Employee Assistance Programmes – an invaluable wellbeing tool

Employee Assistance Programmes – an invaluable wellbeing tool

What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)?

Employers are increasingly committed to ensuring employees are happy and healthy, rather than simply productive. An EAP is a low-cost, accessible and valuable tool within the wider employee benefit ‘tool kit’ to achieve this.

EAPs are workplace programmes provided by employers, designed to support and improve the wellbeing of employees by helping them to resolve personal issues.  Confidential support and advice are offered across mental and physical wellbeing, financial advice and emotional concerns.

Access to support is available for employees 24/7, 365 days a year – normally via a freephone number, online resources or live chat.

The benefits of EAPs… not just an individual gain.

The benefits of EAPs can be widely felt, not just limited to the individual employee using the service. Positive results include:

  • Reduced absenteeism and associated costs.
  • Increased employee productivity and creativity.
  • A healthier, happier workforce.
  • Reduced pressure placed on colleagues as a result covering work during absenteeism.
  • Improved employee retention.
  • A better work environment.

According to EAP provider, LifeWorks, 92% of employees saw improvement with their issue after using their support and employers saw a 47% reduction in absenteeism after employee counselling, with 90% of healthcare prevention calls not needing to be referred to medical insurance.

EAPs meet the modern world.

Unsurprisingly EAPs are constantly moving with the times and providers are embracing technological developments.  On top of the conventional means of accessing EAP support, some EAP providers now offer apps which can be personalised by the employee to ensure they only receive relevant information, specific to their needs and interests.  Apps and websites can also provide access to an EAP counsellor via secure virtual counselling sessions – video, tele-counselling or online support groups – making them even more accessible.

What to remember: communicate, communicate, communicate.

Once you have an EAP in place, it is essential that you tell employees about it … but take note, this can’t be a one-off event.  With the best will in the world, an employee in need of support may not be in the state of mind to remember a company-wide email they received 3 months ago advising them about the new EAP you have put in place.  The key to the success of your EAP lies in regularly re-communicating.  What’s more, the more vehicles you can use to communicate it the better – staff noticeboards, company intranet, staff newsletters and even the back of the office toilet doors are all good ways of ensuring employees continue to be reminded of the support available to them when they most need it.

How do I put in place an EAP and how much does it cost?

There are generally two ways for an employer to put in place an EAP; purchasing the service directly from a provider or starting another benefit such as a Death in Service scheme or Private Medical Insurance. These schemes often provide EAPs as a free added value service.

Guide prices on a standalone basis are around £1-£2 per employee per month. Free EAPs clearly depend on the cost of the funded benefit which can vary significantly.

If you would like to find out more about EAPs, why not get in touch.

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