How to Promote EAP Use in the Workplace

May 25, 2021
Team CloudAdvisors
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There has been much discourse surrounding Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), with questions about their effectiveness coming up from time to time. Are EAPs merely a way for employers to convey their support for their employees or do they really have tangible benefits for the workplace?

The answer, to put it simply, lies in your perspective and how you take action

Once employers start viewing EAPs as more than just another benefit to tack on and begin actively encouraging EAP usage, the long-term rewards EAPs hold become that much clearer.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

Employee Assistance Programs are offered as a benefit that provides confidential assistance to employees for challenges they might face in their personal or professional life. EAPs may assist with areas such as substance abuse, relationship management, job stress, parenting, childcare, and more. Additionally, EAPs have a wide range of services offered that include training, counselling, consultations, and referrals which are all used to help with overall employee wellbeing.

Generally, mental and physical wellbeing are associated with EAPs, and wellbeing is good for business. Increased wellbeing results in a multitude of benefits in the workplace, including reduced turnover, lower absenteeism, and less costs. Furthermore, EAPs can help reduce direct costs such as health insurance claims as well as indirect costs such as productivity and engagement that impact employee output. In fact, the Employee Assistance Trade Association reports that for every $1 invested in an EAP, the return on investment is $3 or more. 

Overall, EAPs increase employee retention, and most importantly, keep your employees healthy, present, and happy.

How to Increase EAP Participation

Since we’ve discussed the many benefits of EAPs, it begs the question why they tend to be underused. According to several studies, the average usage of EAPs come out to be only 10% of the employee population – despite the fact that they are free to use. In order to promote use of Employee Assistance Programs, companies should focus their attention on effectively communicating the value of EAPs to increase participation in these programs. Business owners should focus on the following:

  1. Emphasize Confidentiality: Many employees are afraid to use EAPs because they believe there is a chance information they provide might be traced and travelled back to HR, affecting their job itself. Employers need to raise awareness about this issue by ensuring that their employees know the process is completely confidential. Outlining confidentiality is essential to increasing utilization of EAPs.

  2. Workplace Assessment: Conducting a workplace wellness assessment is the first step towards EAP utilization. Assessments can help determine what services to offer within your company and to choose the ones that will best help your employees.

  3. Education: Using EAPs may seem like a challenging process to some and educating your employees on the steps needed towards using EAPs can reduce some of the anxiety associated with the process. Hosting lunchtime sessions or how-to workshops can help employees who are unsure on where to start while providing an effortless transition into the program. Be sure to communicate how accessible and easy partaking in EAPs can be.

  4. Increase Awareness: To put it simply, the reason there might be under usage of EAPs in your organization might be due to the fact that your teams don’t know EAPs exist. Make sure your employees are aware of the resources available to them and emphasize the wide range of services available, there’s something for everyone!

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