January 17, 2023 | Blog
The Benefits of Having a Quality Employee Assistance Program
By Zach Schmit, PN1-NC, NASM-CPT
There is having an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and then there is having a quality Employee Assistance Program. There are generic options such as “throw-in” EAPs embedded in a company’s disability benefit that allows an employer to “check the box” and then there are standalone, robust EAPs that help move the needle and drive positive change inside an organization. A quality EAP should provide a diverse mix of mental health and wellness resources for both employees and the employer. The days of having an EAP as a “nice-to-have” benefit are long gone. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and several other factors, we now find ourselves in an era where having a robust EAP for employees is a “must-have.”
An EAP is a confidential and voluntary program that provides employees with access to counseling and a suite of other wellness resources to help them manage personal and work-related issues. These issues can range from mental health or physical health concerns to financial stress and everything in between.
Besides the obvious benefit of seeing someone’s life improve in a specific manner, one of the primary benefits of an EAP is that it can help improve employee productivity. When employees are dealing with personal or work-related issues, it can become very difficult for them to focus on their job. A comprehensive EAP can provide employees with the support they need to resolve their most pressing issues and improve their overall wellbeing. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and better job performance.
An EAP can also help to reduce recurring absenteeism and turnover. When employees are faced with mounting personal or work-related issues, they may take unplanned time off work or potentially even quit their job. Every EAP should provide employees with options to choose from that will help put them on a path back to thriving, which in turn can help reduce the high costs associated with increased absenteeism and turnover.
One meaningful predictor to a company’s success is the makeup of its workplace culture. What is the vibe from the inside, not just from the outside looking in? Do people truly enjoy working there and working towards the company’s mission? Are employees engaged? A quality EAP, when promoted well internally, tends to elevate employee morale in numerous ways that has a positive ripple effect throughout the organization. When employees are struggling, it can be difficult for them to feel motivated or engaged at work, which has a direct negative consequence on company culture.
Actively encouraging the use of your EAP should not only help improve the overall health of your workforce, but there is also evidence that displays decreases in employer healthcare costs over time as a result. When employees are dealing with difficult challenges, it can lead to increased stress and poor physical and mental health. When these issues are left unchecked over a sustained period of time, resiliency eventually breaks down, and chronic conditions can set in. This leads to more doctor appointments and a myriad of other medical concerns.
Life beyond the workplace matters. A quality EAP will extend its counseling resources and other forms of support to the immediate family members of employees so they can also face tough challenges and work towards becoming the best version of themselves. We are all human. Relationship or parenting challenges, mental or physical health conditions, burnout or compassion fatigue, etc. isn’t something that can simply be “turned off” when it is time to go to work. Generally speaking, the better an EAP can help make things for employees and their families on the home front, the better the employee can show up at the workplace.
Covenant Workplace Solutions is committed to raising the bar for what is to be expected from Employee Assistance Programs. No matter the company size or industry they may be in, implementing a standalone, robust EAP should be on every company’s radar. The data is crystal clear that now is not the time for organizations to hesitate making the investment in a quality EAP.
If you would like to learn more about what a comprehensive EAP can do for your organization, click here and request a time with one of our experts.