COPE CopeLine Supervisor

December 2015

A newsletter for supervisors and line managers

How To Communicate With Staff

Richard Sherman, the controversial cornerback on the Seattle Seahawks had a telling observation about his coach, Pete Carroll, in the run-up to the Super Bowl on Sunday. "I've never been on a team where the coaching staff was so positive, " he told Sports Illustrated. "There isn't a lot of yelling at players. There's no talking down to players. It's about conversations, not aggression."

That observation might come as a surprise to those whose knowledge of Sherman is limited to a recent, much-debated outburst. The Stanford graduate is in fact a thoughtful writer and contributor to sports reporting. And if what he says is true, the Big Game was a good reminder for supervisors that they have a coaching role, too

Kevin Eikenberry, the author of Remarkable Leadership, conducts coaching workshops for business leaders, and he stresses the same thing when talking about how supervisors give feedback to their employees. "All feedback should be delivered as a conversation," he says. "In order for the other party to best accept and understand any feedback we have to share, it must be a conversation." He offers a few tips on why conversing with employees benefits both parties:

1. a conversation is generally easier;

2. it takes much of the pressure out of the situation;

3. it reduces heated emotion that can slow communication; and

4. it focuses the process on your true intent which should be to help the other person be more successful.

If it worked for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks, it should work for you. Give it a try.

Are EAPs Affected by Recent Health Care Reform?

In late December, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury proposed amending the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA-Health Information Privacy) for several types of benefits, including employee assistance programs (EAPs). Specifically, the proposed rules set out conditions under which EAPs can qualify as excepted benefits. Excepted benefits are generally not considered health insurance coverage--such as workers compensation, liability insurance, and automobile insurance--because they don't provide medical care in the strictest sense of the definition.

Does it impact me?

The amendment appears primarily intended to help small companies and/or their employees in securing health insurance through the new market exchanges. For 2014, an employer is permitted some leeway with respect to the regulations which become law in 2015. The devil is in the details, however, and an EAP that provides medical care (immunizations for example) may be considered a group health plan and is potentially subject to the ACA market reform requirements (and HIPAA). If you'd like to learn more, contact EAPA.

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