Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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Awareness of EAPs Can Significantly Increase Their Value

0 - blogIn the challenging busyness of our everyday life, workplace stresses and deadlines, caregiving to children and elderly parents, finances, and relationships, all can become an overwhelming experience. Remaining positive and still being able to offer your guidance at home to our loved ones and to our employees at work, can become a burden. Knowing where to turn for help is a large part of accessing help, but when our emotions are maxed, we don’t always remember what resources are available, their value to us, and how easily they can be accessed. This is exactly why EAP services are so essential for the wellbeing of your business and your employees to make it run effectively, and it underscores the importance of “spreading the word”.

As you may know, three of the biggest issues facing businesses today are employee retention, absenteeism, and loyalty. If your employees are struggling with personal issues and work issues, it only makes sense that they might be distracted from their work and, as a result, be less productive. It is often the case that these issues could sometimes be prevented, and utilizing an effective EAP can make your employees feel more supported, and give them the help and tools they need to improve their personal and professional lives to reduce these issues in the workplace.

Despite the fact that there are so many obvious benefits to having an EAP in your workplace, why are these programs still so underused or not even used at all? About 80% of Canadian employers have an EAP, but only 8% of employees actually make use of these services!

Why might your employees choose not to use your EAP, even though many of them would benefit from their services? I can think of four common responses:

  1. Our employees don’t think an EAP is entirely confidential.
  2. They don’t see EAPs as a preventative resource, just one to access in need.
  3. Our employees think their EAP only offers psychological support.
  4. They don’t even know it exists!

How can you encourage a change in your employees’ perceptions of using an EAP? How do you make your employees aware of what exactly an EAP is, and the benefits of using the services they provide? Well, I’d start by addressing the above four misconceptions:

  1. Access to your EAP is 100% confidential. As an organization, it’s important to communicate this to employees. An EAP cannot confirm nor deny an employee’s participation in the EAP without written consent from the employee(within legal limitations).
  2. Break the stigma in your organization! Reassure employees that no one is immune to experiencing personal issues on and off the job, and that seeking assistance before issues become unmanageable is beneficial to them personally and professionally.
  3. Reiterate to your employees that their EAP is so much more than counselling – it also provides coaching, legal, financial, nutritional services, and management support at no cost to them. .
  4. Make your EAP provider’s phone number available, and let your employees know that all they need to do is make the call 24/7.
    1. Ensure employees are aware of the full range of services available to them, using any and all communication channels. There is a direct correlation between the promotion of your EAP and the utilization of your EAP. Make EAP education a part of your employee onboarding and training process. Don’t let employee wellness and productivity suffer when help is readily available.

Education and communication are the best ways to encourage employee use of your EAP and overcome any stigma attached to it. As your employees start to understand that your EAP is a completely confidential service to help them deal with life’s challenges before they become too much to handle, awareness and acceptance will increase, and trust and comfort will be engendered. The use of your EAP will rise, in turn increasing employee wellness and productivity.

Are employees in your organization encouraged to reach out for help, even before issues become difficult to manage? What tools does your organization have in place that can be used to communicate EAP benefits? What other ways of communicating the EAP to employees can you suggest for an organization?

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3 Tips to Achieving Your Unfinished Goals for 2015

Picture for Aspiria blog Sept 22The world’s focus is set on the global refugee crisis as tens of thousands of displaced refugees and migrants make their way across Europe. It is a stressful situation for both the thousands of displaced people, as well as for the residents of the countries taking them in.  With so much attention focused overseas, it can be easy to lose focus of our own goals at home.

Goals allow us to point our lives in the direction we want to. They can bring us a strong sense of accomplishment, and thus satisfaction and happiness that is much needed in stressful times.

With a little less then four months left in 2015 how can we accomplish the goals we set forth in the beginning of the year?

I’ve outlined below a few tips to help you accomplish your goals for the remaining year.

  1. Refocus

It can often be easy to lose track of the goals we set in the beginning of the year as after the pressures of work, life, and relationships, we forget why we set out those goals in the first place. Review your list and ask yourself why it’s important for you to complete these goals by the end of 2015.

  1. Re-prioritize

Ask yourself how realistic is it for you to accomplish these goals by the end of the year? If timing is not essential, then re-prioritize so you have time to accomplish the ones that are most relevant to you, and reflect where you are in your life today. The fact is that you had more time at the beginning of the year, than you have now, closer to the end of the year, so being realistic is key to accomplishing the goals you really can attain in 4 months.

  1. Break it into bite-sized chunks

So often in our excitement we try to tackle something all at once. Sometimes in our quest to be productive, we try to do too much all at once, but instead accomplish so little. Perhaps the reason some of your goals are left unaccomplished is because they were not realistic. You are better off doing small things more often, rather than big things less often. Try breaking down your goal into smaller bite sizes that are more realistically accomplishable.

Of the many clients I have counselled in my 25+ year career, I have never met a single individual who accomplished all of the goals they set out for in a year – so give yourself some slack and remember the “goal of goal-setting” is to be better, grow, and move your life in the direction you want.

Have you accomplished all of your goals for 2015? If not, how do you plan on realizing your goals?


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Change Your Habits and Stay Motivated in 2014

Snow-footprintsThe New Year brings the promise of renewed commitment to many life goals – if you take one look at your local gym, you’ll see the number of people newly committed to their health in 2014!

Whether your list of New Year’s resolutions includes improving your fitness, saving  money or quitting smoking, the focus  almost completely lies on achieving the end result.

However, if February rolls around and you haven’t lost your 10 pounds yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you haven’t achieved something along the way. Setting lofty expectations for yourself can be a good thing – for some people, it challenges and motivates them to achieve the next level of success. For others, however, expectations that border on the unrealistic can harm our sense of accomplishment and make us feel like we have failed somehow, particularly if we only concentrate on the end result.

This year, make goal-setting an enjoyable experience by challenging yourself while still being kind to yourself. Long-term change is only possible when you can keep yourself consistently motivated by your progress. Instead of vowing to lose 30 pounds this year, why not aim to incorporate positive habits into your routine, like working out 3 times a week and packing your lunch for work. These are choices and changes you can make daily that contribute to the sense of progress that keeps you motivated.

Recognize that it is the countless daily choices and habits that make up who we are, rather than impractical goals we set for ourselves. By concentrating on those small, everyday choices, we will slowly become better versions of ourselves.

What habits will you try to implement this year? Have you tried traditional goal-setting? What results have you seen? I look forward to your comments below!