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Employee Assistance Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Local knowledge and relationships are critical in our work and are part of our core values.  Who will we be talking with and where is that person located geographically?

A: Life Matters is headquartered in Waukesha.  When someone calls their 1-800 phone number they will be connected to someone located there.  Life Matters does offer up to 5 in-person sessions per employee per issue, in which they refer employees to clinicians that work in the employee’s local area. For employees that prefer to call and discuss issues over the phone, they can request to speak to the same individual that they had spoken to previously.

In addition, Deans, Directors and Supervisors may choose to impart institutional knowledge to Life Matters regarding their unit or area.  Life Matters welcomes this information and can provide a mechanism for ensuring that general contextual information is known by the over the phone consultants. If you are interested, contact your Human Resources Director or the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Q: Will on-site workshops be offered?

A: Yes.  Life Matters offers both on-site and web-based workshops. Monthly webinars are offered and open for employees to attend.  Previously recorded webinars are also available on the Life Matters website. 

On-site workshops are available as well and can be presented on a variety of topics.  See the Training Summary for more details on topics available for on-site workshops.  Use of on-site workshops is based on our multi-purpose hours.  UW Colleges and UW-Extension is allotted approximately 45 hours cumulatively (approx. 23 hours for each).  Hours are calculated based on the amount of time that the presenter is actually on-site and not travel time.

On site orientations are also offered which provide an introductory information overview on the services that Life Matters offers.  UW Colleges and UW-Extension are provided 10 orientation sessions per year.  Online orientations are also available.  Access to these is unlimited.

Life Matters has given us permission to webcast and record orientation and on site workshops.  If you are interested in scheduling an in person orientation or workshop, please contact your Human Resources Director or the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Q: We expect the availability of on-site grief counseling across the state. Will that be available?

A: Yes.  Life Matters offers Trauma Response services which can include on-site assistance.  Campuses and Divisions can make use of this through their multi-purpose hour allotment.   We are allotted approximately 45 hours for both UW Colleges and UW-Extension (approx. 23 hours each).   If you need to schedule on-site Trauma Response service, contact your Human Resources Director or the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Individual counseling is also available. If an employee calls Life Matters they can be referred for 5 in-person counseling sessions (per issue) with a clinician in their area. If further counseling is needed, the clinician will provide additional referrals, including those through the employee’s insurance.

Q: What are the credentials of the people we will talk with?

A: Life Matters phone staff are Masters -prepared clinicians. Typically this means they have a Masters in Social Work or Psychology and have earned or are in the process of earning a Certified Employee Assistance Professional credential. 

In person counselors are independently licensed, have a Masters in Mental Health, and have at least 5 years of clinical and Employee Assistance experience.

Q: Will Life Matters be available to attend various meetings across the state?

A: Yes. Campuses and Divisions can arrange this either through their multi-purpose hour or orientation session allotment, depending on the topic. Our contract with Life Matters includes approximately 45 multi-purpose hours and 10 on site orientation sessions per year (this is for both UW Colleges and UW-Extension).

Q: When I call Life Matters for services will my information be shared with anyone and if I call back again how will they know about my previous call?

A: When someone calls in to the 1-800 service, a record is created documenting the phone call and what was discussed.  If an employee chooses to, they can remain anonymous during their call. In order to access the availability of benefits, it is helpful for the phone staff to at least know what organization the person is affiliated with. Otherwise, the phone staff will offer the minimum services available to the person.

If someone calls and identifies themselves, they will also designate a password during their call. The information that is documented in their record is then password protected.  If they call again, they can provide their password and allow the phone staff the ability to access their record. This can be especially helpful in the accessibility of calling the service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employees may also request that they speak to the same staff member that they had spoken to before.

Q: How is this new system more supportive for the employee?

A: Life Matters offers a wide breadth of services. In addition to phone consultations for employees and supervisors as well as onsite and webinar based presentations, Life Matters also offers services in financial and legal consultation, and telephone referrals for services such as home repairs, apartment locators, and travel planning. They also offer a tobacco cessation program, online health assessments and an extremely robust website (password: SOWI) with a variety of content related to employee wellness.

Some employees may be used to and feel comfortable discussing situations with the same person rather than having to speak to someone different every time they call Life Matters.  When you call, you can always ask for the same individual that you spoke to the last time. Because the service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you may need to leave the person a message (depending on when you call) but you always have the option of speaking to the same individual.

For managers and supervisors, there is a team of 4 individuals within Life Matters that handles issues related to supervisory consultation. However, you can choose to ask for the same individual each time you call if you prefer.

There are going to be some differences from the way that our Employee Assistance program has been facilitated in the past.  It may take some time to get used to and feel comfortable with Life Matters and the services that they offer.  Comparing the two services is not an apple to apple comparison.

See an overview of the services offered through Life Matters.

Q: How will the effectiveness of Life Matters be evaluated?  At what stage will that evaluation occur?

A: Life Matters offers a couple of tools to assist us with evaluation.  Life Matters offers voluntary satisfaction surveys to employees which are collected from phone calls and in-person consultations.  These anonymous surveys are reported to agencies on a yearly basis to show satisfaction levels amongst employees.

Life Matters also offers a workplace outcome suite.  This is a validated tool that measures the outcome of the employee assistance program intervention.  When an employee calls, they are asked a series of questions related to life satisfaction, absenteeism, presenteeism, work engagement and workplace distress.  Approximately 6 weeks later those questions are followed up on with the employee to find out if anything has changed and whether the employee assistance program made a difference.  This information is then anonymously aggregated in an annual report to show overall use and value.

This past year, state agencies using Life Matters participated in these surveys, and the statistics demonstrated that the employee assistance program was helpful for employees.

Review the statistical information for Wisconsin state agencies over the past year.

Q: I am concerned about privacy.  How do I know that Life Matters isn’t going to tell my employer the information I share with them?

A: Employee Assistance Programs are governed by federal and state statutes that mandate reporting of certain situations such as those that pose a risk of grave physical or emotional harm to the self or another person.  Employee Assistance Programs are not allowed to disclose information shared with them to an employer unless a release to do so is signed by the employee.

See more details on confidentiality practices of Life Matters.

Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions about Life Matters?

Contact your Human Resources office or the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We are happy to help!

Download FAQs.

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