An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your employees resolve a variety of different issues which might be adversely affecting their performance at work. From financial challenges to resources which assist in handling everyday stress, an EAP provides a one-stop confidential source employees can use to find support and resources. Using an EAP may help employers improve productivity, increase morale, and even reduce absenteeism and turnover. Here's a closer look at why you should consider an EAP as part of your benefits lineup this year.
How Does an EAP Work?
An EAP typically covers your employees and eligible household members, including spouse, domestic partner, children, and dependents. With an EAP, your employees and their families have access to a confidential resource they can call when crises or questions arise. The range of services varies, from on-call counselors to referrals to local resources which can help them solve their challenges. When team members face rising stress levels, it can have a negative impact on both their performance and productivity. Personal issues can bleed over into the office; having adequate support can help employees manage stress and solve problems which may reduce the impact on the company's bottom line.
Assistance with Referrals
An Employee Assistance Program doesn't just provide direct counseling and assistance. Often, employees may be facing issues that require outside expertise, such as financial counseling or legal advice. An EAP representative will listen to what the employee's needs are, and then help them to identify resources – such as an appropriate legal law firm – that can help them with the problem. If the employee or their dependent is dealing with substance abuse issues or handling issues related to elder care, the EAP can also assist with referrals to public and private services dedicated to those challenges. EAPs often maintain a network of partners that can help them meet a wide range of needs, such as legal firms, child care professionals, elder care specialists, and more.
Direct Assistance to Employers
In certain cases, EAP programs can directly help a company resolve ongoing issues. Each program's offerings are different, but certain programs will provide expert consultations to managers or executives on how to handle difficult situations within the workplace. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), EAPs are occasionally used as a resource during employer/employee interactions. For example, if a worker is experiencing performance issues or discloses personal problems to an employer, a referral to an EAP resource may be appropriate. However, it's important to evaluate this from a policy standpoint and obtain expert HR or legal advice to ensure the strategy you're considering complies with relevant state and federal regulations.
Today's employees deal with a wide range of challenging situations, from stress on the job to a variety of personal challenges. Having access to an EAP through their workplace can enable your staff to get the support they need to get through life's challenges and transitions; as an employer, you capture the benefits of employees who are less likely to suffer from stress-related performance issues.