their computers with a glass of wine or coffee? Here are a few facts to guide employers and assist employees working from home.

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