Employee Assistance Programmes (or EAPs) are used by all types of business, from small to large multinationals in all sectors. Latest figures indicate that half of UK employees are supported by EAPs. This follows a growth of around 69 percent in EAPs since 2008. There are specific benefits each organisation may get from their EAP depending on their individual needs, however, in general they will all benefit from increased productivity and attendance.
The employee wellbeing in the workplace is important; an EAP can increase this with the following:
1. First and foremost is confidentiality. Offering your employees a confidential space to discuss problems and seek support gives them more freedom to get the help they need without fearing repercussions from their employer. Employees appreciate the trust put in them by providing this service and also get the support they need rather than hiding difficulties to avoid judgement.
2. An important benefit for employers is the 24 hour support that an EAP provides. Being able to call your EAP at any time takes a burden off the organisation as the arranging of support can be left for out of work hours. Additionally, emergency situations that occur overnight or on the weekend can be appropriately attended to, reducing the need for time off work for employees.
3. As a combination of the above to aspects of an EAP, the third benefit is early intervention. By offering free, confidential and consistent support, employees can get assistance at the first sign of difficulty, preventing the build up of stress and need to take time off.
4. The everyday support that an EAP provides; for example legal, financial and family care information, serve to keep the home life of all employees more manageable.
5. Having an EAP with robust critical incident support is of great benefit. Knowing experienced professionals are on hand means an organisation can focus on keeping the business well whist the EAP supports the employees.
6. An EAP can, with the correct data collection and analysis, provide unique insights into the psychological wellbeing of your workforce. Using anonymised details from employee contacts an EAP can suggest wider areas for learning, training and improvement.
7. Support for managers is vital; the role of managing others comes with a specific set of stressors that can overwhelm. An EAP can provide dedicate in the moment support to help counsel managers in difficult situations. Furthermore, EAPs can also provide mediation for the resolution of disputes and executive coaching services to strengthen the management within your business.
8. Finally, an EAP can support management interventions. By offering a tried and tested management referral process, an EAP can take over and offer confidential support on the advice of managers. This takes the burden of a difficult, and often inappropriate, situation off their hands and gives the employee the professional support they may require.