An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) refers to a scheme designed to give employees ways to deal with personal issues  that may have a negative affect on their job performance, such as stress, anxiety and depression.
EAPs can be an effective way to help staff reach out for help, manage stress and maintain high levels of productivity and performance. However, some businesses benefit more from having an Employee Assistance Program in place than others. If you are deliberating whether to introduce an EAP at your company, the following guide may help you determine whether you need one.
How an EAP Works
Through an EAP, your employees have access to trained and licensed counselors, should they need to talk to them. By making a phone call to a trained EAP counselor, your employees can get immediate assistance, typically for topics issues like:
- Drug addiction
- Workplace conflicts
- Marital/relationship issues
- Mental health issues, such as depression, anger management, anxiety,
- Legal and family advice
- Grief counseling
- Financial counseling
- Caregiving issues
The Benefits of an Employee Assistance Program
Any sessions carried out with counsellors are done so in complete confidentiality, giving your employees peace of mind that you will not be notified if they use this service.
In an emergency, staff have access to an EAP crisis counselor 24 hours a day via a Crisis Telephone Line for immediate assistance to tackle personal problems and mental health issues.
If left untreated, personal problems can escalate leaving your employees under performing at work, potentially having an attitude in the workplace, which can translate into poor customer services or relationships with other team members. Such personal issues can also run the risk of leading to injuries occurring in the workplace, which could end up costing your business dearly in workers compensation.
By talking with a trained, qualified counselor, an employee suffering with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or any personal problem, will have an outlet to open up about such issues and learn coping strategies and mechanisms, so their personal issues are less likely to impact their job performance.
From your perspective as the employer, having an EAP set up to help your members of staff overcome issues that may be negatively affecting how they perform at work, can have a positive impact on your business.
By having a resource to discuss their problems and finding coping strategies in a completely confidential way, EAPs can help create a more satisfied, happy, loyal and productive working environment. Consequently, an EAP can help reduce absenteeism rates in your company and the negative implications to productivity and profits absenteeism creates.
How EAPs Can Reduce the Cost of Your Health Insurance
EAPs can also help reduce the number of grievances arising at your company, as well as terminations. By using the program to help combat mental health issues and stress-related illnesses, Employee Assistance Programs can also help reduce the cost of your business’s health insurance, because employees are making less visits to the doctors.
How EAPs Help Create a ‘Culture of Health’
EAPs help businesses achieve and sustain a desirable ‘culture of health’, which looks after the whole of an employee’s health. By looking after the physical, mental and social wellbeing of your employees, EAPs, by creating a culture of health, means your employees are not just more productive with less absenteeism, but they can be more loyal to your business and less likely to go elsewhere for work because they feel like they are being looked after.
With a more loyal set of workers, your business can benefit from higher staff retention rates and won’t be plagued by the task of having to recruit and train new members of staff through high employee turnover rates.
How Much Does an EAP Cost?
Having an EAP set up at your company costs around $35 per employee per year, though this can vary depending on your location and whether you choose to pay the fixed rate per employee scheme or the pay-per-use program, so an EAP can cost anything from $10 – $100 per employee per year.
Naturally, the size of your budget to pump into programs like this will significantly determine whether having an EAP in your business is feasible. However, if your budget can stretch, the productivity, turnover and potential money saved through looking after the health and welfare of your employees, your number one asset, could be a sensible business move.
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