Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) allow employers to support their employees – and often their employees’ families – through confidential counselling sessions with registered psychologists.
They help employees to deal with work-related and personal issues that may affect workplace attitudes, performance and productivity.
Here are six primary reasons EAP can benefit employees, their managers, their employers and their companies.
Access to an EAP provides a safe, confidential environment to understand and resolve issues that might impact their performance at work. Employees can gain invaluable coping skills and strategies. Even the simple knowledge that they are valued enough to be provided with assistance improves morale
People coping with unresolved issues tend to lose sleep. They also lose concentration; have accidents; over-react and under-perform. Too often, the condition is infectious, spreading resentments and inflating molehills into mountainous problems. Access to an EAP can be the mental equivalent of a flu vaccine, keeping the workplace healthy and happy.
How often do people call in “sick” when they’re under pressure? A lot, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Their study put 30% of absenteeism down to employees’ personal problems. And then there’s the less understood problem of “presentism” – when people drag themselves into work, carrying the burden of untreated physical and mental conditions. Depression, for instance, causes fatigue and irritability, among other things, with predictable consequences for people’s ability to work together. An EAP encourages employees to deal with problems that left untreated, can escalate with tragic consequences.
Research has shown that assistance programs are a form of dispensation – something freely offered to employees – that can significantly reduce WorkCover claims for issues such as work-related stress, accidents etc. And when problems get resolved earlier and outside of the workplace, there is less strain on team leaders, management and HR to try to address them during work hours.
Offering assistance to employees and their families can build loyalty. Employees who feel valued are much less likely to complain and to quit. The pay-off for EAP in reducing hiring and training costs can be significant.
A 2014 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers analysing investment returns found that every dollar spent on creating a mentally healthy workplace returns an expected $2.30 in benefits. Other research puts expected returns of more than 500 per cent.
More than 250 Business and government organisations have taken advantage of Psychology Melbourne's affordable, effective Employee Assistance Programs.