We look at Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), the benefits to your business and what you can expect from this type of service.
Employee wellbeing is a huge topic and increasingly important for the business community. Many organisations are realising that putting your team first leads to significant payback in terms of staff recruitment and retention, productivity and business performance. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) can be a strong element in the portfolio of benefits you offer to staff.
What is an Employee Assistance Programme?
An EAP, is defined by the Society for Human Resource Management, as “a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance.”
Why do you need an Employee Assistance Programme?
Benefits for your company include:
Supporting current employees
There can be times in any employee’s life when they might have personal difficulties, financial issues or mental health problems to deal with. These can impact on them being able to work to the best of their abilities. Without some support, an employee’s work performance and morale could suffer. An EAP, allows employees to share their problems with external and confidential support and which is away from the workplace. EAP’s offer guidance and resources to tackle a variety of non-workplace issues. The ability to deal with issues before they become serious can significantly reduce the stress levels of your employee. Companies who put employee wellbeing at the heart of its workplace culture, find their team members are not only happier to be there, they are more productive too.
Attracting and retaining top talent
In a highly competitive job market candidates will often look at company benefits and culture when deciding to accept a position. An EAP as part of your employee benefits package can be a valuable tool which helps you attract and retain the best talent. It confirms your business as a great place to work with good staff morale. It indicates your business genuinely cares about staff welfare and is prepared to invest resources by adopting a successful programme to back up this up.
Reducing business costs
According to a recent report by Deloitte, poor mental health costs UK businesses up to £45 billion per year. An EAP can be instrumental in reducing staff absence due to a personal problems, enabling the issues to be shared, addressed and overcome, for everyone’s benefit. A Gallup study found employees in highly engaged business units were 17% more productive. These same business units also saw a 41% reduction in overall employee absence. There is also a positive link between adopting an EAP and a reduction in the number of workplace accidents occurring within a business.
What do they include?
An EAP’s remit can be as narrow or as broad as you want to make it. They offer resources ranging from fitness programmes to counselling services, medical or financial advice and more.
EAPs help employers to provide staff access to:
- Short-term counselling,
- Referral services,
- Health and wellbeing programmes,
- Incentives and other corporate benefits,
- Workshops and Webinars
Common problems EAP’s can help with include:
- Stress management
- Domestic violence
- Grief counselling
- Addiction and Substance Abuse
- Crisis management
- Psychological (mental health) disorders
- Substance abuse
- Health and caregiving
- Family services
- Counselling referrals
Information from the employee given to your EAP is confidential. Services may offer you, as the employer, management statistics, such as: how often has the service been used
How does an EAP work and what does it offer?
In the UK there are a large number of EAP providers. Many are members of EAP Association (EAPA). A not-for-profit organisation which represents the interests of individuals and organisation concerned with employee assistance.
Click the UK Employee Assistance Programme Association link to find an EAP provider. This membership listing gives contact information for a range of providers in the UK.
Once you have picked your service provider you should offer access to the service as a free benefit for your employees for them to use if they wish. You cannot make using your EAP mandatory and you will be required to pay for the program.
Your Employees will be able to access your selected EAP via individual provider’s:
- Confidential Helpline
- Telephone/Face to face counselling
Costs vary depending on factors such as:
- Number of Employees
- Who else can use the service (e.g., family members)
- Locations covered
- Range of services
- Length of contract
Implementation and Promotion
It might be as simple as raising the profile of your EAP as many service providers will supply you with promotional material. Materials could include: a welcome email template, posters and leaflets, for you use informing staff about the service and how to use it. You can also use team meetings/briefings, newsletters, internets and other internal communication methods to spread awareness of the service.
In addition, a good EAP should be totally confidential. It is important to reassure yourself and employees that data and personal information shared with the service is kept safe & secure.
Investing in your employees’ mental, physical and emotional wellness and supporting their practical needs will build a positive company culture. This will enable you to reap the benefits of better employee engagement. A workforce which feels supported and valued by their employer is more likely to the extra mile on your behalf.
For more information on Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) please Contact Solution22 – HR Consultancy Services.