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Back to the future.

Isn't it amazing how we keep rediscovering truths we once knew?

For example, in recent years, many in the EA field de-emphasized what were once seen as core services to the organizational client. These EA providers focused on serving self-referred employees and family members with ever-more-sophisticated services. As they did so, however, they found themselves moving ever more deeply into a commodity marketplace.

Certainly, services to individual employees and their families are of value to organizations. The fact is, however, that the downward pressure on prices--and, therefore, on our ability to deliver quality services--has been relentless. We have not been able to demonstrate or differentiate the value of these employee services in terms for which employers will pay premium prices.

Why not? Perhaps we have lost sight of the fact that organizations, like people, value most those solutions that directly address their most pressing problems. If we want the attention (and money) of organizational decision-makers, we must deliver solutions to the organizational concerns that keep them awake at night.

This is not a new insight. The earliest EAPs focused directly on addressing costly organizational concerns. The original statement of the EAP Core Technology included six core functions, five of which addressed the workplace directly EAPA, meanwhile, has long defined an employee assistance program in part as a program "designed to assist work organizations in addressing productivity issues...".

Today, many EA professionals are rediscovering the wisdom embodied in this approach. In recognition of this trend, we are focusing directly on EA services to the organizational client in this issue of the Journal.

Inside, you will find articles on a company-wide anger management initiative, a stress management program driven by EAP participation on a company safety committee, and the challenges and rewards of applying the "emotional intelligence" concept in the workplace. We also look at human resources risk management and how organizational services round out the "business case" for EAPs.

In addition to the focus articles, this issue also includes a look at wellness programs, fitness-for-duty evaluations, and the growing phenomenon of underemployment. We hope you will read the articles, talk about them with your colleagues, and let us know if we're on the right track in bringing you the information you need.

And speaking of getting you the information you need, the 2003 EAPA Annual Conference is fast approaching. If you haven't made your reservations to attend, I urge you to do so now. We're planning something special this year, and you need to be there. See you in New Orleans.
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Title Annotation:Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Author:Maynard, John
Publication:The Journal of Employee Assistance
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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