Employee Assistance Program: What it is and the Benefits
The corporate world is evolving and changing at an incredible pace. It is modernizing so that employees are finding it hard to cope with the pressure that has drained them in the long run.
To help employees with all the pressure, organizations can install employee assistance programs. Such programs have helped organizations to reduce turnover rates and increase productivity as a whole.
What are Employee Assistance Programs or EAPs?
Employee Assistance Programs help employees deal with their problems that impact their job. It is a counseling and consulting program where employees put forward the problems they are facing.
Assistance can be of various forms like-
Improving work relationships
Boost in performance
Mental health issues
Help with substance abuse, child and elder care
Why Employee Assistance Programs?
Supporting your employees is always a crucial part of building an influential company culture. And you can enhance your efforts if you can install EAPs in your organization. The main features of an ideal EAPs are below-
Accessibility- EAPs can be accessed online. These programs provide an online platform where employees can log in and access various podcasts, videos, and interactive programs according to their needs.
Availability- These programs are available to employees 24x7 and their immediate family members. The family members need to be eligible for the program. Employees can talk with experts through texts, emails and get help whenever they want.
Confidential- One of the most essential elements of these programs is keeping your employees anonymous. No person will be able to breach any information about others which is always a driving factor of any program.
Secure- Anonymity is what people want, and this program makes sure that everyone stays anonymous. This increases the credibility of the program, and employees are more driven towards using such programs.
Some Stats you might want to consider
45% improvement was seen in the work-life management of employees after implementation EAPs.
86% of the workforce reported of having a positive impact of their wellbeing after the introduction of EAPs.
54% of the employees in the United States has access to EAPs.
78% of employers were offering EAPs to their employees according to a report by SHRM in 2018.
According to EAPA, 95% of companies with more than 5000 employees have EAPs in the organization
Benefits of Employee Assistance Programs
1. Reduced Absenteeism
The well-being of employees should always be a prime focus of organizations. But if that is something an organization is missing out on, your employees will feel less valued and try to skip work. No organization wants a situation that will create future problems.
To reduce absenteeism, organizations can install Employee Assistance Programs where employees can raise their concerns. This will help automate the process and help the organization pinpoint every employee’s concern. Thus, helping them out in every step whenever needed and maintaining their wellbeing.
2. Increased Productivity
Distraction from personal or professional problems is the primary productivity killer of your employees. They become less motivated and creative at work which impedes the flow of work.
However, to increase the productivity of employees, an organization can opt for EAPs. These programs help an employee take care of all the difficulties they face. Be it the challenges at work, financial help, or conflicts within the workspace. Thus, reducing unnecessary distractions and helping them focus more on their jobs.
3. Positive work environment
A working environment where employees are stressed is not a healthy environment. Productivity drops, and employees tend to leave organizations with such environments, which is never a good sign.
But employees in a less stressful working environment are more loyal and have better concentration. There are many factors to this. One such factor is the implementation of Employee Assistance Programs.
These programs assist a troubling employee by providing support with the issues that they are facing. This results in a change in mood and a reduction in stress levels, thus having positive affect.
4. Less turnover
Turnover has always posed a significant threat to organizations in the corporate world. It costs the company a considerable amount of money, impacting the revenue and market presence in the long run.
Heeding onto the employees' problem can reduce turnover. This is where EAPs come into place to make things easier for organizations. It helps to point out the issues faced by employees, but it also provides the necessary solutions. This makes the job easier for both employers and employees.
Thus, resulting in reduced turnovers as employees feel valued that the organization is taking the essential steps to deal with the problems.
5. Improves Morale
You might have employees in your organization who performed well. But there is a significant drop in their morale and quality of work. If they are struggling to lift their confidence and morale, then your employees might be facing some significant hurdles in their life.
EAPs play a significant role in clarifying the problems that your employees might be facing in such circumstances.
Once you get a better understanding of their issues with the help of EAPs, you will assist them in solving them. This not only improves your employees’ morale, but it also increases their working capabilities.
Implementation of Employee Assistance Programs
Employee Assistance Programs are quite complicated if you do not have the root knowledge of how it works. And implementation is even harder if there a lack of a systematic approach.
We will discuss a few points on how an organization can install an EAP.
1. Plan the Structure
A rigid and firm foundation of any building is their stronghold, and in the very same way, a proper structure for your EAP will prove to be vital.
Before setting out to implement an EAP, plan a working and easy-to-understand design of how the program needs to be. Try to set targets and goals you want to achieve with EAPs in the organization.
Once everything is set with a clear sight of the objectives, you will find it much easier to onboard EAPs without any hassle. And the organization will be able to maximize the program's effectiveness by bringing necessary changes with a planned structure.
Furthermore, the management will have a thorough idea about how the program will work when they stick with the prompt and firm action plan.
2. Mind the Budget
Employee Assistance Programs are available for any business size. Be it the big corporations or small businesses. But the major difference comes when the budget plays its role in adopting the program.
Big corporations might go for lucrative EAPs, but that option gets diminished for small businesses. This is why adopting EAPs under the budget is very crucial. You might want to provide all the necessary assistance to your employees without burning a big hole in the yearly budget.
3. Select the Vendor
One of the most important factors while implementing an EAP is selecting the right vendor to suit your organization. There are many vendors in the market, but which one will fit best for the organization depends on what you need.
While choosing the vendor, you can look out for certain parameters like-
Years of service, experience, and genuine testimonials.
Cost of the vendor within your budget.
Scope of services covered by the EAP.
Availability of services 24x7.
The parameters can differ according to organizational needs. But do shortlist all the necessities so that the EAP vendor covers all your areas of interest.
The flexibility of a program makes them more successful and sustainable in the long run.
What does flexibility signify when implementing an EAP?
Well, the answer is simple. You cannot expect a program to run with the solutions you started from. Modernization and changes will be made to make the program more effective. Now with a program that uses outdated services will prove out to be a liability.
But, if your EAP allows flexibility, you can make periodic changes and include services with the changing trend. Making an EAP program much effective and helpful to the organization in the long run.
5. Introduction and Employees understanding of the Program
The implementation of EAP will not be complete if you miss out on the process of introducing it to your employees. Once employees get the framework of what an EAP consists of, make them understand the benefits it can bring to their lives.
Make sure to conduct an FAQ session where employees can raise questions and doubts about EAP. Have an expert panel ready to answer any questions so that employees can understand EAPs and make full use of them for their benefits.
Summing it up
The program will take time to become successful within the organization. But it is also an asset that helps employees deal with their everyday problems that provide an opportunity to boost their morale and productivity. The workspace should be a place where every employee feels at home and look forward to being their best.