Three of the biggest issues facing small and medium business owners is employee retention, absenteeism and loyalty. If you provide employee benefits for your employees then it is likely you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP); a program designed to support your employees’ mental health and ultimately help them to become productive, happy employees. But is it effective?
I have created this blog to field questions and provide advice, share industry insights to business owners and human resource personnel who have questions about Employee Assistance Programs.
With close to 30 years experience providing clinical and consultative services to organizations the last 23 specifically delivering Employee Assistance Programs, I have listened to corporate clients, employees and their families, and, professional counsellors, and I’d like to share my knowledge by kicking-off my blog this week by outlining what I believe are the top 10 reasons to consider having an effective Employee Assistance Program. These reasons are not in any particular order, but they are all important!
#1 Allows You to Sleep at Night
If key employees are struggling with personal issues, they are distracted and not focusing on their work. A key employee who is “taken out” because of a mental health problem can potentially disable a business. Having an effective EAP in place – available 7/24 – provides business owners with peace of mind because the EAP is managing the troubled employee and the business owner can take care of business.
#2 Improves Productivity
Effective Employee Assistance Programs are designed to improve the productivity of your employees. When an employee is dealing with personal issues such as mental illness, family problems, addictions, or critical work incidents, the result is often a drop in productivity at work. EAPs provide the company with prevention services, mental health assessment and treatment programs, specialized referrals, and, follow-up services, all targeting your employees’ mental health issues. This means that while helping your employees deal with all of life’s ups and downs and we all know these are unavoidable, you are also ensuring effective company continuity and growth.
#3 Reduces Company Costs
When an employee is suffering personally it is likely their work will suffer too. Frequent absenteeism can be devastating to business. The bottom line is when this occurs the company will incur financial losses. Company costs include: on-the-job absenteeism (aka “presenteeism”), absenteeism, and disability claims for stress-related issues. These costs are preventable! Effective Employee Assistance Programs are designed to reduce the impact that psychological, social or physical problems have on employees in order to reduce and eliminate the financial impact on the company. These programs aim to provide a range of prevention and treatment options for employees and their families so the employees is able to stay at work or return to work faster with renewed strength!
#4 Third Party Assistance
Effective EAPs are confidential, voluntary and, accessible 24/7 in over 140 languages. They are offered not just to the employee, but also to their families, as we know that problems experienced by a family will impact the employee as well. EAPs are third party programs that not only provide mental health assessment and treatment, but they also specialize in connecting employees with appropriate community services based on their needs beyond what the EAP can offer EAPs work with companies to provide employees with the best possible health, safety and training services. They assess individual employee needs, refer employees to suitable services and provide employees and their families with confidential access to professional health services. And if your company should experience an unexpected traumatic on site event, such as a workplace accident, violence, sudden illness or death, the EAP will be available on-site within hours to provide critical incident services. Essentially an EAP can manage the overall health and safety of your employees and your company so that you can get on with business.
#5 Increased Wellness, Company Morale and, Work Place Harmony
Human resources are the most valuable of a company’s assets so it makes sense that as an employer you wish to look after your employees. We know that a happy and healthy employee is a productive employee. Effective EAPs ensure that your employees are well taken care of as individuals so that they can perform as part of your team. An EAP provides prevention and management services that ensure employees are happy and healthy. Effective EAPs not only offer psychological counselling services but a suite of wellness programs such as Nutrition, Wellness Seminars, Smoking Cessation, LifeCoaching, Legal, and, Financial services, all geared to increase well-being. An EAP is highly conducive to a harmonious work place. The added advantage here is that the employees know that the company supports them therefore they feel a connection to the work they are doing and are more committed to achieving desirable results.
What are the other five reasons for an EAP? For that, you’ll have to wait for my next blog!
How About You?
As a business owner or human resource advisor, what are the most important issues facing your company today? Do you think that an effective EAP, not just an EAP, could help you resolve your current issues so that productivity doesn’t suffer and there is business continuity?
I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments below.