I received a press release this morning from Harris Rothenberg International (HRI), a firm that "helps organizations around the world solve their most challenging and complex people issues". The press release announced they had just released a report that shows more than ever, people are relying on employer/employee-assistance programs (EAP) and work/life resources to help them address stresses brought on by the economy.
The free report, The Uncertainty and Change Report: Thriving in Our Challenging Times can be downloaded here.
When I went to their web site to download the report I noticed a wealth of great (and free) information on topics related to financial uncertainty - for employees and employers.
Some specific findings of the report:
Edward Trieber, J.D., Ph.D., psychologist and managing director of HRI says this:
- Calls to employer sponsored EAPs in the past year have increased in intensity and need. In particular calls relating to financial concerns increased over 13 percent.
- Calls for mortgage assistance, rent subsidies, child care/adult care subsidies, prescription assistance programs and others were up significantly.
- Statistics show that there have been increases in 401(k) hardship withdrawals.
- HRI's EAP counselors report that employees say they are working more and that people are more pessimistic and people who have lost their jobs or fear losing their jobs are calling for information about and referrals for career consulting, resume preparation, low-cost health insurance and other related needs.
- Companies are cutting expenses and want employees to copay for benefits like backup care, which have not historically required out-of-pocket payment from employees.
- Many companies have smaller staffs now and therefore need more productivity from their employees, but many employees are being less productive as they worry about the future
“Over the past year, we have seen alarming trends in calls for EAP and work/life services. People are using EAPs as a suicide hotline, and people are calling about substance abuse, indicating they self-medicate to deal with stress and anxiety. People have been asking for referrals to food pantries. Even callers looking for legal help stay on the phone for the emotional support now.”
Beatrice Harris, Ph.D., psychologist and managing director of HRI says this:
“The majority of EAP calls in the past year, while spanning a number of topics, end up touching on the financial in one way or another. If a call comes in about a relationship issue, chances are finances enter the conversation. When a caller talks about anxiety, he or she ultimately talks about job security issues or financial constraints as a contributing factor. Financial stress is the dominant subject for the EAP and work/life calls our counselors are receiving.” Read the report for more interesting statistics and useful educational information relating to finances.
My point in this blog isn't to ruin your day with negative information. It's to highlight the tremendous importance of employee benefit programs like EAPs and work-life programs and how critical they can be in difficult times. Companies should not think of these programs as benefit expenses but as investments in their most valuable assets - people.
It's also to recognize HRI for sharing this information and effectively using it in their marketing.
In a blog post I wrote last year titled Don't Think Content Matters? One Example Why It Does. Even in this Economy. I provided a 15-step list of best-practices for how to use content in your marketing and PR campaigns to generate visibility, traffic, leads and SEO. I'll repost them here.
Oh, and don't forget to Twitter about it and mention it on your company's Facebook page (or Facebook Group you have set up).
- Writing a quality white paper on a very relevant topic that is on the minds of many HR decision makers.
- Narrowing the topic of the white paper to a particular industry that they happen to focus on.
- Focusing the white paper to a topic that has increased relevance to this industry.
- Not making the white paper too promotional.
- In the white paper (at the end) place information about your company and have your company name and URL as a footer on every page of the white paper. And do not make the white paper promotional.
- Place the white paper on your website for free download. Link to it from the welcome page and other highly visible places (like a sidebar throughout the site).
- Require the bare minimum of contact information such as Name, Company and email on your registration form.
- On the Landing Page, place a summary of the white paper so search engine spiders/crawlers can find and index the page. Make sure the title and meta tags reflect your keywords.
- Announce the white paper in at least two press releases. One press release (or pitch) - we call these "traditional" press releases - is sent to appropriate journalists and provides a summary of the white paper and wy it is newsworthy. If you want to share the white paper with the media do not attach it to your email but link to it - and do not require them to fill out any forms to download it. You will then want to send at least one search-optimized press release directly to the Internet with links to your landing page for download. This release provides a sneak preview and compelling facts/trends/statistics to entice people to download the white paper.
- Place a copy of this press release on your own web site with links to your white paper landing page. If you have a newsletter, mention the white paper in the next issue. If you have a blog, blog about it.
- Send the white paper to a few key bloggers in your industry. You should personalize these emails and make sure to explain to the blogger why you are sending the white paper to them and how it may be of interest to his/her readers. Again, do not attach it to your email but link to it - and do not require them to fill out any forms to download it.
- Send a direct email to your house list announcing the availability of the white paper with a link to the landing page. I suggest you also rent a targeted opt-in list of HR decision makers (at least 5,000 - will cost you between $0.20 - $0.50 per email) and send the direct email to them as well. If you do not have a house list, rent a larger list of 10,000 or more.
- Recycle and revise the white paper into a 800 -1,000 word byline article and submit/publish in an industry trade magazine that accepts byline articles. HRmarketer members can find out which trades accept byline articles by searching their Media Outlets database.
- Consider also doing a webcast on the white paper topic. In fact, on your download page (see step 7) you can include a check box to register for the webcast that discusses the white paper content.
- Reload and repeat the above steps each quarter