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What is a Workplace Chaplin?

Many people are familiar with Chaplains in hospitals or in the military. A Chaplain fills a similar role in the workplace. Trained in creative problem solving, workplace Chaplains are accessible 24/7/365 for employees and their household members. They walk through life with employees, care for them, serve as a confidential listener, and offer assistance and resources to help the employee as they walk through difficult times.


Why would a company offer an Employee Care Program (EAP)?

Companies look at the whole person. They know employees have a life outside of work, and they realize that things going on in their personal life can carry into the workday. They offer this benefit because they want the employee to have a place to turn when challenges come, knowing that this will help them feel better and function at their best at work and at home. Bottom line: They really care about each employee as a person, not just as an employee!


Why should my business have an Employee Care Program?

An Employee Care Program makes good business sense. Take appropriate care of your employees and they will take care of business. Hundreds of companies are discovering the human resource and bottom-line benefits of having a Chaplain weekly on the premises and available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in case of an emergency, crisis, or other need. Through our Chaplaincy Assistance Program, employers can demonstrate that they care about those they lead.


The tangible benefits of employee care are numerous: from improved attitudes, cooperation, and performance to increased loyalty and commitment to the job. Decreases in anxiety and stress coupled with greater company loyalty all result in a lower turnover rate and higher productivity, which have a direct positive impact on the company’s bottom line.


Why is an Employee Care Program important for employers as well as their employees?

Offering an Employee Care Program as an optional employee benefit provides the needed competitive edge when it comes to hiring top talent. Additionally, companies offering an Employee Care Program report much higher usage rates than traditional Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), simply because of the relational nature of the chaplaincy program. Most employers recognize that absenteeism and turnover can create a significant cost to the business or corporation. In addition, an employee who is focused on a personal problem, rather than on work, is sometimes the cause of expensive errors or accidents.


Being proactive in caring for the emotional needs of employees actually can save a company money in the long run. Simply stated, when the individual employee gets help, the family gets help, and the company’s bottom line improves.


What benefits does a Chaplain provide the company’s management team?

Chaplains are available to serve the rank-and-file employees as well as the company leaders. In addition to being available to help executives and managers resolve personal problems, Chaplains serve as a resource for company leaders and are always available to respond quickly to special requests from company leaders for any type of assistance.


With a Chaplain in the workplace, managers can focus on the productivity of the company and doing that for which they are trained, rather than on the plethora of relational issues that otherwise seem to consume so much time—often these issues are outside the scope of the manager’s expertise as well. Our Chaplaincy Assistance Program, therefore, frees managers to do what they do best—and allows the Chaplain to do what he or she does best for the benefit of all involved.


How does an Employee Care Program differ from an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

Our Employee Care Program is relational through on-site Chaplains, not in an office or at the end of a 1-800 number waiting for a call. The Chaplains provide a “service of presence.” They intentionally loiter. They engage. Their physical presence enables early intervention. They identify and address potential issues before they become costly or a legal crisis. They interact with what they see in ways that bring new realizations and transformation—not just information and resources—to individuals. They engage people with dignity and trust to create transformation.


How will the Employee Care Program be introduced to my employees?

Before a Chaplain starts work with a company, an orientation meeting is held to explain the ground rules, including the Chaplain's confidentiality. This meeting is similar in tone and function to other benefits orientation meetings, with time for questions and answers. At the end of the orientation, employees receive a business card with the Chaplain's cell phone number, email, etc. The Chaplain's contact information is also posted on bulletin boards and listed in other company communication vehicles.


Does a Chaplain in the workplace interfere with employees getting their jobs done?

No. The Chaplain's role is to help employees deal with the issues in life that distract them from work and make it more difficult for them to focus and be their best.


The typical Chaplain/employee interface will occur during the Chaplain's regular hours in the office or by phone or email. If an employee would like to have a more in-depth discussion or request additional assistance from the Chaplain, follow-up conversations can be arranged outside of work hours. These arrangements may include communicating through email, setting aside time for a confidential phone call, or getting together during a break or lunchtime. Additionally, a more in-depth discussion may occur at a neutral location. If a prolonged visit at the workplace appears necessary, the employee’s supervisor’s approval would be required before any such meeting took place.


