With challenges and uncertainty taking place in the UK and across the globe, your employees may well be feeling anxious.
The stress of worrying may impact your employees’ mental health. Stress and poor mental health can lead to low retention rates, absence and performance with your employees.
Companies that offer an employee assistance programme (EAP) can tackle this issue head-on. Implementing an EAP in your business could see higher levels of employee productivity. You could also reap the benefits of overall retention rate improvement because you are prioritising your employee's well-being and happiness.
For more information on how you can utilise an employee assistance programme, get in touch with one of our experts on 0800 470 2818.
What is an Employee assistance programme?
An employee assistance programme, or EAP service, is a benefit that you can offer your employees. These programmes tend to offer practical support and advice, including:
- Face-to-face counselling.
- Short-term or long-term counselling
- Online counselling.
- Over-the-phone counselling.
These options could help many employees deal with work-related issues and reduce stress. Employee assistance programmes are designed to help employers boost the well-being and productivity of their employees.
Why are EAP services important?
Providing EAP counselling services may help you to foster a better and overall happier workplace. An EAP can help your employees in dealing with a range of topics and personal issues that might start affecting work. This includes physical health, mental health and well-being.
Employee assistance programmes aren't limited to only this, they can be used for a multitude of issues such as,
- In conflict management if an employee or employer finds themselves in a situation that they don't want to escalate. They can use an employee assistance program to receive support on what they should do, or how to manage the situation with their co-worker.
- Caregiving support, an employee assistance programme can help employees with support when they are caring for their loved ones. Whether that is for child care or elder care, EAPs can put the employee in contact with the right people for support or advice
Implementing an employee assistance program will have several benefits for not only you, but also your employees. We've highlighted some of the main ones below:
Improve employee retention
EAP providers are there to support your employee's overall health and well-being. This support and counselling can result in your employees feeling more valued and supported, thus becoming more satisfied with their work and your business.
This helps with your employee retention and can help be a unique selling point for you to advertise to potential employees when you are recruiting.
Improves engagement and workplace productivity
By utilising an employee assistance programme, employers can help boost the engagement and productivity of their employees.
This is because they are able to offer their employees support outside of the workplace. Leading to them being less distracted or stressed.
Offering this support also means that employees will likely take fewer absences or sick days.
Encourage a positive work environment
As most EAPs will help your employees by providing them with support and advice. They can help employees develop a better work-life balance, and make them more relaxed and energised at work.
EAPs can foster a better and positive work environment in the office, as they can give employees an outlet and somewhere to receive the support they need.
Whichever way your employee decides to use the employee assistance programme it will remain confidential.
Free access to mental health counselling
EAPs offer confidential accredited counsellors, some of which an employee might have to wait months for outside of using an EAP service.
Employees have access to mental health experts that can help them find coping strategies, cope with mental health issues, and process emotions in a non-judgemental and safe environment.
Bereavement and trauma counselling can also be offered through EAP programs. EAPs provide your employees with access to specialist counselling that helps employees' well-being. This service will equip your employees with the tools to cope with trauma and give them somewhere they can speak freely.
Consumer rights and legal advice
Employees can utilise an employee assistance programme (EAP) provider to get advice when it comes to their consumer rights.
This could be anything, such as:
- Needing help getting a refund when a wedding or large event has been postponed (or cancelled).
- If an employee needs assistance while they are going through a court case for divorce or if they have a custody issue.
As we've established, Employee assistance programmes can offer your employees well-being support. The well-being of your employees can have a knock-on effect on your business and the employee's personal life.
Whether this be down to employees having low morale, needing support accessing treatments at the hospital, or how to adapt a habit that the employee would like to kick.
Child care and elder care support
Whether your employee is a new parent, or if they're caring for an elderly member of their family. They can be subject to additional stresses, this could be from the cost of care or other family challenges.
EAPs can offer support in these areas, or they can offer referral services and send your employees to the right place for additional support.
How to start using EAP services
There are a few ways that an employer can implement an EAP into your business. But there are a few steps that should be taken first.
Step 1: Identify what your employees need or want out of an EAP
This is an important step, as employers pay for the service, you want to be sure that it will be beneficial to your employees.
Send out a survey to your employees and spot any common themes in their answers. For example, if they have a poor work-life balance, and cite mental health support.
You can include mental health and counselling in your EAP priorities.
Step 2: Decide how you want to offer your EAP
At this stage, you should decide whether you want to work with an outsourced company or an in-house company and whether you want the EAP to be on-site or off-site.
When you use an in-house provider you will have a bit more control over what's provided in the EAP. With this option, you can better align the service with your company goals and employee needs.
Step 3: Research a provider
Once you've decided which type of EAP benefits you want to offer your employee, you should then start to research different providers.
When reaching out to potential providers, let them know what it is you want out of the EAP and what your budget is. Once you've narrowed down your selection, weigh the pros and cons of each and then make your final decision.
Step 4: Continuously evaluate your EAP
Once you've got your employee assistance programme service in place, you should continuously evaluate your EAP and ensure that it's still working for your business.
You can evaluate its success (or failure) by gathering feedback from your employees, and by asking the EAP provider for overall data feedback.
This won't include anything personal to your employees but will give employers insights into how the service is being used. If you start to notice that the service isn't being used, you can speak to your employees to get an understanding of how the service can be adapted to suit their needs.
Need Expert Support?
We offer 24/7 counselling, critical incident advice and telephone support to over fifteen million employees across the UK. Our EAP programme counselling has moved away from the traditional passive model. We shifted from reactive care to proactive and interventional EAP services for employees.
Croner has a team of award-winning HR consultants who are specialists in their field. We've been helping businesses for over 80 years and our advice line is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Why not speak to a Croner expert on 0800 470 2818.
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