Eos logo

The Eos Life~Work resource centre

Specialist services for Human Resource
and Occupational Health professionals

(updated 30 August 2006)

We provide practical organisation services direct to Employers and Managers in small and medium sized organisations (SME's) that do not have a Human Resources/Personnel Manager. For larger organisations we usually work with Human Resources and/or Occupational Health teams who want specialised support for specific staffing, training or policy issues. "We" is mostly "I" - Dai Williams. But on specialist projects, or where several consultants are required, "we" involves drawing on a number of experienced Occupational Psychologists (mostly Chartered), Occupational Health practitioners or Personnel / Human Resource professionals with a wide range of specialist skills, and including male or female consultants for situations where gender may be a special issue.

This section includes professional and ethical issues for Chartered Occupational Psychologists providing specialist services to other professional practitioners and to corporate clients.

We offer individual and group briefings for professional development. But we also think that stronger networking - between professions, and between practitioners and researchers - is essential in this era of rapid change. This is now covered on the Professional networking page. This includes our recommended Internet links . For other examples of Eos work on employment research, policy and practice issues see the Life~work themes page.

Working with Human Resource professionals
In our work with local, national and international Human Resources or Personnel departments we place a high priority on the autonomy of in-house professionals. Our role is facilitate existing services or to offer specialist services not available in the organisation. Where possible we aim to transfer the techniques or approaches we use (eg career management, transition management and crisis analysis) to our key contacts in Human Resources and Occupational Health departments.
This skill-transfer is an important aspect of enhancing client autonomy, both for individual and corporate clients. We offer techniques that require low maintenance (eg for records) but are robust. They have to be adaptable to changing situations because many apply to employee's short and medium term potential. We appreciate the operational demands on busy HR departments so we offer practical diagnoses and options for specific situations e.g. return to work options for an employee on leave for suspected stress-related conditions.

We take an 'open-systems' view of HR issues i.e. looking for wider impacts of our proposals on personnel policy or practice, and aware of changing management priorities within the organisation. We do not offer single issue, panacea solutions. We are pragmatic about achievable short term results but relate these to wider HR and corporate objectives.

Our effectiveness in highly confidential situations depends on maintaining respect and integrity with managers, staff and employee representatives. One unique asset in discussing complex life~work situations with staff or managers is that we are independent mentors, not part of the organisation. The BPS Code of Practice includes paramount responsibility for the welfare of individual clients without breaking confidentiality or responsibilities to our corporate client. These are explained in our Terms and Conditions for Employer Sponsored Clients, available on request.

Potential conflicts of interest eg regarding disclosure or advice are minimised by discussion and agreement in advance with our HR contact and the member of staff concerned. For example this may include advising an employee on career options outside the organization as well as return to work strategies. We endeavour to maintain (or restore) employees' commitment to the organisation as long as possible, and encourage managers to keep options open until assessment is complete.

These principles of professional discretion and integrity are always important e.g. when using psychometric testing for management selection. Their are absolutely essential when dealing with highly sensitive personal, medical, legal or business planning issues. Eos specialised in international recruitment services from 1986 to the 1990's, recruiting for major employers in Singapore and advising AGCAS (the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) on their first Handbook for International Careers advice.

In the last 7 years we have designed executive selection programmes and run psychometric testing for senior posts including Chief Executive, Regional Directors and senior Legal appointments for national not-for-profit organisations. We have assisted in external selection for clerical and professional staff, and a range of internal selection exercises from junior staff to Chief Executive level. We take a wider and longer term perspective on management selection on behalf of the organisation than some recruitment agencies and are independent of commission incentives.

Quite often our Employer Sponsored programmes for staff arise from crisis situations, performance or potential disciplinary situations. Our processes identify wider career potential, alternate work roles and a new basis for understanding personal, team and management relationships.

Our life~career planning and transition management programmes include significant personal development opportunities, important at several career stages. These may influence the optimum timing as well as direction of future staff moves. The recovery phase of mass transitions e.g. after mergers or takeovers, is one of the greatest opportunities for transforming values and performance in organisations, see Transitions: managing personal and organizational change and Life events and career change: transition psychology in practice . This may be crucial for business planning and organisation development (OD) strategies.

