If you’re considering implementing an employee benefits program for your staff or adding to an already-existing employee benefits program, you may want to consider the importance of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs help employees overcome personal issues — issues that carry over to work if not effectively addressed.
There was a time when EAPs dealt mostly with issues related to alcohol and substance abuse. These days, EAPs offer a wide range of confidential counseling services, everything from domestic violence and depression to wellness programs that deal with weight management.
The following are just some examples of the various types of counselors who offer services through EAPs:
- Clinical Social Workers
- Alcohol and Drug Counselors
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Financial Advisors
- Eldercare Specialists
- Childcare Specialists
Recent trends show that wellness programs are cost-effective benefits that can significantly improve an employee’s physical and psychological health, improve morale and productivity, and reduce the impact on the employer’s health insurance program. That’s especially important when you consider the billions of dollars spent every year on treating preventable conditions related to tobacco, diabetes and obesity. When employees are healthier, it also can reduce the costs associated with absenteeism and reduced productivity. As a standard, wellness programs include exercise and relaxation classes, weight management, stress management and sometimes, company-wide incentives.
In addition, EAPs can provide assistance in areas that other benefit plans may not cover, such as concerns with relationships and family issues, balancing work and legal or financial problems. Here is a list of some other services offered by EAPs:
- Legal Advice and Services
- Childcare Resources and Referrals
- Eldercare Consultation
- Academic Resources on a Variety of Educational Issues
- Adoption Resources
- ID Theft Recovery
- Pet Care Services and Referrals
- Relocation Resources
- Concierge Services
Why Should Employers Consider Adding an EAP?
1. Employers can add an EAP to achieve multiple objectives, including the following:
- To provide a confidential counseling resource
- To provide a human resource consultation tool for managers (employers can recommend employees utilize the EAP for a work performance issue but the counseling session remains confidential)
- To provide a cost-effective training and education resource for the entire organization
Statistics show EAPs tend to improve employee morale and lead to a more energetic, positive and productive workplace, reduce employee turnover, and reduce overall healthcare costs. The bottom line is that healthy employees work better, and that’s a win-win for everyone.