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2011 Trends and Opportunities Report from Harris Rothenberg International Shows How Stress
is Impacting Organizations and Individuals, Provides Pathway for Long-Term Health

New York, April 12, 2011 — The 2011 Annual Trends Report released today from Harris Rothenberg International, Inc. (HRI), a leading employee/employer resource firm, reports that while organizations and employees are doing more with less, the resulting personal and organizational stress to find work/life balance is driving an increased need for comprehensive and proactive employee assistance programming. According to the report, while many, if not most, employees are adapting well to the changing workplace, the severity of problems facing employees in need has increased significantly, and the complexity of the issues they bring is unprecedented.

The 2010 HRI Trends Report assessed how organizations and individuals were adjusting to the new normal as a result of the most significant economic reversal since the Great Depression. This year’s report, Employee Engagement: The Secret to Success in 2011 underscores the need for corporations to rethink their approach to employee communication, assistance and engagement. The result, according to HRI experts, will be a more motivated, focused, healthy and productive workforce, poised to take advantage of the rebounding economy.

“2011 is all about employee engagement: from the executive suite to the shop floor,” said HRI CEO Edward Trieber, J.D., Ph.D.. “Given the stressors we are seeing throughout organizations, it is vital that corporations reassess how they are connecting with those inside their organizations, even those people who may never need any sort of employee assistance. Just knowing that their company provides a safety net is a strong motivator for employees and managers alike.”

The HRI Annual Trends Report has tracked changes in organizational and employee behavior for the past five years., This year’s report is based on interviews conducted with senior HR executives, consultants, and internal counselors and specialists, as well as some of the world’s leading authorities on employee engagement and productivity. In addition, recent Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Work/ Life Services (W/L) program data was analyzed to reveal the kinds of mental, emotional, and work/life issues employees are experiencing in the workplace.

2010 was a landmark year in terms of employee participation in EAP services services provided through HRI to its clients. Dr. Charles Lattarulo, HRI’s clinical director, noted that 2010 was marked by an increase in acute calls for assistance, including expressions of suicidality in the workplace, prescription medication abuse/dependence, anger management issues including bullying in the workplace, severe financial issues and the repeated use of EAP services by the same callers.

As Work/Life balance becomes an important issue for employees, the scope of Work/Life services being offered has expanded to encompass assistance with a wide-range of issues. As a result, in 2010, the number of people accessing Work/Life services each month increased an average of 69% over the same month in 2009. A common theme noted by HRI is financial uncertainty for individuals, as well as families struggling to pay bills, cover health insurance and find affordable childcare solutions.

The Answer: Engagement, Well-Being and a Culture of Health

For organizations operating in this new reality, HRI experts stress employee engagement as the first step to maintaining a healthy, productive and motivated workforce. As organizations strive to do more with less, it’s the employees who must take on extra work and go the extra mile. Only employees who feel connected to their organizations overall goals and vested in organizational success will make that commitment. In fact, a recent Hay Group study found that organizations in the top quartile of engagement levels had revenue growth 2.5 times that of organizations in the bottom quartile.

Employee well-being – physical, psychological and social – is the bedrock of organizational well-being, impacting productivity, health care costs and the general work environment. What’s more, the relationship between employee well-being and employee engagement cannot be overlooked, as they can serve as harbingers of employee productivity, commitment or risk of burn-out.

Both employee engagement and employee well-being can be addressed by fostering what HRI classifies as a culture of health. This organizational culture supports employees in their physical, mental and social well-being. By emphasizing employee health-promotion programs, organizations can realize significant decreases in medical, hospital, disability, worker’s compensation and drug costs. They also increase productivity, recruitment, retention, and morale, with a return on investment often reaching three dollars for every dollar spent. More importantly, fostering a culture of health, at all organizational levels, can lead to behavioral changes that last.

Awareness is key to creating a culture of health. Some organizations, as reported by HRI, are recognizing the importance of the extended employee family in delivering benefits information. Reaching out to families and dependents of employees to explain the benefits and programs available not only increases utilization, it can increase compliance and engagement in healthy behavior programs.

“It’s an organizational paradox,” said, Bea Harris, PhD, managing director of HRI. “Families represent the largest component of corporate healthcare costs, yet very few corporations provide any outreach and communication to families regarding health and well-being issues. By extending the reach of engagement to encompass the entire family, companies can build a healthier workforce while also building trust, confidence and commitment to the organization as a whole. At a time when everyone is being asked to do more with less, that commitment and goodwill, starting with the family, can have a dramatic, positive, impact overall performance.”

The complete 2011 HRI Trends and Opportunities Report is available for free at www.hriworld.com.

Harris, Rothenberg International, Inc.:
Harris, Rothenberg International (HRI) offers an array of comprehensive, integrated human resource programs and services designed to maximize organizational and employee performance. Founded in 1982, HRI is a pioneer and acknowledged leader in the field of HR strategy, leadership development, and employee productivity. We partner with clients of all sizes and all industries, from Fortune 100 companies to privately held businesses and nonprofit organizations. HRI is recognized as the standard by which EAP and other HR consulting firms are judged. For more information visit us online at www.hriworld.com or call 800-441-7509.




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