EAPs: What They Are and 3 Benefits of Offering Them
What is an EAP?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems, as well as their spouses and dependents. EAPs were first offered in the late 1940s to address how the misuse of alcohol could negatively impact productivity and performance. Over the years, they’ve expanded to support a wide range of mental and emotional well-being issues, such as health, caregiving, legal guidance, and financial services.
In addition to being accessible by employees directly, they can also provide organizational leaders with the tools to address these concerns themselves in the workplace. EAPs can also help with preventing and addressing emergency response situations, such as workplace violence or trauma. EAPs are usually offered at little to no cost to employees. Employers work with either internal or external providers to ensure employees have access to a variety of programs.
What can my EAP include?
- Health – This can include support for mental health disorders, crisis intervention, stress management, substance abuse and addictions, fitness and nutrition guidance, and more.
- Family – Marriage and family counseling, divorce and adoption support, pet, elder and childcare
- Legal and Financial Services – Legal guidance, loan consolidation, budgeting techniques, debt repayment, first–time homeownership support and other financial planning can be offered through an EAP.
- Career and Professional Development – EAPs can also provide coaching and other professional skill-building programs, career guidance, conflict resolution and managing relationships, career transition support, and assistance with travel plans.
What are the benefits?
Employee Assistance Programs are voluntary, confidential programs that help employees work through various life challenges that may be negatively impacting their performance and ultimately, organizational success. Many times, the services are offered through phone or video consultations, unlimited access to resources and tools online, as well as face-to-face meetings as needed. The three biggest reasons to offer EAPs are:
- Increased productivity– Employees that are stressed about personal problems are less focused and more likely to call out or injure themselves in the workplace. Organizations that offer well-rounded EAPs have higher productivity rates than those that do not.
- Greater employee retention– Employees that feel satisfied and taken care of are more likely to stay with a company long-term. In this era of “The Great Resignation,” where employers need to be strategic about their employee benefits offerings, EAPs are a good option
- Affordability– For employers, EAPs can cost as little as $.75 per employee per month, depending on the program’s offerings. In addition to their low cost, EAPs can save employers money in the long run with fewer accidents, health care claims and sick time.
Now more than ever, employers have an obligation to support their employees, both during and outside of work hours. EAPs can be a cost-effective, integral piece of an overall wellness program and can help organizations remain competitive. At Exude, our preferred partner is FirstCall, an innovative, full-service employee assistance organization that offers a wide range of counseling, wellness, and other services to help client organizations achieve their strategic goals. FirstCall is a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of Main Line Health System, making it convenient for many in the Greater Philadelphia region. Additionally, traditional EAPs were only reserved for larger employers but a partnership with FirstCall can be offered to groups of any size, and discounted pricing is available through Exude.
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