Understanding EAPs

EAPsKeep your top talent by offering employee assistance programs.

Can employee assistance programs or EAPs help companies retain their best employees? If so, how? Are there other benefits that can be derived from such programs? To better understand how EAPs work and how it benefits both the employer and his employees, let us take a closer look at the issue.

Understanding EAPs?

Basically, an employee assistance program or EAP is a confidential counselling service that is frequently offered along with a health insurance plan. ?It provides needs assessment, counselling, and referrals for employees who are facing mental health issues. It can also provide assistance when the employees or their immediate family members need help in dealing with life events and other challenges in their personal or professional life.

According to the Department of Labor, EAPs are most frequently used when dealing with problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse and marital difficulties. They are also used to help employees who are having financial, emotional and legal problems. EAPs can also be used by those who are having child care, parenting and elder care concerns and/or are experiencing grief and other traumatic events. According to experts, when left unattended, these issues can significantly affect a person’s performance at work and thus, affect your company’s bottomline.

How Do EAPs Work?

According to Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a global human capital consulting firm based in New York, mental health conditions, drug abuse and?stress can lead to increased absenteeism, presenteeism (a workplace phenomenon whereby the employee is present but is unable to function productively) and reduced productivity, and may affect business performance considerably. By offering EAPs, however, employers can:

  • Increase productivity by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism and employee turnover.
  • Avoid accidents in the worksite and reduce health care costs.
  • Reduce the risk of workplace violence, trauma and litigation.
  • Encourage employee engagement and help them deal with various issues in their personal and professional life.
  • Improve the morale and promote overall wellness of employees.

Evidence suggests that EAPs are capable of delivering the desired results. According to a study conducted by the Department of Labor, EAPs can reduce absenteeism by 33% and reduce lost time by as much as 40%. Work related accidents and workers’ compensation claims can also be reduced by as much as 65% and 30%, respectively.

As you can see, providing employee assistance programs (EAPs) can keep your employees healthy, happy and productive. It can also help you meet the needs of your business ? no matter how big or small it may be.