New Partner Expands Employee Assistance

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From time to time, we all need to consult with an expert.

Whether it’s formulating a household budget, helping a child through a difficult transition, or developing one’s managerial skills, staff and faculty are invited to try Georgia Tech’s employee assistance program (EAP), a free benefit that recently expanded its range of services to cover the needs of a diverse campus population.

Through its contract with EAP Consultants, Tech employees have 24/7 access to counselors who can help provide guidance and support for work-life issues. With a local network of licensed clinical social workers, counselors are available by phone, web, or smartphone app.

Benefits-eligible full-time employees may use the EAP free of charge. We asked Suzy Harrington, executive director of Georgia Tech Health & Well-Being, and EAP Consultants Representative Adrianne Moberg to further explain what the program is and how staff and faculty can take advantage of its services.

What’s the function of an employee assistance program? 

Harrington: We want Georgia Tech’s EAP to support staff and faculty by providing services that can optimize health and well-being and assist in various life challenges that occur both at work and at home. The EAP helps with personal and professional concerns such as stress, conflict at home or at work, financial or legal questions, substance abuse, emergency planning, and even finding places to care for our loved ones — to include children, elders, or even pets.

Tell us about the selection process for an employee assistance program. What types of attributes was Tech’s selection committee looking for?

Harrington: The selection committee was Human Resources Associate Vice President Kim Harrington, Georgia Tech Chief of Police Rob Connolly, and me. First, we consulted the Employee Assistance Society of North America to identify criteria for our initial request for proposals. We knew we wanted a high-quality, high-touch program that provided a wide range of services to include work-life, counseling, and managerial support. 

Who are the EAP counselors and what is their role? What kind of assistance do they offer?

Moberg: EAP Counselors are independently licensed mental health professionals located near campus and near where Georgia Tech faculty and staff live. They offer consultation, assessment of issues, short-term counseling, and referral to other resources if needed.

Help us understand how the process works. What kinds of problems does the EAP help with? What can an employee expect when they contact the EAP? 

Moberg: The Georgia Tech EAP can assist faculty and staff with most any personal or work-related issue that causes distress. Common issues include marital and family concerns, parenting, stress, depression, anxiety, legal or financial issues, communication difficulties, interpersonal conflicts, and many others. When the employee or dependent contacts the EAP by telephone or website, professional counselors briefly interview the client to obtain registration information, assess for safety, and then arrange a referral to a counselor, attorney, financial professional, or other specialist who provides the one-to-one services.

The EAP is being promoted as a free service for employees. What does this cover? Under what circumstances would an employee need to pay for services? 

Moberg: All EAP services are at no cost to clients, such as the private one-to-one counseling or the work-life services consultations and resources. All employees receive six free counseling visits, per subject, for themselves and their family members. If a client needs services beyond the scope of the EAP, then the individual will need to pay for those services. EAP counselors refer employees to services that are covered by the employee’s health care plan and consider client affordability for any resources they recommend.

How does EAP vet its referral network? Are these outside vendors periodically evaluated? 

Moberg: The EAP has a network management department that vets counselors. Its specialists recruit and screen network counselors to ensure they meet our credentialing criteria. All counselors are independently licensed, have an average of 10 years’ experience, have no board sanctions, and carry appropriate malpractice insurance. Counselors also have various specialty areas of practice, and the EAP matches clients to counselors based on these specialty areas, as well as other factors such as the client’s request concerning office hours or location. Most offer evening or weekend office hours. Counselors are re-credentialed by the EAP every two years. They are also evaluated on an ongoing basis for quality of services.

Where do face-to-face counseling sessions occur?

Moberg: Face-to face counseling occurs in the private offices of network counselors. These offices are located near where employees and family members work and live.

How can one be assured that confidentiality is respected? Does EAP report any data to Georgia Tech?

Moberg: EAP Consultants are licensed mental health professionals and are bound by federal and state confidentiality laws, regulations, and guidelines governing the confidentiality of counseling and medical records. EAP Consultants will not provide any employee identifying information to anyone, particularly to Georgia Tech. Exceptions to confidentiality include when a person is an immediate risk of harm to self or others and instances of suspected child or elder abuse, which requires EAP counselors to ensure the safety of clients and others, or to report suspected abuse to appropriate authorities as required by law. 

Harrington: As with all programs, data is required for quality improvement and to determine cost effectiveness and success. I will receive a quarterly aggregate de-identified report — no names or identifying characteristics — that have the number and type of services provided, so that we can build quality programs that meet the needs unique to Georgia Tech faculty and staff. 


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Kristen Bailey
  • Created:10/10/2016
  • Modified By:Kristen Bailey
  • Modified:10/10/2016