An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an organised and structured work-based intervention program designed to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological wellbeing of employees within an organisation.
They aim to provide preventive and proactive solutions for the early detection, identification and/or resolution of both work and personal problems that may adversely affect an individual's performance and mental wellbeing.
An EAP gives employees, and immediate family members, access to qualified professionals, including psychologists, social workers and management coaches.
EAP’s allow organisations to effectively address:
- Interpersonal conflict and tension
- Work-related stress
- Changes in your work environment
- Relationship or family matters
- Personal and emotional stress
- Grief and bereavement
- Career issues
- Mental health concerns
- Personal crisis or trauma
- Substance abuse
- Support planning of personal finances
Three Key benefits to Employee Assistance Programs
1. A Happy Team is a Manager’s Dream
When team members are facing troubling issues both within and outside of the organisation, the effects are felt across the business.
Aside from the personal concerns for team members welfare, an affected stakeholder can result in decreased productivity.
Other effects can be despondency within team dynamics, a lack of initiative as well as increased use of personal leave days. Needless to say, mental health and wellbeing is something every organisation needs to take seriously.
In the United States, the Society for Human Resource Management has found that companies lose 36.6% of their productivity due to employee absences.
US studies also found that once an EAP is introduced, productivity increases. EAPs also result in reduced sick leave usage by 33%, lost time by 40%, and work-related accidents by 65%.
2. Encourage a Positive Work Environment
Stress-induced absenteeism, decreased performance, and health problems can affect not only one person but the organisation as a whole.
Additionally, if a team member is experiencing a high level of stress, they may become more defensive, argumentative, and less communicative at work.
An EAP can help by providing much-needed support as well as a dedicated channel to address and overcome their issues. This can result in improvement of stress levels, which can positively affect team dynamics and improve the business overall.
3. Lead to Increased Employee Retention
A positive work environment is a key factor in retaining talented employees.
The American Health Association launched a survey which found around 51% of employees stay at their job because of good relationships with coworkers.
An EAP can help keep employees productive, present, and happier while on the job.
Furthermore, this program is especially useful in attracting and retaining millennial employees. An Australian labour report found that 87% of employees have an established EAP as part of their consideration criteria for joining an organisation and 58% of millennials consider EAPs as extremely important when deciding on a role.
In general, millennials are less hesitant to reach out for help regarding mental health issues, and are therefore more likely to appreciate and make use of an employee assistance program.
An EAP is a crucial and important part of maintaining positive employee engagement. Not only is it an effective way to protect the wellbeing of employees within an organisation, it promotes mutual success of everyone within the business.