What is an Employee Assistance Programme & Why Should You Offer It?

28th January 2021

When it comes to an employee’s performance at work, personal issues can become a huge distraction. With ever-increasing pressures at home and in the workplace, it can be easy to break under the stress and emotional strain without the right support. Employees will find it difficult to flourish in their role whilst they are struggling with the demands of everyday life, so looking into offering an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) will really benefit both your employees and your company, when they need a little extra support.

What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)?

An Employee Assistance Programme is a scheme that helps employees to overcome personal issues with support when things get a bit too much. These issues can occur outside or inside the workplace, and adversely impact their mental or physical health, well-being or work performance. An EAP is usually delivered by an independent provider of support services which is paid for by your business and provided as an employee benefit, where the employee can go for help they need without having to let you know.

What issues can EAPs provide support with?

EAPs give your employees confidential advice and support in almost all aspects of their work and personal life. Whether an employee needs independent advice on how to handle stress in their job role, or would like to speak to someone about overcoming bereavement, or they’re having issues with debt management, providing an EAP can really help.

Some of the issues which EAPs can help with are:

  • Consequences of the pandemic
  • Family matters
  • Relationships
  • Money issues / debt management
  • Legal issues
  • Housing
  • Alcohol and drug addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Workplace stress
  • Issues at work
  • Childcare
  • Disability and illness
  • Sexual orientation
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Tax
  • Domestic issues
  • Bereavement
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Depression and anxiety

What support services do EAPs provide?

Not all EAPs offer the exact same services, depending on which programme you choose, it will determine the types of services offered. They generally provide these services for employees and their immediate family.

Services offered by EAPs are usually available immediately, with the best ones offering 24 hour human support helplines. The programmes employ teams of fully qualified and professional counsellors and informational specialists, which can help deal with all the different kinds of issues listed above. Here are some of the services offered by a lot of EAP service providers:

Available immediately, whenever they need it

Providers offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So no matter what time of the day it is, they are always there when people need them most.

A 24 hour employee assistance helpline

Your employees can call at any time of day for professional and confidential help to overcome their personal problems.

Face to face counselling (in person or video calls)

If your employees would prefer to chat in person, they can receive face to face counselling sessions with qualified counsellors. During the current times, this may solely be on video or voice call.

Medical support

Some EAPs provide a 24-hour helpline for medical support, so employees are able to speak to a trained nurse with any worries or concerns.

Above and beyond information

EAPs not only provide a range of information through booklets, articles, and resources on support services in their local area, they also provide personalised support when your employees really need it. Teams of highly qualified people will listen to your problems without judgement, and provide counselling to help get you back on track.

Why should your business offer an EAP to employees?

It is virtually impossible for employees to block out their personal issues when it comes to their workplace performance; it is common for people to struggle with concentration, emotional stability and attendance when there are things happening in their personal lives.

Offering proactive and personalised support can not only improve productivity in the workplace but also reduce absence, which is a large cost to businesses. This is why an EAP is not only hugely beneficial to the employee, but also for the employer.

Benefits of EAPs include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improve employee attendance
  • Employee retention
  • Improve employee morale and motivation
  • Help with issues before they impact on work
  • Improved management effectiveness
  • Happy employees = successful business

If you are interested in how we can help create an effective employee wellbeing programme, take a look at our health & wellbeing services or get in touch with us today!

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