Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Program Evaluation--Not Rocket Science, but Rocket Fuel

Doing program evaluation to spot a specific positive outcome that results from your EAP activities can be a impressive way to keep managment focused on the value of your program. Doing simple program evalution so you can lay claim to the positive financial impact is not so complicated that you can't do it yourself. It's not rocket science, but it is rocket fuel if you can get yourself focused on it.

The simplest type of research that you might want to try is the "Before and After" Study. This is a legitimate area of program evaluation and it is a good type for EAPs to consider because of the intervention factor. One can measure the values of specific concerns before an intervention and then after the intervention, continue with the same measurement in an attempt to demonstrate, validate, and measure impact.

Here are some of the workplace areas where before and after studies can be applied. You may want to keep a list of these things, tally them with the help of your organization, and then consider which ones you might be able to positively influence with the EAP.

  • Absent Days Without Leave
  • Sick Days Recorded
  • Number of Employee Grievances
  • Turnover Rate
  • Number of Accidents on Job
  • Injuries Resulting in Lost Work Time
  • Amount of Workers' Compensation Claims Paid
  • Total Number of Disciplinary Actions Executed
  • Complaints From Female (Male) Staff About Sexual Harassment
  • Number of Terminations for Cause (Fired Employees)
  • Total Number of Employees Testing Positive for Drug Use
  • Attorney Bills for Consultations AboutTroubled Employees
    Total Number of Wage Garnishments
  • Earlier Return to Work for Employees with Work Injurie

When You're Friends with Your Employee

Let me ask if you are personal friends with your employee? Do you socialize on weekends and in off hours? If so, you are participating in what is commonly called a "dual relationship." This is hazardous territory, despite what you think is your unique ability to "handle it." If you are a new supervisor, you might want to consider now how to minimize the intimacy of the relationships you have with with those you must now supervise.

A personal relationship will always subordinate itself to the employment relationship when the "stuff" hits the fan. You'll give up that friendship before you let management snuff you for not taking action against a problematic employee. But there are many more problems associated with dual relationship. Employees know if you have a different type of relationship with one of their coworkers that looks more favorable. They'll smell it a mile away. This knowledge interferes with their belief that you are completely objective, and this will interfere with your ability to influence their productivity. What should you do about this conflict of interest? Wise supervisors who have answered this question the hard way say, "Avoid dual relationships!" Get your friendship needs met somewhere else. Getting your social needs met outside the work organization will reduce severe stress associated with the difficult decisions you must make with your employee when their performance goes south.