It is that time of year, the holidays. Stress levels rise through the roof as we try to manage the busyness of the season with everyday stressors; it can feel like a pressure cooker! Offering your employees, the benefit of an EAP helps them to feel supported on a continual basis, whether those stressors are seasonal, every day or major life changes. Many EAPs often go unused because employees don’t know about them, understand what they provide, or employees may feel there’s a stigma around using these services. Or, some employers just don’t offer an EAP in their benefits package. Let’s look into how they can positively affect your whole organization.
Employee stress should worry employers—more than 70% of employees spend valuable work time worrying.
What is an EAP?
It is an employer-sponsored employee assistance plan. This work-based intervention program is designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting their performance at work, such as marital, financial or emotional problems; family issues; or substance or alcohol abuse. EAPs may also offer a wide array of services covering basic legal assistance and referrals, adoption assistance, help finding elder care services, wellness programs, and more. Employers usually pay for EAPs, and their services are often available not only to employees but also to employees’ immediate family members or to anyone living in employees’ homes.
Employers have a vested interest in the ability of employees to work at their full potential. These distractions may hurt productivity and drive up costs for businesses. The health care system cannot always handle these types of issues, especially those, such as needs for financial counseling or elder care help, that are not health related.
EAPs are cost-effective tools to mitigate risks. They can help employers reduce absenteeism, workers’ compensation claims, health care costs, accidents and grievances. In addition, they can address safety and security issues, improve employee productivity and engagement, and reduce costs related to employee turnover.
Digital & Holistic EAPs
EAPs, like other benefits, are now app-accessible, allowing participants to interact with counselors online. However, many people still like to pick up a phone and talk to a clinician so both options are available.
Plans are taking a holistic approach, helping employees navigate their employer’s medical, wellness, financial-services and leave offerings. EAPs may craft a support plan; solutions that are not cookie-cutter, for employees with mental and behavioral issues, such as substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Getting the Word Out
Even though an EAP sounds invaluable, the rate of EAP use remains absurdly low, at about 6.5%. If employees are not using the available EAP services, then it does not matter how effective they are to your business. This emphasizes a need for employers to better market and promote their available EAP programs to increase usage rates.
Again, most employees are afraid to put themselves in a category of needing assistance. They feel they are admitting weakness, which puts their job, therefore their livelihood in jeopardy. It’s in the best interest of your whole organization to offer the value of an EAP. If you already offer one, then work hard to communicate the numerous benefits it offers to your workforce. Because ultimately, what employee doesn’t perform better when they feel supported by their employer? And then, the EAP will come along side and reinforce that support with valuable expert services resulting in a happier, healthier workforce in your business!
HR On-Call is available to suggest reputable EAP programs, help develop policies and guidelines surrounding them, communicate and train employees or any other questions you may have regarding EAP services.
A little more about us: Susan Arnold, owner and lead HR Consultant at HR On-Call, LLC. Susan has 20+ years of HR experience and provides a HR presence to business organizations without the overhead expense of a full-time employee. Susan helps business owners improve employer/employee relationships and allows them to focus on their business while resting assured that they are in full compliance with state and federal law. Areas of expertise:
- Reduce Employer Risk and Liability
- Customized Employee Handbooks
- Performance Reviews
- Improve Employee/Employer Relationships
- Background Checks
- Personality Assessments
- Guaranteed EEO Compliance
- Employee Retention
- Recruitment / Hiring
- Employee Discipline/Discharge
Susan is passionate about her customers and listens to their needs. If you are interested in any of the details above or would like more information about her services, please contact Susan! If you have questions on how your specific policy should read or need help navigating a certain instance, contact HR On-Call, LLC.