Your Essential Guide to Employee Assistance Programs

EAPs can support your employees and boost productivity. Here’s what you need to know.

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What is an Employee Assistance Program, and do you need one?

How stressed are your employees? You may not know. Several stressors outside of the workplace might distract your employees, lower their productivity, and reduce their quality of life.

Child or family care expenses, retirement planning woes, and mental health challenges are just a few of the many external factors that may affect your employees in the office. In fact, 55% of Americans are stressed during the day, and only 43% think that their employers care about their work-life balance.

One solution that can help your employees deal with challenges is providing an EAP.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a benefit that provides your staff with support for personal issues that interfere with work. An EAP can help employees find solutions for problems with substance abuse, legal issues, financial difficulties, and other non-work-related problems.

With an EAP, employees can receive assistance for the following:

  • Mental health counseling and support
  • Wellness plans
  • Caregiving and family services
  • Financial planning
  • Professional development
  • Work relationship management
  • Crisis intervention

55% of Americans are stressed during the day, and only 43% think that their employers care about their work-life balance.

How does an EAP work?

As a benefit, employers invest in the EAP program of their choice. Before choosing an EAP plan, it’s recommended that you survey your employees and get feedback on what services would be ideal.

No matter which plan you pick, most EAP programs will cover all of your employees and potentially their household members. Employee Assistance Program providers usually leverage their partner network to provide various services.

When your employee uses the EAP plan, their information is kept confidential. They may use on-call counselors or referrals to other resources. It is important to remember that an EAP benefit is not health insurance, although EAP programs often have health-related services.

But there’s a big issue — only 6.9% of employees use their free services. The reason? Most employees simply don’t know what it is or how to access the services. If you decide to provide an Employee Assistance Program, make sure to describe it in your employee handbook and send out a few memos.

You may be wondering whether it is worth investing in an EAP if there’s a chance your employees might not use it. But many potential benefits will end up not only helping your employees but also your bottom-line.

Benefits of an EAP

Increases in productivity, additional savings, and reduced costs are 3 substantial benefits for employers.

As you can imagine, there are various benefits to providing an EAP plan. Since Employee Assistance Programs target lowering stress, you’re likely to see various gains as employees use the services. Increases in productivity, additional savings, and reduced costs are 3 substantial benefits for employers.

Boosted productivity

First, you’re likely to engage your employees and drive productivity, which alone can increase profits by 21%. Since EAP services can help employees find the resources to deal with stress, they will be better able to focus in the workplace.

More savings

With employees improving their productivity and a lower absenteeism rate, you’re likely to see positive effects on your bottom line. But you’ll also have additional savings. Reduced accidents and fewer workers’ comp claims are other potential benefits of investing in your employees’ wellbeing.

Improved employee loyalty

Not only are workers likely to come into the office and be less stressed, but they are also likely to care more about the company. When employees feel cared about, they are less likely to leave — which will increase your retention rate.

Who are the top EAP providers?

What EAP program works best for you entirely depends on your employee needs. Some common preferences are:

  • Modern Health: A mobile application that offers employees access to meditations or financial wellness programs, as well as virtual counseling.
  • Spring Health: Like Modern Health, Spring Health offers an online, app-based program, but it focuses entirely on mental health.
  • Anthem: This EAP provider offers various services, including healthcare, pet care, child care resources, financial and legal consultations, and more.
  • LifeWorks: Similar to Anthem, employees can access professionals in mental health, financial, legal, and retirement planning.

But these are just the tip of the iceberg. Many more EAP providers are available, often with customized offerings that you can easily integrate into your office.

Next steps

Are you interested in integrating an EAP into your benefits plan? You’ll first want to survey your employees and see what services are a priority. Then you’ll choose a provider and let your employees know about the service. You’ll also want to add it to your employee handbook.

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