What is EAP?
There are thousands of acronyms for us all the remember in the workplace, however there is one that doesn’t seem to have enough awareness around it. We think it’s one of the most important ones for you to know as well.
Studies show that only 14% of employees are satisfied with their jobs, an overwhelming 71% per cent are not engaged and as many as 15 per cent are actively disengaged (Gallup, 2017), and yet only 50% of executives know how to tackle the issue of engagement (Deloitte Review, 2015).
So each year, workplace stress is costing the Australian economy an estimated $10.11 billion (Safe Work Australia, 2013) while mental health issues costing businesses almost $60 billion (National Mental Health Commission, 2016).
The impact of a successful EAP on average can be calculated as between $3 and $10 for every dollar spent on EAP (EASAN Research, 2009).
Employee Assistance Program
An employee assistance program (EAP) is an employee benefit program that assists employees with personal problems and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. EAPs generally offer free and confidential assessments, short-term counselling, referrals, and follow-up services for employees and their household members. (Wikipedia.org)
EAP services is a valued employee benefit for organisations to ensure professional proactive support is provided to their employees to support the wellbeing and performance in work and in life
It can cover any issues relating to personal and work focussed challenges that are presenting either in the workplace, or within the individuals personal life as well.
An EAP service will provide holistic support and counselling entirely for the company that purchases their services and the employees will be able to do so anonymously so the company just knows a staff member used the service not who used the service. It is a fully confidential service to the employee.
Research states that a staggering 100,000 waking hours are spent at work. That’s a lot of time to spend to work, therefore it is critical to ensure that you feel connected and safe and happy at work, but equally be the best version of yourself going home.
As we know, life can be great sometimes and challenging at other times. So in all of those areas you want to ensure that you have the right layers of assistance, genuine care and professional support to help you through those moments.
They can be quite a bit of stigma attached to EAP programs, from our experience working with organizations here in Australia and across in the UK, some of the emerging challenges that we hear is confidentiality and not reaching out until it’s crisis mode.
So this real concern around confidentiality is a big area. The absolutely critical thing for you to be aware of is that it is fully confidential. And by no circumstances it is your employer aware that you’re accessing support unless you specifically identify that you would like to speak to your employer about these concerns, or have your EAP provider support you with that.
The other concern is people view an EAP service as the only time to access is when you’re in absolute crisis mode, you’ve hit that red line or none your coping mechanisms are working anymore. At that point is the only time that people consider accessing the EAP program at work.
However, we all need a boost in life whether that’s at crisis point, in your average day to day or are looking to grow yourself both professionally and personally, your EAP provider will be able to support you through
How EAP works
An organisation will generally onboard an EAP service, explaining the program, the offerings and entitlements of the program and how to access. The services offered can vary rom provider to provider.
Some of these services can include, but aren’t limited to;
EAP Servicing for employees address challenges presenting for the individuals life in both work and personal areas:
|Stress||Substance Abuse||Financial Problems|
|Relationship Issues||Gambling and other Addictions||Depression|
|Workplace Bullying||Anxiety Disorders||Grief and Loss|
|Legal Problems||Psychiatric Disorders||Injury related problems|
|Trauma||Communication Problems||Growth & personal development|
|Work-life Balance||Coping with Change||Career & life plans|
Session are generally offered in three modes:
- Phone EAP sessions
- Face to Face EAP sessions
- Online EAP sessions
Additional Services an organisation can adopt include, however not limited to:
- Crisis intervention
- Manager support calls
- Emotional Intelligence testing
- Specialist mental health training
- Workplace behaviour and communication training
- Onsite interventions (either in crisis moments or as an ongoing service)
- Monthly webinars
- Company Wellbeing Audits
- Coaching Services
- Specialist Culture Enhancement Programs
- Additional resources (eBooks, tip sheets, blogs, video, etc)
After an EAP provider is onboarded there may be a launch of the service held for the company to make sure their employees are across the service.
When an employee decides to access the service there are a range of different ways they may be able to reach out which could include phone, email or online chat if the EAP provider has those options available.
Once they reach out, dependent on their circumstances they will either be booked in for an appointment with a practitioner that is best suited to that person and their needs or if its a critical incident then they will be given the opportunity to talk to a practitioner as soon as possible to help them through this difficult moment. After engaging with the service, you will have the option to have more sessions dependent on how many sessions your organisation entitles their employees to.
Every person has a unique situation, unique coping mechanisms and of course, unique outcomes. However one of the common things that we see people getting out of having a full engagement with an EAP service can be the following;
- Greater perspective of themselves and others
- More forward thinking
- Career direction
- Improved Resilience
- Reduction in Stress
- Improved Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Life goals
However you don’t have to use the full engagement to get results. Some people have immediate relief and assistance from just one engagement dependent on their situation and what they are wanting out of the engagement with the service. These can include;
- Level of relief after offloading what’s happening (sometimes you need to vent to a third party)
- A connection to someone independent not connected to the situation
- Relief from having someone to connect to that is safe, non judgemental, objective and supportive
- Strategies to deal with the situation
- More confidence
- Calming down
Again there are a range of outcomes that can happen and it really depends on your level of engagement and your situation. However the start of the conversation is how you can begin your journey of support to growth and development.
Things to Remember
Some important things to remember would be;
Know when its appropriate to reach out
Early intervention can significantly help with overcoming the issue or growth area you are wanting to improve. Don’t just think about waiting until a crisis situation occurs. What can you do right now that will enhance your life, either personally or at
Be aware of the services available
Ask your manager or HR if there is support available. Not only for EAP support but also if there are resources or initiatives that may be able to help.
Be aware of others
Everyone deals with issues and problems. Even if someone’s problems aren’t bad in comparison to another person’s problems doesn’t mean they don’t also need help.
An analogy for this is “Whether you’re drowning in 3m of water or 50m of water you’re still drowning”
So if you see anyone struggling to deal with things at work or their life, start the conversation and make sure they are across the initiatives available.
Proactive engagement is always more healthy than reactive engagement.
Don’t have EAP?
If you don’t have an EAP provider and are keen to get more of an understanding of how the process works and how you would go about implementing it within your organisation then please feel free to reach out to Work Happy on 1300 796 640, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact us form on our website and we can help answer any questions you have about how an EAP program can be set up in your organisation.