Learning about Employee Assistance Programs
Employee assistance programs improve wellness in and outside work
Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, are fantastic tools that offer employees confidential access to resources to support them with work and nonwork-related topics. Over the last few years, the number of employers offering EAPs to their employees has risen. An employee benefits survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management found that 79% of surveyed employers reported offering an EAP.
All employees face personal problems and challenging responsibilities at some point in their lives. We’re human, after all. It is not always possible for employees to forget their personal issues and problems until they punch out for the day. Offering an EAP can give employees the tools to work through these tough times.
Not all EAPs are the same, and the offerings may vary from program to program or employer to employer. For example, The Wright Center’s EAP for employees includes:
- Counseling services for work and personal topics, including relationship/marriage issues, parenting issues, grief, stress management, emotional distress or trauma, financial or legal issues, wellness and nutrition, workplace changes, or substance abuse.
- Referrals to specialized professionals.
- Financial and legal consultations.
- Child and elder care resources.
- Health advocacy and care guides.
- Wellness coaches.
- Virtual concierge to assist with research, referrals, or information on any topic.
- Online discount programs from auto rentals to zoo admissions.
For employees needing more than short-term counseling or sporadic assistance, EAPs also serve as the doorway to longer-term resources based on need. The benefits and wellness components employees are able to take advantage of through this confidential employer benefits service, at no additional cost to them, include:
- Access to resources that would normally be too time-consuming and expensive for employees to identify, research, and receive independently.
- Support and encouragement to seek help with challenges.
- A reduction in the stigma associated with certain problems as employees are able to seek care on their own, confidentially.
- Ability to deal with workplace-related or sensitive issues without co-workers or managers being in the know.
- Improvement in overall well-being.
- Promotion of work-life balance.
EAPs don’t just benefit the employees who utilize them. Employers often see a return on their investment with a reduction in stress and personal distractions within their workforce. That alone can lead to a decrease in attendance issues, a reduction in employee accidents and workers’ compensation claims, an increase in employee retention, improved employee morale, and positive impacts on productivity and performance.
Additionally, EAPs can significantly reduce medical costs arising from early identification and treatment of individual mental health and substance misuse issues. At times, EAP counselors may even be available on-site to employees during times of tragedy in the workplace.
So, the next time you see an EAP poster in a break room or get an email promoting The Wright Center’s program, make note of the phone number or website. You don’t want to miss out on these valuable benefits.
Nicole Miller, MBA
Director, Compensation & Benefits
The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education