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Veteran-Friendly EAP Practice

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) conducted the Veterans in the Workplace study to identify promising practices to improve Veteran retention in the workplace. Effective Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) were considered by study respondents to be an important factor in Veteran retention in the workplace.
This report lists some of the optimal criteria, both from the VA’s study results and other sources, which describe Veteran-friendly EAP practices.

Intake, Assessment, & Referral

EAP Providers:

  • Are trained in military culture and how to ask about military history
  • Ask about military service during intake
  • Know when and how to use a brief screener for PTSD (see VA’s Community Provider Toolkit Mini-Clinics at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/communityproviders/miniclinics.asp)
  • Assess for other clinical issues such as suicide, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety using appropriate screeners (see Mini-Clinics link above)
  • Are trained to recognize when they need to consult and/or refer to another provider
  • Help clients connect with other treatment options when required services exceed what the EAP can provide (consider VA resources for Veterans)
  • Maintain a database of resources and referral options for Veterans (i.e., providers who are trained on military culture, Veterans’ issues, treatment of PTSD)

Assistance for Veterans

EAP Providers:

  • Are trained in Veteran-related issues
  • Have knowledge of National Guard and Reserve issues, such as deployment preparation, family issues while deployed, and reintegration upon return to work
  • Receive annual continuing education related to Veterans
  • Educate others on the VA’s resources for Veterans and their family members
  • Provide the option of face-to-face counseling and coaching
  • Collect anonymous feedback from clients on the intake, assessment, and referral processes
  • Have a clear confidentiality policy and emphasize the importance of confidentiality to employees
  • Engage in ongoing program promotion tailored to management, supervisors, employees, and specific departments
  • Offer EAP services to members of client’s household and dependents

Management & Supervisor Consultation

EAP providers provide consultation to management and supervisors regarding:

  • Military transition issues, including support for members of the National Guard and Reserve
  • Reasonable accommodations for behavioral health issues
  • Issues impacting the performance of individual employees, groups, and the organization as a whole
  • Appropriate responses to employee behaviors with which they are having issues
  • How to encourage and de-stigmatize use of EAP services by employees

Training Programs

For employees:

  • Inform employees during on-boarding about confidential, Veteran-friendly services available through EAP and how to access those services
  • Provide training on differences between military and civilian workplace culture
  • Incorporate Veterans’ issues into diversity trainings

For supervisors and management:

  • Educate supervisors and managers on military and civilian cultural differences (e.g., the military use of manuals, necessity for punctuality, and “respect” for rank or time in service)
  • Educate supervisors and managers about PTSD, while also promoting the message that most Veterans make a successful transition to the civilian workplace
  • Train supervisors and managers on Veterans’ issues to develop awareness of assumptions and stereotypes regarding Veterans

Other Practices

EAP Providers will:

  • Collaborate with other EAPs through conferences to share innovative ideas and lessons learned
  • Garner senior management endorsement of the EAP as a positive support to the entire organization

Sources

Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University & Corporate Gray. (2013). Veterans in the workplace final report. Washington, D.C.: Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mickenburg, Judy, Behavioral Health & Organizational Wellness Consultant. Telephone interview. 7 Mar. 2013.

Dolan-Del Vecchio, Kenneth, Vice President, Health and Wellness at Prudential. Telephone interview. 5 Mar. 2013.

Croft, Harry A., MD. EAP Information in Support of Veterans in the Workplace Report. San Antonio: 7 Mar. 2013. Microsoft Word.

Potterton, Daniel, Chief Operating Officer, FEI Behavioral Health. Telephone interview. 14 Mar. 2013.

EASNA. (2009). Selecting and Strengthening Employee Assistance Programs:
A Purchaser’s Guide. Arlington, VA: Employee Assistance Society of North America.
http://www.easna.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/EASNA-PURCHSERS-GUIDE-TO-EAPs-FINAL-102209.pdf

Note: This material was generated by Corporate Gray and The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and is based on research conducted under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ contract VA101-C17232.