What is an EAP? Benefits of an Employee Assistance Programme

It’s important that employees have somewhere to turn to for in-the-moment support. To make sure that your employees can get the right help when they need it, we recommend offering an Employee Assistance Programme, or EAP. If you’re asking yourself questions like “What is an EAP?” or “How can an EAP help my organisation?” then read on to find out more.

Your employees are the backbone of your organisation, where the foundation of your business rests upon the skills and dedication of your workforce, and your dedication to them. This is why having an Employee Assistance Programme is crucial for any organisation, helping employees who are struggling with various, personal issues so they can bring their best selves to the workplace. It’s good business. When contemplating about implementing an EAP though, it’s important to note what it entails and how to properly bring one to your business.

In this article we discuss the different elements of an EAP:

 

What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)?

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) serves as a vital resource for working individuals, offering essential support and guidance, helping them face personal challenges. The aim of an EAP is to develop a workforce for an organisation which is content if not happy, and in good health. The idea behind it is that a healthy and happy workforce is likely to deliver much better results; something proven in various scientific studies. This then contributes to a business’ overall success, not only through the results of its employees but also reducing absenteeism and staff turnover, both of which can be costly for any organisation.

Not only that, but by investing in the health and happiness of its workforce, the organisation sends a powerful message to its employees that they genuinely care about their wellbeing. This goes a long way to fostering a more thoughtful workplace, where employees are genuinely interested and engaged with the business.

 

What issues can EAP help with?

An EAP provide valuable in-the-moment support and guidance to individuals, offering help on a wide range of issues and personal challenges. This can include:

Mental health concerns

An EAP provides a safe and confidential space for employees to look into and talk with someone about any mental health concerns they may have. This can include stress, depression, and anxiety, which affects 67% of the UK working population. By using the service, employees can attend counselling sessions which explore coping strategies, look to develop resilience, and signpost towards resources for professional mental health support.

Work-Life balance

Balancing work responsibilities along with the burdens and challenges of our personal lives can be challenging for anyone, and it goes a long way to impacting our anxiety. The EAP can help with this, assisting employees in managing work-related stress, setting boundaries, and developing a healthy work-life balance. This can include counselling sessions to time management techniques, prioritisation, and how to set boundaries so employees don’t take their stress home with them.

Relationship problems

Whether it’s conflicts with a spouse, family member, or colleague, an EAP offers support to help employees navigate relationship challenges. Through counselling and guidance, employees can gain insights, improve communication skills, and develop strategies to resolve conflicts constructively, fostering healthier relationships.

Financial challenges

Our finances can be a leading factor in our anxiety and overall stress. This is only made worse by the Cost of Living Crisis. An EAP helps alleviate these stresses by providing financial counselling and guidance. This means helping employees manage debt, budget, and make healthy and informed financial decisions. By using an EAP, employees can get back in control of their finances and work towards a more stable financial future.

Substance abuse and addiction

An EAP can play a vital role in addressing substance abuse and addiction concerns. Employees can receive confidential support, access resources for treatment and recovery, and benefit from counselling to overcome addictive behaviours. EAPs connect individuals with appropriate professionals and support networks, fostering a path towards recovery and improved wellbeing.

Grief and loss

Whether it’s a friend, family member, or a colleague, losing someone you care about can have a tremendous impact on our lives, impacting us in ways we never even thought about. An EAP is there to support employees through this process, offering a listening ear to whoever may need it, wherein counselling and signposting towards the best resources can help employees navigate the grieving process. By providing support and guidance, an EAP can assist individuals in coping with their emotions, finding healthy ways to heal, and eventually moving forward in their lives while honouring the memory of their loved ones.

Workplace conflict

Conflicts in the workplace can be disruptive and can affect the wellbeing for everyone. EAPs provide assistance in resolving conflicts by offering mediation services, teaching effective communication techniques, and providing conflict resolution strategies. By addressing workplace conflicts, an EAP works to foster a workplace with healthy, open communication.

Stress management

An EAP aims to equip employees with tools and techniques to manage their stress effectively. Through counselling and resources, employees can learn stress reduction techniques, develop resilience, and improve their overall wellbeing. EAPs may offer stress management workshops, mindfulness practices, and relaxation exercises to support employees in managing stress more effectively.

Parenting and childcare support

Juggling work and parenting responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming. An EAP aims to provide the resources and guidance to the unique parenting challenges employees may be experiencing. By offering parenting resources, strategies, and guidance, an EAP can help employees find their feet and support their roles as both a parent and professional.

Legal advice

An EAP can often provide access to legal and financial experts who can offer guidance on various legal matters or financial planning. Employees can receive consultation on legal concerns, consumer goods, tax matters, and other financial matters. This support helps employees navigate complex legal and financial situations while knowing they’re receiving sound advice, promoting a sense of security and wellbeing.

