Employee Assistance Programs Vital for Retention and Engagement

Nearly 80% of employers offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) because they are so effective for retention and engagement. If you want to establish one at your organization, or just want to spruce it up a bit, read on.


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What Is an EAP?

EAPs offer employees and their family members a variety of benefits that may or may not be work-related. They offer services that help employees with their physical, mental, and financial wellness. They typically offer things like counseling services for relationships and/or substance abuse, meditation and yoga services, anonymous hotlines to call 24/7, financial planning and wellness services, etc.

The main goal of EAPs is to increase employee productivity and engagement rates and to boost overall organizational performance.

Benefits of EAPs

  • Employees and their families get the help they need when they need it on a confidential basis at significantly lower costs or for free.
  • Rates for depression and chronic illnesses decrease in workplaces where EAPs are used the most.
  • Workplaces overall become healthier and happier, which leads to larger profit margins and happier customers.
  • Employees’ performance and productivity rates increase by a wide margin, and they are less likely to call in sick or take additional time off.
  • Organizations save on costs associated with insurance claims, absenteeism, and presenteeism.

(Source: The Employee Assistance Trade Association)

Best Practices for Creating an Effective EAP

Shockingly, although a majority of employers offer EAPs, less than 5% of those employees who have access to EAPs use them. So, a majority of EAPs end up becoming costly for organizations and ineffective, even if they’re made up of all the most important offerings and services.

Here are some best practices you’ll want to adopt or apply if you want your EAP to remain effective.

Make a Business Case for Your EAP

All programs affiliated with an organization must always have strong executive buy-in if they’re going to be successfully developed, promoted, and implemented. And the best way to gain executive buy-in for your EAP is to make a business case for it.

Organize data and information that will show your executives and management teams exactly how your EAP will save your organization or department money, increase profits, etc. Not only will this allow you to gain executive buy-in to promote your program, but it will also allow you to define clear metrics of success and better determine what offerings and services your program should consist of as you develop it.

Know EAP-Related Legal Concerns and Issues

Along with developing a policy for your EAP, you’ll need to know state-level, federal, and even global or national guidelines required of your EAP as you develop it. You’ll need to abide by all necessary legal and regulatory compliance laws and know where and when they are applicable.

And you’ll need to know how you’re going to retain your EAP’s quality, anonymity, and security (especially for online platforms that handle sensitive personal data and information). This need is why most organizations hire a third-party EAP vendor or provider.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, which will cover additional best practices to adopt or apply if you want your EAP to remain effective.

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