Employee Assistance Program: What it is and the Benefits
The corporate world is evolving and changing at an incredible pace. It is modernizing in such a way that employees are finding it hard to cope up with the pressure which has drained them in the long run.
However, to help employees with all the pressure mentally and physically, organizations are implementing 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 are those which help employees to deal with their personal problems and professional issues which negatively impact their job. It is a counselling and consulting program where employees put forward the problems they are facing.
Assistance can be of various forms like financial help, work relationships, performance booster, mental health issues, help with substance abuse, child and elder care, and the list can go on depending on what the organization decides to include in EAPs.
Why Employee Assistance Programs?
Supporting your employees is always a crucial part if you want to build an influential company culture. And you can enhance your efforts if you can implement EAPs in your organization. The main features of an ideal EAPs are listed below-
Accessibility- EAPs can be accessed online. These programs provide an online platform where employees can log in and get access to various podcasts, videos and interactive programs according to their needs.
Availability- These programs are available to employees 24x7 and their immediate family members who are eligible for the program. Employees can talk with experts through texts, emails almost instantly and get help whenever they want.
Confidential- One of the most essential and crucial elements of these programs is that it keeps 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 it 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. However, if that is something an organization is missing out, then your employees will feel less valued and will try to skip work. No organization wants a situation which will create future problems.
To reduce absenteeism, organizations can implement Employee Assistance Programs where employees can raise their concern. This will not only help automate the process, but it will also help the organization in pinpointing every employee’s concern. Thus, helping them out in every step whenever needed and maintaining their well-being.
2. Increased Productivity
Distraction from personal or professional problems is the primary productivity killers 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 in taking care of all the difficulties they tend to face personally and professionally. 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 for any organization.
On the contrary, if your organization has a working environment where employees are less stressed, then they are more bound to be loyal and have better concentration. There are numerous factors to this and 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 the change in mood and reduction in stress levels, thus affecting other employees as well in a positive manner.
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 which impacts the revenue and market presence in the long run.
However, turnover can be reduced if an organization can seriously heed the problems faced by employees. This is where EAPs come into place to make things easier for organizations. Not only it helps to point out the issues faced by employees but it also provides the necessary solutions. This makes job easier for both the employers and employees. Thus, resulting in reduced turnovers as employees will 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 and all of a sudden their morale and quality of work dropped. If they are struggling to lift up their confidence and morale, then your employees might be facing some significant hurdles in their life.
In such circumstances, EAPs play a significant role in clarifying the problems that your employees might be facing. Once you get a better understanding of their issues with the help of EAPs, you will be able to assist them in solving it. 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 systematic approach.
We will discuss a few points on how an organization can successfully implement an EAP smoothly.
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 formulate a working and easy to understand design of how the program needs to be. Set targets and goals which 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 gradually maximize the effectiveness of the program by bringing necessary changes with a planned structure.
Furthermore, the management will have a thorough idea about how the program will properly 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. Which is why budgeting and carefully adopting EAPs under the budget is very crucial. Because as an organization, you might want to provide all the necessary assistance to your employees without burning a big hole in the company’s yearly budget.
3. Select the Vendor
One of the most important factors while implementing an EAP is selecting the right vendor which will suit your organization. There are numerous 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 basic 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 initially started from. Modernization and changes will be constantly made to make the program more effective. Now with a program that uses the outdated services will prove out to be a liability.
However, if your EAP allows flexibility then 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 formally introducing it to your employees. Once employees get the overall framework of what an EAP consists of, make them understand the benefits it can bring in 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 fully understand EAPs and make full use of it for their own 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. At the end of the day, the workspace should be a place where every employee feels at home and look forward to being their best.