 

What are the benefits of an EAP?

An EAP is a service designed to help employees with personal challenges, like stress, financial, or relationship problems. By offering confidential counselling and resources, an EAP supports employees in dealing with these issues effectively. This leads to healthier and happier employees, which is great for individuals and as a result, the business too. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more satisfied with their jobs and more engaged with their work.

The service focuses on preventing problems before they become bigger issues. It provides employees with tools and resources to manage stress, achieve a healthy work-life balance, and improve their overall wellbeing. By taking care of these issues early on, the service helps avoid more serious problems down the line. This means fewer absences from work and better job performance.

When employees are healthier and happier, they positively influence the overall workplace atmosphere, fostering collaboration, stronger relationships, and higher morale. This positive environment not only enhances productivity and teamwork but also contributes to better employee retention rates and customer satisfaction, helping the organisation in the long run.

 

How does an EAP help employees?

An EAP provides crucial support for employees, promoting their mental health and overall wellbeing. Through an EAP, employees gain access to a range of services tailored to address their specific needs, including professional counselling, crisis intervention, work-life balance assistance, and more. These comprehensive resources offered by an EAP help employees navigate personal challenges, cope with stress, and develop effective strategies for managing their emotional and mental wellbeing.

After using an EAP, employees can experience a wide range of post-benefits that significantly enhance their wellbeing. Through professional counselling services, employees gain valuable insights, coping mechanisms, and strategies to navigate personal challenges much more effectively. This newfound resilience enables them to better manage stress and maintain a healthier mindset in their daily lives. Moreover, the work-life balance assistance offered by an EAP helps employees set a proper balance between their personal and professional responsibilities, leading to increased satisfaction in and out of the workplace, as well as reduced burnout. By addressing these challenges, the EAP will be able to improve the employee’s mental wellbeing, allowing them to thrive.

 

How does an EAP help employers?

Although Employee Assistance Programmes are tailored to your staff, they don’t just have to benefit your team, they can also be beneficial to you as an employer. Not only do businesses see an average ROI of £10.85 per employee (EAPA, 2023), but they have some additional benefits to you too.

Increased productivity

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, 2022 saw businesses lose a record number of working days at 185.6 million due to sickness or injury. On top of that, new findings from O.C Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report found that nearly half of UK workers are finding their work exhausting. This has led to the UK businesses losing out on £340 billion per year, as a result of employee disengagement.

An EAP works to change that. When your employees are happy and healthy, they’re more likely to be engaged with their work, leading to a much higher job performance. A recent study found that more engaged employees have a 14% increase in productivity, resulting in a 18% increase in turnover (Gallup, 2023).

Reduced absenteeism

Employee absenteeism refers to employees taking reoccurring time off from work, costing UK businesses £20.6 billion in 2022 (BNW, 2022). An EAP aims to tackle this too, by helping foster a more engaged workforce it can reduce employee absenteeism by 41%.

You might even find your staff becoming more punctual, as their morning commute isn’t delayed by a physical or mental barriers.

Greater employee retention

By investing in an EAP and putting your best foot forward, you’re showing your team that you genuinely care about their mental and physical wellbeing. This sends a strong message with leads to employees becoming more engaged and satisfied within their role. The result of this is a higher employee retention rate which is critical to avoiding the costs of staff turnover and recruitment costs.

It’s estimated that replacing a salaried employee can cost between 6-9 month’s salary (Centric HR, 2022).

Greater employee safety

According to HSE, 2022 saw each employee in the UK lose an average of 10.6 days due to an injury. Employers can’t stop every accident from happening but if an injury is caused by mental stress, perhaps repetitive stress or a mental slip up causing a trip or a fall, this can be avoided by implementing an EAP. This would ensure your staff are taking care of their mental and physical health, making sure they’re safe at work and you as an employer aren’t at risk.

An EAP saves time

When your staff are using their Employee Assistance Programme to tackle their personal issues, it helps streamline your business, providing a centralised resource for your staff. This reduces the need for you as an employer, or your managers, to handle such matters, helping you save time and make the most out of your day.

 

Is an EAP confidential?

Yes. Confidentiality is at the heart of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), and the service representatives and counsellors are bound by their Professional Code of Practice.  The EAP service is completely independent from the client organisation.  When the service-user contacts the EAP, the only information required from them initially is the name of the organisation they work for to determine eligibility and service level. Any additional information shared by the service-user is at their own discretion and appropriate to their need. Any personal information remains strictly confidential.

Life & Progress (Intermediary) and our respective Partners (Service Providers) follow stringent protocols and are fully compliant with GDPR rules. GDPR Privacy Statement(s) are available upon email request via gdpr@lifeandprogress.co.uk

GDPR privacy policies and related information can also be found via our respective website(s).

 

How does an EAP work?

