The Benefits of Employee Assistance Programs for Businesses

EAPs Help Businesses Work Better 

Benefits of Employee Assistance ProgramsEmployee assistance programs (EAPs) are offered by many employers looking to provide their employees assistance with a wide range of issues.  These issues can personal or work-related, but they impact job performance, health, and overall well-being.  Employee assistance programs typically provide counseling, support, and additional resources to employees on a confidential basis.  They can cover topics such as substance abuse, major life events, occupational stress, financial concerns, family concerns, work relationships, emotional stress, and more.  Employees are offered these services for free, paid for by the employer, but plans do vary.

No matter the industry or the job, employees are all human.  They face personal and work-related stresses that can affect them in different ways.  EAPs are designed to help reduce those stresses.  Not only are employee assistance programs great for employees, but they are also beneficial to businesses.

Reduced Turnover and Absenteeism

When employees go through personal issues, they might need to take some time off.  While this is acceptable and understandable, not being at work does cost a business money.  Depending on the situation, employees can miss many days or weeks of work.  By providing an employee assistance program, businesses can reduce the amount of days missed by helping the employee with their personal issues sooner and more efficiently.

When work-related issues escalate, it could result in increased turnover.  Businesses spend a lot of money training and hiring, so turnover is not good.  Employee assistance programs can help with mitigating work-related issues and reduce employee turnover.  Some human resources departments will refer employees to their employee assistance program if they are having work-related problems to keep the employee’s issues confidential.

An example of this was the active care initiative introduced by a key UK EAP provider Health Assured. They realised most EAP initiatives were reactive, coming when a stress related absence had become entrenched.  They sought to revolutionise EAP provision by actively intervening from the very first day of a stress related absence and have made this commitment to activecare a key plank of their employment assistance programmes. Given stress is the main cause of long term absence from work in the UK and the second main reason for short term absences it made perfect sense to get the most comprehensive and sensitive support possible to workers from day one. 

Increased Productivity

Happy employees are productive employees.  When employees are dealing with personal issues, they tend to be less productive.  Less productivity leads to lost money for businesses.  Stress is a big factor in the loss of productivity.  EAPs can help employees deal with stress from work-related or personal/emotional issues.  By providing an outlet for an employee to get help, businesses can make sure everyone is being as productive as they should be and keeping costs in check.

Decreased Health Costs

Health care costs are a very big expense for many businesses.  When employers provide a health care plan, they are typically being charged a large premium to do so.  Stress, substance abuse, and other health concerns can lead to higher medical costs for all businesses.  Since EAPs are shown to help reduce these problems with employees, they in turn help reduce overall healthcare costs for businesses.  Managing healthcare costs allow businesses to provide better coverage for their employees and attract high-end talent with their benefits package.

Employee assistance programs have benefits to both employees and businesses.  While they do cost money to setup and run, they have shown to be effective in helping employees through hard times, both personal and work-related.  The biggest obstacle for most businesses is how they get their employees to use and trust the service.  A fully functioning and frequently used employee assistance program will save a business money overall and keep the employees happy, healthy, and productive.

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