Employee Assistance Programs Can Deliver Big Benefits to Employers and Staff
Despite our best efforts, life does not follow a scripted playbook. Rather, it can be full of surprises, challenges, and change, whether it’s finding a daycare, starting a fitness program, managing finances, or caring for family members in need. When these issues start to impact your employees’ performance, what can you do to help them navigate these challenges?
Finding help during challenging times
When employees face rising stress levels, it can have a negative impact on both their performance and productivity. Having adequate support can help them manage stress and solve problems that may otherwise reduce their impact on the company's bottom line. This is where an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your employees resolve a variety of different issues.
EAPs can help employees tackle "life's nuisance items": Making travel plans, finding daycare services, or even tracking down an in-plan physician for a child going to school out-of-state.
What is included as part of an EAP?
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 may vary, from on-call counselors to referrals to local resources which can help them solve their challenges.
Members can also access a virtual library of free resources and online self-help tools. Telephone access to care counselors is available 24/7, and all communications are personal and confidential.
Support from qualified professionals are readily available for personal issues that may be affecting an employee or loved one's life. Chemical dependency, depression, physical or emotional abuse, grief, gambling, alcoholism, relationship issues, and crisis intervention are a few examples.
Sometimes a staff member may be looking to improve their lives and need suggestions on developing a fitness, financial, or career plan, but they’re having difficulty figuring out where to start. Professionals available as part of an EAP can speak to an individual and point that person to the resources and tools they need to move forward.
EAPs can also help employees tackle what Arlene Hamilton, Senior HR generalist at Paychex, describes as "life's nuisance items": Making travel plans, finding daycare services, or even tracking down an in-plan physician for a child going to school out-of-state.
Just a few of the benefits of offering an EAP include:
Stress management: Workplace stress has escalated as a major challenge for Americans. A recent Paychex survey of full-time employees found that more than 80 percent of respondents admitted at least one stressful point in their work life, and more than half admitted to feeling stressed about work three or more days a week. EAPs are a proactive way an employer can help staff members address and resolve issues that contribute to workplace stress and personal problems.
Professional development: Hamilton explains that an EAP can offer personal development training for both employees and employers. She recalls one client who wanted to offer online training for his managers:
"I directed him to the EAP that is available to his organization and assisted him in navigating the site to find the list of available trainings, along with an option to print certificates," says Hamilton. "There are a variety of HR courses for existing managers and soon-to-be managers."
Better health, better savings: EAPs are one tool that can help employers manage growing healthcare costs. There are clear connections between wellness, employee engagement, workforce effectiveness, and organizational health. Improving workforce health and lifestyle behaviors can lower medical and disability claims and reduce unplanned sickness, absence, and lost productivity.
Help your business and your employees
At any given time, employees can deal with a range of challenges, both in and out of the workplace. Having access to an EAP can help your staff get the support they need so they are less likely to suffer from stress-related performance issues.