Is it Worth Having an Employee Assistance Program? – Zupnick Associates

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(By Saad Imran)

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a wellness program designed to help employees deal with personal or professional problems that may affect their work performance.

EAPs were first started in the 1930s to deal with occupational alcoholism when drinking on the job was on the rise and found to affect engagement at work. EAPs have become pretty popular nowadays, as a survey held in 2019 found that 79% of employers offered an EAP. 

A good employee assistance program’s critical components are 24/7 counseling by licensed and professional counselors, crisis intervention, referral support, follow-up, and substance abuse experts’ availability as drug and alcohol abuse are the most prevalent among EAP cases. 

Confidentiality, open communication, and education of employees about their benefits are also necessary for your employee assistance program’s success. Your employees should feel comfortable coming up to your EAP counselors about their problems. 

The ongoing pandemic has had an adverse effect on the mental health of employees. Even before the pandemic, investing in your employees made good financial sense

However, today with 84% of employees concerned about their mental health, offering an EAP post-COVID as part of your employee benefits program can positively affect your employee performance. 

Following are some benefits of a well-designed Employee Assistance Program:

Increased Overall Productivity 

We are living in unprecedented times. As the pandemic rages on, many people have lost their lives and livelihood. During this difficult situation, many employees are stressed due to personal, financial, and professional issues. 

According to a study, 83% of professionals experience stress at their jobs. 

Constant stress and worry can cause your employees to lose focus and motivation at work, which can harm your business. 

With a 24/7 counseling service as part of your EAP, your employees won’t only have someone to share their life problems with, but they will also work with the counselor to find ways to manage their stress and become more productive at work. 

Reduced Absenteeism

Dealing with absenteeism while running a business can be a difficult task. When key employees miss work due to physical and mental illness, business operations’ smooth running can get affected. 

According to a CDC Foundation report, American employers lose about $225.8 billion every year from productivity losses due to absenteeism. Another study found that employees suffering from mental illnesses such as depression cost employers $44 billion of lost productive time. 

A well-designed EAP can help your employees with counseling and guidance, and advice on family issues such as child care and legal and financial matters, resulting in lower stress levels and absenteeism. 

A study found out that absenteeism was 46% lower in people who participated in EAPs.

Lower Insurance Costs in the Long Run

Designing and implementing an EAP can cost money. However, if you as an employer are concerned about your company’s declining bottom line due to rising healthcare costs, a well-designed EAP can improve it.

An EAP can provide services to your employees, which may help them tackle minor personal and professional issues that can become significant stressors in the long run. This can positively impact the health of your employees. 

With a healthy workforce and fewer employees opting for expensive medical procedures and health insurance, you will save a good amount of money in insurance premium costs.  

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Due to present circumstances, offering an EAP as part of your employee benefits program can be incredibly attractive to potential employees. 

The young talent is eager to join a company that offers EAP, and it can also help retain employees that are already working in your organization. 

An Employee Assistance Program can be a great representative of your company values and highlight the fact that you as an employer care about your employees’ mental health, as a study found that 86% of employees believe that a company should support the mental health of their employees.

Less Burden on Managers 

Your managers may have excellent managerial skills; however, if an employee going through a trauma comes up to them, they won’t be able to help and support him.

An EAP can be a great resource for your managers as they would refer the troubled employee to professional and trained counselors, which would lessen the burden on them. 

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