Employee Assistance Programs: A Vital Support System in Trying Times

Employee Assistance Programs: A Vital Support System in Trying Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health for many individuals who have had to adapt to sudden changes in their work and personal lives, fear of illness and loss, and isolation. The mental health crisis continues even as the pandemic subsides. A recent study by the National Safety Council found that half of large employers have seen an increase in mental health-related absences and incidents, while a study by Ipsos reveals that mental health has become the top health concern among Americans, surpassing COVID-19.

Employers can offer support to employees struggling with mental health by providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The NSC study found that 25% of organizations with an EAP implemented the program during the pandemic, while 66% expanded their offerings. An EAP is a program designed to help employees resolve personal problems that may affect their work performance. The program can provide resources and referrals for counseling and cover the costs of services. The services are confidential and employers do not have access to information about who uses the services, why, or how often.

Typical services offered by an EAP include mental health counseling, family and marital counseling, substance abuse services, smoking cessation programs, legal assistance, and more. A study by the University of Warwick found that satisfied workers are 12% more productive and provide better customer service, and employers with EAPs experience reduced absenteeism, fewer workplace accidents, and lower medical and workers' compensation costs.

EAPs also help managers to become more effective by developing skills in consulting with employees, managing workplace stress, maintaining drug-free workplaces, responding to crises, and promoting work-life balance. Employers have various options for setting up an EAP, such as running the program with their own staff or outsourcing to third-party providers. Providers should meet the standards set by the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

In conclusion, employees are subject to various stressors such as day-to-day living, sudden illnesses or deaths, natural disasters, work, and more. An EAP can provide crucial support to employees and their families and help employers improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, and promote a positive work environment.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or want to learn more about employee benefits, feel free to reach out to me, Hunter Shepherd, President of Kennion Benefit Advisors. I'd be happy to chat. Give me a call at 205-641-0469 or Get A Quote. Looking forward to connecting with you!