Working with Occupational Health professionals
We use a counselling approach (Egan model) with individual clients but do not offer therapy. We concentrate on helping individuals and their Medical advisers (Occupational Health doctors, nurses or GPs) to identify "normal" factors in work and non-work related distress. These include conflicts between personality and works roles, personal relationships, delayed response to life or career events and other life~work boundary issues.

We offer practical coping strategies based on a range of life-skills techniques for managing stress, change, relationships and conflicting demands between work and personal life. These account for many of the career crisis or distress situations we have worked with.

Where a client has deeper problems that may need in-depth counselling or therapy we advise clients to seek medical referral through their Occupational Health Department or GP. Some clients come to us on the advice of a counsellor, therapist or clinical psychologist in the later phase of a therapy programme to help them develop confidence and future work or career change options.

We encourage clients to share our occupational assessment data and suggestions with their counsellor, therapist or medical adviser who would rarely have access to such data. With the client's consent we can prepare reports for other helping professionals and/or for management. Reports and references are always discussed in advance with the individual.

Some situations may indicate serious malpractice in the workplace (e.g. harrassment or abuse). Where possible we will offer clients practical coping strategies and encourage them to use formal company procedures to remedy the situation. Subject to their permission we may discuss such issues with Medical and/or Human Resources managers. We have had the opportunity to be involved in pioneering policy developments e.g. autonomous teams in the 70's and Shell Canada's sexual harassment and occupational health monitoring programmes in the early 1980's.

At a strategic level we subscribe to the principle of developing "healthy organisations" with pro-active programmes to promote staff well-being and performance. Dai Williams is currently Chair of the UK and International Forums for Organisational Health. This is a multi-disciplinary networks of Occupational Health doctors, nurses, Occupational Psychologists, Therapists and Counsellors that has promoted "healthy organisations" for a number of years.

Organizational health is a growing theme for research and practice in some UK universities e.g. Professor Tom Cox's work at Nottingham University. Birkbeck and Sheffield have long been pillars of good practice and research in Organisational behaviour.Life-work boundary issues are strategic aspects of this agenda. Government and other groups also raised public and employer awareness through the National Work-Life Forum. (see links).

Professional networking: policy, practice and research
Action research is an ongoing aspect of all Eos work - monitoring new trends in careers, and changing hazards and opportunities in employment. We welcome opportunities to discuss these with employers who are reviewing organisation change strategies or human resourcing policies, and with other practioners and researchers.

These subjects cross a number of disciplines and professions with contributions from practitioners, professional bodies, and researchers in universities, institutes and business schools. The challenge is to translate this growing body of knowledge into a toolkit of simple, practical principles that managers can use in fast changing organisations with very limited resources.

Promoting pro-active awareness of the issues that cause employee distress and reduced performance is far more cost effective and humane than the social and legal costs of poor employment practices (see Safe and Dangerous Organisations and Fun without Fear ). It can save employers huge costs in sickness absence, delayed work schedules and costly medical or legal consequences. Approaches need to be practical and flexible to cope with increasing social and cultural diversity in many countries and organisations.

If you are an HR or Occupational Health professional interested in networking with other practitioners and interdisciplinary research projects please see links the Professional Networking page or contact Dai.

Dai Williams,
Chartered Occupational Psychologist
Eos Career Services, Woking, Surrey, UK.

Contacting Eos
Human Resource and Occupational Health practitioners can contact us to discuss a specific requirement, can request a personal briefing to assess Eos as a potential future resource, or attend a group lunchtime briefing.
We would also like to hear from practitioners or researchers from related fields wishing to exchange briefing papers, receive details of future workshops or suggest Internet links.

Email eosuk@btinternet.com
Phone Dai Williams on 44-(0)1483-222017
Address: Eos Career Services, 32 Send Road, Send, Woking, Surrey, GU23 7ET, UK.

page updated 30 August 2006 © Eos Career Services 2006

Return to top of page

Eos Intro I for you I for your organisation
lifework themes I professional networking I community projects I lifework forum