There has been much discourse surrounding Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), with questions arising about their effectiveness. Are EAPs just for show or do they really have tangible benefits on 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 instead begin actively encouraging EAP usage, the long-term rewards EAPs hold become that much clearer.
What is an Employee Assistance Program?
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. These include reduced turnover, lower absenteeism, and reduced costs. Furthermore, EAPs can help reduce direct costs such as health insurance claims. This is in addition to 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. Despite the fact that they are free to use, average EAP use comes out to be only 10% of the employee population.
In order to promote use of EAPs, companies should focus their attention on communicating their value. This can lead to greater 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 might be traced back to HR. Employers need to reassure employees 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 help determine which services to offer within your company and helps choose ones your employees value most.
Using EAPs may seem like a challenging process to some. Nonetheless, educating your employees on the steps needed in using EAPs can reduce some of the anxiety associated with the process. Hosting lunchtime sessions or how-to workshops can help employees transition into the program. Be sure to communicate how accessible and easy partaking in EAPs can be.
4. Increase Awareness:
Under usage of EAPs in your organization may be due to the fact that your team doesn’t know you offer one. For this reason, make sure your employees are aware of the resources available to them. Emphasize the wide range of services available, there’s something for everyone!