Importance of EAP’s in the Modern Workforce
Now, more than ever, employers are implementing Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to provide additional levels of support for their employees in ways that they may not be able to on their own. These programs are key as they not only benefit employees, but also the employer. Kathleen Crowley, EAP Clinical Supervisor with Adventist HealthCare LifeWork Strategies, shares the importance of EAP programs and how they have become a popular benefit for companies.
By the Numbers
The overall goal of EAPs is to help individuals find and maintain balance in both their professional and personal lives. LifeWork Strategies EAP programs provide assistance to employees and their family members through two main components: clinical mental health support and work-life services. Short-term clinical mental health counseling through EAPs have shown proven results. According to the 2020 Annual Report for the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS), organizations found significant improvements in presenteeism, work engagement, workplace distress, work absenteeism and overall life satisfaction when employees had access to EAP counseling. The report discovered that prior to receiving counseling, the average employee had 63 hours of lost productivity the month before they began receiving treatment. Post counseling, productivity increased by more than 3 workdays a month.
Additionally, organizations that offered EAP programs saved their company anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500 per employee depending on the company size, due to documented improvements in presenteeism and far less from reduced absenteeism
As a result, EAPs are able to give employees who are having trouble maintaining focus at work due to an issue either at home or in the workplace, the ability to refocus on after receiving practical solutions-based short-term care.
EAP’s and COVID-19
In March 2020, many employees were sent home for months and did not have an idea of a potential return date, which resulted in increased levels of stress, anxiety and worry among employee populations. The unknown nature of the pandemic allowed employers to see the true benefit of EAPs in real-time, as their entire workforce experienced their own hardships. From lack of social interactions, due to living alone or being challenged to balance their own work, family and child’s school all at once, employees suffered
Prior to the start of the first COVID-19 surge, Adventist HealthCare LifeWork Strategies EAP services were not offered virtually. However, “within 24 hours, we were able to transition our EAP to deliver virtual counseling at the beginning of the first surge,” says Kathleen. “We anticipated a need for virtual support and offered support groups and have developed timely and relevant webinars on topics such as ‘Resiliency’ and ’Burnout’ and the need for ‘Decompression’ for both leaders and their employees. In order to empower workforce leaders, who were force to make difficult decisions this past year, we provided seminars such as “Leading Through Change” and consultations. We’ve also supported companies through their reduction in workforce, employee deaths and the on-going trauma from COVID-19 and even the return to work. To address the needs of the all-important front-line workers, we created webinars targeted toward specific audiences like nurses and doctors who suffer higher rates of stress, but seek mental health the least,” she adds.
Despite the increase in popularity, EAP programs still need to be visible to employees. In order to encourage utilization among clients, LifeWork Strategies Account Managers, in tandem with their clients, craft active advertising and communications plans, tailored to the individual employee population, to proactively address common workforce issues and provide solutions on how their EAP benefit can help.
Due to the successful transition to all virtual offerings at the start of the pandemic, LifeWork Strategies was able to continue to communicate and provide the necessary support for employees and supply access to life-changing resources to those who were struggling. “Our ability to adapt and develop strategic plans for businesses reinforces the importance of providing employees access to EAP programs in stressful and uncertain situations. Meeting employees where they are plays a key role in our EAP,” explains Kathleen. “Our high-touch programs, even virtually, aim to serve the needs of the whole employee by providing services that help to manage daily live balance, mental health counseling and management consults.” Through online workshops, seminars, support groups and counseling, employees gain access to a host of services all part of LifeWork Strategies EAP.