CHESTER TARANOWSKI joined the faculty in 2014 and primarily teaches courses on social work in business in the Virtual Academic Center. He is also a fieldwork liaison for students across all social work specialties.
Previously, he served as the employee assistance manager at Aon Corporation for 23 years. He was past president of the Northern Illinois Employee Assistance Professionals Association and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health. Taranowski is also on the board of the Employee Assistance Certification Commission, which oversees the Certified Employee Assistance Professional credential for advanced employee assistance practice.
He frequently lectures on workplace applications of positive psychology.
University of Illinois at Chicago: PhD
Loyola University Chicago: MSW
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: BS
Areas of Expertise (6)
Social Work in Business
Industry Expertise (3)
Employee Assistance Professional of the Year (professional)
International Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Northern Illinois Employee Assistance Professional of the Year (professional)
Northern Illinois Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Articles & Publications (3)
Taranowski, Chester, J. & Mahieu, and Kathleen M.
This data was derived from a Request-For-Information (RFI) submitted to a sample of 26 large and medium-size external Employee Assistance Program (EAP) vendors across the United States. EAPs reported an increase in covered employees over the 2009 to 2010 period. EAP organizations associated with health plans and organizations that offer EAP and carve-out mental health programs saw the greatest growth. Purchasers were choosing a short-term counseling model of four to six visits. EAPs are relying on brief intake assessments for initial phone triage. Few programs were accredited and only a small number of intake or affiliate counselors held the Certified Employee Assistance Professional credential. Vendors reported that average EAP utilization was less than 6% with great variation between contracts.
Taranowski, Chester J.
What actually motivates an employee to operate at peak levels of performance? Traditionally, this question has focused on salary and benefits. However, an employee’s intrinsic interest in one’s work and the personal meaning that he or she derives from the job are also motivating factors that lead an individual to perform at a high level. Researchers call this enhanced motivation, “engagement.” In other words, an employ-- ee’s personal experience of engagement is a work--related, positive state of mind that reflects his/her passion and commitment to the job. Engaged employees work proactively, they expand their thinking as the job requires, and they actively find ways to increase their skills. They perceive that their own self interest is aligned with organi-- zational goals. Consequently, they demonstrate resilience, adapt well to change, and are less likely to leave the job than an unengaged employee. However, engaged employ-- ees are not workaholics! They enjoy activities outside of their jobs, and unlike workaholics, they do not suffer from a compulsive attitude toward work. Instead, they find their tasks interesting and energizing. Moreover, levels of engagement exist not only within employees, but also across organizations. Put another way, engagement can be influenced both by characteristics of an individual employee and by conditions within the workplace. It is the behaviors of managers that best reveal these organizational influences.
Taranowski, Chester J.
As the U.S. society becomes more accepting of lifestyle diversity, an increasing number of individuals, experiencing gender dysphoria, are likely to seek relief from their challenge through transformations. Although medical interventions for these transitions are improving, the expenses for the procedures are not covered by most medical plans and remain costly for the individual. The end result is that those considering gender transformation are more likely to undergo this process while they are employed. When a workplace is exposed to an individual in transition, many predictable problems are likely to surface. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) professionals will increasingly be called upon to assist transmen and transwomen to maneuver through the workplace adjustment process, and to help coworkers in their adaptation to these changes.