An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is an employer-funded scheme that gives staff the opportunity to contact an independent adviser, by telephone or in person, for confidential help with a range of issues that may be causing them concern.
By helping staff deal with a range of personal problems, whether financial, emotional, mental or physical, EAPs defuse issues that would otherwise adversely affect employee’s performance at work.
Create a happy, healthy workplace
EAPs aren’t only for major difficulties, they are there to support employees’ general wellbeing and bolster their resilience in an increasingly stressful workplace. By providing their workforce with access to EAPs, employers see returns in terms of staff productivity, attendance and an upturn in workplace morale.
Research by Canada Life in 2015 found that employees with access to EAPs were three and a half times more able to cope with the demands of their job. In the same study, the number of employees rating their relationship with their colleagues as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ rose from 46% before using the service to 79% afterwards.
EAPs are rapidly becoming a mainstay of the modern workplace, with employees welcoming the opportunity to take advantage of professional help that makes them feel happier in themselves and more productive in their work.
Key benefits of an EAP for employees:
• It’s convenient. A 24/7 telephone helpline is usually part of the service, making EAPs more accessible than most non-work based services.
• It’s comprehensive. EAPs are there for employees to discuss a wide range of often interrelated issues. For example, if debt worries are having a detrimental effect on your health, your mental wellbeing and your work, an EAP can help you address all aspects of the problem.
• It’s confidential. The professional providing the help is not part of your company, they are a third party provider. So, just like when you visit your GP, any discussions that take place are entirely private and off the record.
Key benefits of an EAP for employers:
• Improve performance. An employee that feels fulfilled in their job and is free from any adverse physical or mental conditions is someone that is able and willing to give 100% of effort to their work.
• Reduce absenteeism. Happier, healthier employees are more motivated and more able to cope with workplace challenges.
• Increase retention. Many people attempt to tackle stress by changing their job. An EAP, on the other hand, helps them deal with the root causes of the stress while building on their existing role.
EAPs are much more than a simple workplace perk. By providing employers with the means to handle serious employee issues that they would otherwise be unable to deal with, they enable strategic interventions that can transform the workplace, at an individual level and at a team or departmental level.