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) operates in a way that employees can easily access the support and services they need. Here’s an overview of how our EAP works:

Initial assessment

When you sign up with a Life & Progress EAP, your employees will gain access to an online portal equipped with tools, guidance, and information to best equip them for any personal challenges they may be facing. Within the portal, they can also utilise a Live Chat feature where they can engage with an agent. Alternatively, the employee can also contact the service through a phone call. During this initial conversation, whether by phone or online, the employee would then discuss their concerns or challenges with the agent.

Referral and appointment

During the initial conversation, based on the employee’s needs, the agent will arrange for a counsellor or advisor to contact them at a mutually agreed-upon time. This makes sure that the employee receives the most support and guidance. If counselling will discuss the options available and arrange further counselling sessions if needed.

Counselling and advice

During the scheduled session, the counsellor or advisor depending on what the employee has asked for, will provide professional and informed advice to address the employee’s concerns. They ensure that the employee is in a safe, confidential space where the employee can freely discuss their challenges, emotions and experiences. The counsellor would then listen, offering support and practical strategies to help the employee manage their situation effectively.

Short-term support and referrals

Depending on the employee’s needs, the EAP primarily provides short-term focussed therapy to address immediate concerns and support the employee through their current challenges. However, if the employee requires long-term support beyond the EAP’s scope, such as ongoing therapy or specialised care, the EAP can assist by referring them to external resources like the NHS or specific charities.

 

How do you implement an EAP?

To make sure you get the most out of your EAP, organisations should take care to implement a carefully though out strategy, which would mean employees are aware of the EAP and its benefits. Taking the time to engage with employees and understand their needs and expectations can greatly enhance the EAP’s relevance to an organisation’s workforce. By speaking with their people, employers can relay their findings to their EAP provider, who can then create a bespoke service with the employee’s true needs in mind.

Organisations should promote the EAP through their communication channels, relaying information on what is an EAP and how can an EAP help. Here are some ideas of what organisations can do to promote the service:

Hard copy materials – Distribute informative materials such as leaflets, flyers, wallet cards, and postcards to employees. Items such as a wallet card can be given to employees directly, or something like a poster can be displayed in a high traffic area where it’ll grab people’s attention.

Manager training – Train managers through comprehensive awareness training to ensure they’re knowledgeable on the EAP and can relay that information to their team. This means that when a team member had hinted or made a manager aware of an issue, the manager can immediately suggest the EAP as a support tool. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for managers, including assessing their awareness of an EAP and include information in their manager handbook.

E-materials – Create electronic version of the EAP materials, including e-leaflets, e-posters and awareness emails for employees. Share monthly or/and quarterly bulletins with the team and email them with updates on the service if possible.

Online presence – Develop a dedicated area on the website where the service can be highlighted to employees and inform them on how it can help. Include introductory videos and FAQs, with a section on their employee portal. Make sure to use social media and any inhouse social platforms, like WhatsApp groups, to communicate messages to the team.

Training sessions – Organise training sessions and workshops with your team. These can introduce the service, but workshops can also focus on specific issues such as humour in the workplace or menopause awareness training. These can take organisations a step further to fostering a positive working environment for employees.

 

Final thoughts

Creating a supportive and thriving workplace environment is the goal for any organisation. The wellbeing and happiness of their employees as a result can play a huge role in the success of the business, following the increase in productivity, engagement and satisfaction of their team. To ensure your own employees are working at their best, consider implementing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in your own organisation.

An EAP is the business putting its best foot forward, serving as a vital resource for employees who are in need of confidential support and guidance. The EAP is there to cover a huge range of issues an employee may be experiencing, whether it’s mental health concerns, work-life balance, relationship problems, financial challenges, substance abuse, grief and loss, workplace conflict, stress management, parenting and childcare support, or even legal advice, so that the employee can be their best self with little to no worries or anxiety affecting them.

Implementing an EAP demonstrates your commitment to your employees’ wellbeing, fostering a supportive work culture where they feel valued and cared for. The benefits of an EAP are numerous and by considering the implementation of an EAP, you are investing in the wellbeing and success of your employees, creating a positive and supportive workplace environment.

 

How Life & Progress can help

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) can provide a range of benefits to organisations of all sizes, and it’s important to choose the right provider that can offer the right level of support to meet your needs. At Life & Progress, we offer a unique mix of third-party and online EAP options that can provide comprehensive support to employees and organisations alike. Our approach is especially well-suited for SMEs, which may not have the resources to implement a full in-house EAP programme. With Life & Progress, you can get the benefits of a third-party provider, while also having access to a range of online resources that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Contact our Sales team today to learn more about how we can help you implement an EAP programme that meets the unique needs of your organisation.

For more details contact us for a no-obligation meeting in person or online, on how we can help you.

0808 164 3941 | service@lifeandprogress.co.uk

 

 

Leave a comment