Workplace stress alongside the pressures of personal issues can have a debilitating effect on employee performance. In fact, 17 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22. An employee assistance programme (EAP) is designed to alleviate the impact of such problems at work through services that employees can take advantage of as part of the benefits of their employment. An EAP can directly support employees with advice and material assistance. It can also support employees with free or discounted resources they can use to solve their problems, or connect them with professional help and proper organisations that are better suited to address their needs. Trained representatives make up the staff of an EAP to ensure each employee is evaluated properly and given the specific type of support they need. With an EAP in place, employees can manage or resolve issues that may be prohibitively expensive if they were to pursue options outside of their organisation and pay for on their own.
How an EAP Helps the Workplace
An employee assistance programme can cover a wide variety of work and personal problems, including but not limited to:
Health and caregiving — Employees can be advised on physical wellness plans and chronic disease maintenance. Employees who are caregivers can be directed to nursing homes for elderly family members and supported living services for disabled people.
Mental health — Employees who are dealing with depression, anxiety, and behavioural health issues such as gambling addictions and eating disorders can get help through an EAP. Stress and crisis management can also be covered under a mental health EAP.
Family services — An EAP can provide family planning and childcare support with expert advice and connections to professional services. Employees can also work with an EAP to plan parental leaves and budget for new members to their families. An EAP can also help with domestic violence through legal advice and intervention.
Substance abuse support — Alcohol and drug abuse can be addressed with the help of a qualified professional that is part of an EAP. Affected employees can then be referred to external services that can provide life-saving, long-term support.
Financial services support — For employees that are going through financial difficulties, an EAP can provide budgeting advice, foster healthier spending habits, and help with creating emergency funds. Employees can also be connected to services that help with loan consolidation and debt repayment.
Counselling — Employees may need counselling for any work-related or personal issue. It could be for career advice, team management, or professional advancement. It could also be for problems at home, such as coping with grief due to the loss of a loved one, struggling with marital issues.
Benefits of an EAP
The support your employees get through an EAP doesn’t just benefit them on an individual level. It also contributes to the betterment of your company as a whole.
Stress is an ever-present problem in the workplace, with 76% of employees in the UK reporting moderate to high levels of stress according to the latest Workplace Health Report from Champion Health. An EAP can help soften the adverse effects of stress, as workers get the support they need to face all the challenges of work and everyday living through the services an EAP provides.
Some of the physical and psychological burdens employees carry can take such a toll on their bodies that they end up getting sick or taking more vacation days just to recover. Employees can more easily find resources that can help them manage their physical and mental health better and avoid hitting their limits that would push them towards absenteeism.
Decreases workplace accidents
When employees are distracted by their own personal concerns or are constantly battling health problems, they are more likely to make mistakes at work. While workplace accidents do happen in office jobs, this is an even bigger issue for work where manual labour is involved. Having an EAP can help keep your employees at peak performance both physically and mentally, minimising the risk of accidents happening.
Improves employee retention
You can build loyalty with your employees with an EAP, as they are more likely to feel that they get the support they need from your company to tackle both work and personal issues.
Ensures objectivity and confidentiality for employees
An EAP provides a secure outlet for employees to bring up problems they may not be comfortable sharing directly with management. Employees who are emotionally distressed and need an objective ear to ground themselves back to reality can turn to EAP specialists.
Taking care of your employees with the help of an EAP keeps them safe and healthy. In turn, you are less likely to have to deal with workplace compensation claims, labour disputes, loss of productivity, and the heavy costs of replacing employees.
Benefits of an External EAP
The distance between an external EAP provider and an employer has a couple of advantages. Employees are more likely to feel comfortable confiding in an external EAP than an EAP that works directly for their employer. There is also the perception that third-party EAP providers will be more unbiased than internal EAP specialists. Employees have more choice too, as they can pick the therapists that work for them, and they can find external providers that extend their services to family members.
Get Started on Your EAP Today
The upside to having an EAP is undeniable. Employees maintain their wellbeing and feel more supported while employers reap the benefits of a stable and more productive workforce, together building a stronger, longer-lasting professional relationship. Set up your company’s EAP with the help of the HR Dept. We offer 24/7 expert support, advice, and counselling at a competitive price. Get in touch with us today to get started.