Top 3 Myths About Employee Assistance Programs
Tragic events can happen to anybody; to ourselves, our friends, our family, our children or our colleagues. It is reassuring to know that there is a system in place to help and overcome those difficult times.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provides a confidential and voluntary consultation support to employees and their families. It is completely confidential within the limits of the law. The program can be initiated over the phone, by personal appointment or online and self-guided resources.
Today the services are very comprehensive and extended to:
• Personal Health and Mental Issues
• Personal, Family and Relationship Consultations
• Legal Advice and Financial Guidance
• Workplace Challenges including Conflict, Bullying, and Harassment
• Career Planning
• Addictions including alcohol, drugs, other addictions and post-recovery support.
The main goal for the program is not to punish employees but rather to:
• Encourage them to receive services needed to deal with personal issues
• Provide advice and consultation to managers and supervisors
• Promote healthy work-personal life balance
• Maintain and promote a positive work environment
• Increase employee engagement.
Today, employers explain EAP is a proactive, preventive effort to help employees identify and resolve personal issues before they have serious medical, family, and/or workplace consequences. The program also provides advice and consultation to managers, supervisors and plan administrators to spot performance and morale issues when they occur, so the company can address the situation appropriately.
Here are some of the most common questions and comments made by Human Resources and Finance Managers, and business owners regarding to Employee Assistance Programs.
1.Does EAP increase company health care costs?
Contrary to popular belief, EAP actually Reduces Company Costs.
According to Davidson Trahaire Corpsych, with help from EAP, it is possible to increase employee productivity and happiness and still reduce company costs. The company did a survey in 2013 with 4,707 EAP user companies both before and after they had accessed EAP services.
The results determined that;
• The average Return on Investment (ROI) due to improvements in employee productivity was around $9,800 per employee per annum,
• ROI due to reduced absenteeism was about $280 per employee per annum. In total, the ROI per employee was more than $10,000.
Morneau Shepell also looked at EAP ROI in 2011. According to the study EAP helps with a 25% reduction in health-related lost productivity costs for employers, providing an $8 return on every dollar invested.
2.It would be great to have EAP but, it is difficult to get everyone on board.
According to Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year, it is expected that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health or addiction problem. EAP can always provide professional assistance and guidance to employees. The program is very beneficial because it increases work morale, employee productivity and harmonized work environment while reducing absenteeism, turnover, and conflicts. If employees have access to counseling and support, everyone wins!
In addition, researchers found that EAP lowers sick days and disability claims, and increases work morale and productivity. For companies, the best scenario is to be proactive and provide access to such services like EAP.
3.Implementing an employee assistance program can be costly
The cost of EAP is negligible compared to the loss of productivity and performance in your organization. Like everything, of course, there are costs associated with implementing EAP, however supporting employees with work-personal life issues; lowering company turnover and absenteeism rate doesn’t cost that much. Right now in BC, the average cost of EAP is $5.00 per employee per month, and the cost varies depending on the size of your company.
As being the decision makers, you can promote the well-being of your employees in a truly confidential and professional manner. If you and your employees have questions, EAP has the answers!
Before making your final decision, it is better to spend some time and do your own research. However, if you don't have the time or experience to find the best possible options, then contacting an Independent Financial Advisor can make things easier for you. With the guidance, you can make your decision with confidence.