Written by Kate Scott | 15th September 2022
Sometimes the pressures of work life and home life can be overwhelming. When this happens, it’s good to know that you have a resource you can rely on.
An employee assistance programme, or EAP, will help support your employees by offering proactive guidance or advice around issues that might be affecting their mental health, wellbeing or performance at work.
Here are five reasons why you should think about investing in an Employee Assistance Programme:
- Identify areas affecting employee performance
If you pick up on an employee who is not performing as well as they usually do, signposting them to an Employee Assistance Programme can help you understand the reason why their performance is slipping and the ways you might be able to help them.
Offering them this support in the first instance ensures you don’t treat them unfairly, by giving them a warning or disciplining them without seeing the full picture.
Many people think that Employee Assistance Programmes are just for those facing work related stress or mental health issues. However, they can also assist employees who are struggling with anxiety, depression, parental or caregiver burnout, relationship issues, bereavement or financial problems.
An Employee Assistance Programme can give your team access to fully-qualified practitioners, in counselling or psychotherapy as well as practical advice.
- Happier, more productive employees
Employees who are dealing with personal, financial or mental health issues are unlikely to be able to work to the best of their abilities. With help available via an Employee Assistance Programme, it shows employees that the company they work for values their wellbeing.
And in a company that puts employee wellbeing at the core of its workplace culture, employees are not only happier at work but should be more productive as a result of feeling valued.
This is important as poor mental health is costing UK employers up to £56 billion a year, and a recent survey from Deloitte, found that 28% of people are planning to leave their jobs this year because of poor mental health.
- Increase employee engagement
As well as boosting productivity, Employee Assistance Programmes have the potential to improve employee engagement. With these services helping employees to manage personal issues, stress and anxiety, they will be more able to focus on their work and deliver results.
When employees are motivated, this tends to have a knock-on effect on the team around them. Employees supported by an Employee Assistance Programme may also be more proactive at supporting others. This in turn creates stronger relationships between colleagues and a more positive workplace culture.
- Reduce employee absence
By offering an Employee Assistance Programme, employees can get support at the first sign of an issue – either being referred by their manager or self-referred to the service. This can prevent the build-up of stress and potentially stop the employee taking a leave of absence.
It goes without saying that if your staff are feeling well, there will be a reduction in the amount of days they need to take off with illness. Figures show that having an Employee Assistance Programme in place can cut absence by 45%.
- Recruit and retain talent
More and more employees are recognising that a company’s culture should be supportive of mental health and this is influencing their decision to stay within a company.
Candidates are increasingly valuing company culture as key criteria for accepting, or even applying for a position. Having an Employee Assistance Programme can be a valuable tool to help you recruit and retain the best talent. Not only is it solid evidence that your business is a great place to work but also that you care about your employees and their welfare.
Remember to communicate with your employees
To raise awareness of your Employee Assistance Programme, you should encourage line managers to recommend the service to employees and ensure that information about it is always accessible, especially at events such as inductions, or if your company goes through an organisational change.
Remember that some employees may be reluctant to use Employee Assistance Programmes due to fear of stigma or lack of understanding about how it works. To help, you need to make sure employees know how to access this resource, and that it provides them with free and totally confidential access to support if they need advice, or just someone to talk to.
If you’d like to offer an Employee Assistance Programme but don’t know where to begin, get in touch with our team for advice at [email protected].