What is an EAP?
An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides independent, practical advice for those unexpected challenges in life. Employees can access free professional support online, via a confidential telephone helpline and, in some cases, via a mobile app.
Having an accessible source of information allows employees to seek help whenever they need it. It’s not only for work-related issues either. Professional advice is available on a range of legal, money, work, family and health issues. This could include problems relating to bereavement, abuse, childcare and financial planning, or just needing someone to talk to when life gets stressful.
It’s rare to go through life without facing some form of unexpected event. Whether it’s a work problem or a personal issue, trying to cope alone can put a strain on a person’s physical and mental health. This can impact on every aspect of life, including how we perform at work. Knowing there’s someone to talk to at the end of a confidential phone line can make a huge positive difference.
Employers have a duty of care towards the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. An EAP helps you to support people through family, money, work and health issues. It shows you value them as a human as well as an employee. Here’s why we believe an Employee Assistance Programme is a worthwhile investment.
The benefits of an Employee Assistance Programme
Free and confidential
Once you have invested in the EAP, employees can access it free of charge. It’s a space to discuss sensitive issues without a colleague overhearing. Or a place to research a subject they aren’t comfortable talking about with family. It’s an outlet to share the burden with someone independent, without fear of a colleague or family member finding out. The service is 100% confidential.
An effective line manager acts when a team member is going through a tough patch. But managers can’t be there to support all the time. What’s more, managers might be looking for advice themselves. An EAP is there whenever someone needs it, not just at work. By talking about issues early on, employees can get professional help quickly so their problem doesn’t escalate.
Professional advice and practical information
An EAP provides a direct line to expert support and trained counsellors. If someone needs legal or financial guidance, they can connect with someone independent and qualified to support. Managers can also access help to coach employees through such difficult situations. You can develop your own people management and leadership skills as well as boost the skills and knowledge of others.
Improves workforce performance
A boost to employee motivation and engagement is perhaps the greatest impact of an Employee Assistance Programme. When employees know their employer genuinely cares about their health and wellbeing, stress-related absence rates fall. Employers also notice a positive impact on absence, staff retention and productivity.
What happens if you don’t have an EAP?
Supporting employee mental health and wellbeing is a key element of effective people management. Employers that lack support in this area typically experience lower staff performance and engagement. It inevitably leads to higher rates of sickness, absence and staff turnover.
Failure to provide adequate support to employees may be a precursor to disciplinary issues or grievances being brought against the employer. These are costly HR challenges most employers would prefer to avoid.
Ask us about our EAP
If you’d like to find out what’s involved in setting up an Employee Assistance Programme for your organisation, please get in touch. Our EAP is delivered in partnership with Wellbeing Solutions Management, who share the same ethics and values as EML. Together we ensure employers and their employees have access to confidential support, counselling and professional advice on a range of personal and work issues.