Understanding Today’s Workforce Through ACEs

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According to the CDC’s Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, nearly two-thirds of adults (64%) have experienced significant childhood trauma that has shaped their life. That means, two-thirds of your workforce could also have experienced this type of severe childhood stress that has been found to have a long-term, negative impact on your employees. How do these experiences affect your company? How can you build a supportive workplace that gives individuals with ACEs the environment they need to be productive?

It’s been found that ACEs negatively affect individual’s health and well-being, long after the traumatic event. They have been linked to adult onset of chronic disease, addiction, mental illness, self-harm and even early death. The more ACEs experienced, the more likely job-related problems such as absenteeism and poor work performance will occur. This results in higher cost to employers due to increased needs in mental and physical health care, emergency response, and criminal justice.
How do ACEs affect our workforce?

ACEs are identified by 10 traumatic experiences occurring before the age of 18:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Emotional abuse
  3. Sexual abuse
  4. Alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household
  5. An incarcerated household member
  6. Someone in the household who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalized or suicidal
  7. Mother is treated violently
  8. Parents are separated or divorced
  9. Emotional neglect
  10. Physical neglect

When ACEs are prevalent, high school graduation rates drop, leaving our workforce unskilled. ACEs also lead to poor health habits and decreased emotional wellness. Many times, these factors lead to unemployment, creating unstable families and an unstable economy.

Some signs that ACEs are affecting your employees could include: difficulty finishing work, incomplete tasks or assignments, less independent work habits, and frequent absence due to illness or family matters. Employees struggling may have difficulty working others and lack ambition and focus.
How can my workplace support someone who’s experienced ACEs?

Support your employees by becoming a trauma-informed employer. Recognize the prevalence of employees who have experienced childhood trauma and its profound neurological, psychological and social effects. Encourage overall wellness within your organization by proactively promoting and partnering with your Employee Assistance Program. For more information about EFR’s EAP and tips on how to better inform your workforce on all it has to offer, contact your account manager today!

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