What are employee assistance programmes?
Employee assistance programmes (EAP) are an employee benefit that provides confidential access to an external advisory service to help with personal issues impacting health and wellbeing.
Support may be delivered via a combination of online or app-based self-help resources, telephone or email helplines, and face-to-face sessions.
EAPs often provide 24-hour access and typically include assessment, short-term counselling, and referral services for employees and their immediate families.
Why are employee assistance programmes important?
EAPs are a confidential third-party service that is directly accessible to employees without them needing to inform their employer.
By ensuring employee privacy, concerns over perceived ‘weakness’ and consequent career-limiting stigma are greatly reduced.
This significantly lowers the barriers for help-seeking, thereby encouraging employees to tackle their wellbeing issues at the earliest possible opportunity.
Addressing employee fears relating to disclosure is particularly important, as many serious wellbeing issues, particularly those relating to mental health, are notorious for commonly being effectively concealed (eg ‘hidden depression’, ‘masked depression, ‘smiling depression‘) by apparently high-functioning employees. Such a lack of transparency often makes it extremely difficult for even the most engaged employer to be aware that a problem exists at all.
In addition to directly benefiting employees, the provision of such support offers an excellent return-on-investment (ROI) in terms of mitigating against a number of significant business risks:
How can we help you with employee assistance programmes?
We regularly evaluate the costs and benefits offered by a wide range of EAP providers, so are well placed to assist you in finding the most appropriate solution to meet the specific needs of your workforce.