Why Is Everyone Talking About Employee Assistance Programmes?

Employee Assistance Programmes

February 12th, 2020   |   Updated on June 29th, 2022

You’ve probably seen or heard the term “employee assistance programme” bandied about on quite a few occasions, but whether you actually know what it means could be a different matter entirely.

You should change that, as the scheme could one day save you or your firm from lost productivity.

An employee assistance programme (EAP) is a benefit that lets workers confidentially receive support for various personal needs – including professional, financial, legal and emotional.

However, this only scrapes the surface of why both employers and employees still mention them.

EAPs Offer Confidential Assistance

An embattled employee would not be under any obligation to accept help from an EAP put in place by their employer.

Nonetheless, they could feel more inclined to do so upon realising that, as they contact professionals through the EAP, the entire process will remain confidential.

This is no small boon – as it means that, if third parties are involved in the problematic situation, they will not retaliate against the employee or any others at the company, as The Balance Careers explains.

Therefore, the interests of both the worker and their company are protected.

EAPs Are Usually Offered By Specialist, Third-party Providers

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Another reason why users can feel reassured about the EAP’s confidentiality is that, typically, the programme will be run by a third-party company, not the employee’s employer.

As a result, the worker can tap into a wealth of expertise and resources beyond the employer’s grasp.

An employer whose budget is strained can take comfort in a third-party EAP’s ability to relieve the burden without sacrificing the quality of advice and care on offer.

Besides, a manager attempting to mediate the situation personally would run personal risks that an EAP could otherwise help prevent.

Mental Illness Is An Invisible Killer

As mental illness cannot be clearly seen, its ongoing effect on workers’ misfortunes can too easily be underestimated.

REBA points out that stress can repress the immune system and, hence, give rise to various illnesses. Fortunately, though, it’s not employers who seem to be underestimating…

According to a recent survey reported by Workplace Insight, 57% of employers have a specific strategy for tackling mental health.

That figure is significantly higher than the 19% with a strategy for cancer, 13% for heart and cardiovascular problems and 24% for musculoskeletal conditions.

Naturally, as mental conditions can have unfortunate repercussions for physical health, too, it’s understandable why employers are gearing themselves up to tackle various facets of wellness.

EAPs Can Help With A Wide Range Of Dilemmas

For employers, another major selling point of EAPs is how cost-effective they are to offer.

Any costs that the company spends on the EAP can be at least partially offset by productivity gains. Furthermore, employees can generally use EAPs at no charge to themselves.

This is heartening when you consider the broad variety of health problems with which EAPs can help.

No problem is too small for an EAP from a company like LifeWorks, which can even assist with an issue as serious as domestic violence.