Having a conversation with a Chaplain brings a fresh set of eyes and ears to a problem and allows employees a safe place to deal with the issues of life.


Are conversations with a Chaplain confidential?

Yes.* Since conversations with Chaplains are confidential, Chaplains do not report the content of these conversations to the management or any other party, not even to other Chaplains. With this in mind, employees are safe to talk about any issues they are dealing with in their professional lives, as well as in their private lives.


Most Chaplains are not professional counselors, and the Chaplain's role is not to serve as a counselor. However, there may be times when a Chaplain feels a counselor would handle the employee’s situation best. In these cases, the referral protocol would be discussed with the employee. 


*The only exception in the confidentiality agreement is in cases of child abuse or when someone poses an immediate threat to him or herself or the safety of someone else. In such cases, employees will be informed that the conversation is venturing into an area where the Chaplain is obliged to report what is discussed and asked if they want to continue.


What about employees who may not want a Chaplain?

The Employee Care Program is a voluntary benefit. Employees will have a Chaplain available 24/7/365, but it is entirely up to the employee if they would like to contact a Chaplain and talk to him or her about anything.


Chaplains will not force a relationship. The Chaplain will let the employee lead the relationship. They will be consistent and available, but they will not initiate a deeper conversation unless the employee invites them in.


What types of cases typically involve a Chaplain?

Chaplains are available to listen and to help in any number of situations, large and small. Chaplains walk through life with employees, as both confidant and advisor, as needed.


Chaplains are also certified to enter jail facilities, emergency rooms, and accident scenes. Chaplains will assist employees with issues pertaining to hospital care, family and marriage care, substance abuse, stress management, and interpersonal conflicts. Some Chaplains can also officiate at wedding ceremonies and funeral services.


Does the Chaplain provide long-term counseling services?

Chaplains will not provide counseling services, but Chaplains will provide care for those who are in need of professional counseling by helping to connect them with a counselor, either from the company’s insurance network or from the Chaplain's own referral network.


When is the Chaplain available, and how does an employee contact a Chaplain when special needs arise?

For routine contact, employees will have the email address and phone number of the Chaplain.


Because Chaplains contact employees on a regular basis, employees often ask for assistance directly. Chaplains can also be contacted via email, or employees can initiate a phone call to the Chaplain. Since the Chaplains come to know the employees by way of regular brief contact, there are very few barriers to initiating a discussion and following up with regard to any concerns on successive visits.


Are the Chaplains required to be affiliated with any specific church or denomination?



Can the Chaplain effectively care for all employees from varied backgrounds regardless of their beliefs?

Yes. Chaplains are skilled workplace caregivers who are trained in providing care in a diverse environment. Their role is to care for each employee regardless of religious background or personal values.


Do Chaplains “push religion” or focus primarily on the religious needs of employees?

No. Chaplains are sensitive to any needs you may have. The approach is based on the military and hospital Chaplaincy models—to provide a neutral, nurturing, and always-available caregiver—with a focus on helping employees and their families better manage and respond to basic issues that come up in their personal lives and at work. Employees have the option to talk with Chaplains about any issue, and employees decide where to take the conversation. This means that the Chaplains will listen to what the employee has to say, facilitate discussions with the employee, and help the employee problem-solve healthy ways to deal with the situation. The Chaplains will not bring up spirituality unless the employee asks about spiritual issues.


Are men and women Chaplains provided?

Yes. We have both men and women Chaplains. Chaplains are assigned based on the employee makeup of the organization.


Do you have Chaplains that speak other languages?

Yes. Currently, we have Spanish and Japanese-speaking Chaplains.


What are the benefits of outsourcing an Employee Care Program rather than hiring my own Chaplain?

There are several benefits to outsourcing an Employee Care Program. First, outsourcing is more cost-effective than hiring a full-time staff person. Second, EMPLOYEE CARE OF AMERICA gives your company access to other trained, experienced Chaplains. Finally, outsourcing provides greater confidentiality and objectivity.

If you would like to explore how our Chaplaincy Assistance Program can be of value to your employees, executive team and organization, please contact us.

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