Hi, i’m Mark Pinfield, Employee Benefits Client Manager here at Macbeth. I can totally empathise with your groan as you read the above three letters considering the world we live in today where every product, company or subject seems to be shortened down to an acronym or have a # placed before it, but I promise that this one will be worth it.
So, what is EAP then I hear you ask? EAP stands for Employee Assistance Program.
Great, so what does an Employee Assistance Program do?
Essentially, it does what it says on the tin! Employee Assistance Programs are employee benefit services designed to help employees deal with emotional and personal problems such as issues like alcohol or substance abuse, bereavement, child or elder care commitments, career concerns, relationship challenges, financial or legal problems or any other life challenges that might adversely impact their overall work performance, health and wellbeing.
An EAP generally includes support and advice helplines, short-term counselling, and referral services for employees – wherever they are in the world. Where appropriate, counselling services can be face to face sessions or, if you would rather not “sit on the couch”, you can have your session via video link. You can also seek advice via a confidential telephone service with most providers offering this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Keeping up with modern times, most EAP products also include an app which includes useful contact details as well as downloadable information and online resources offering expert help and advice as and when you need it. Some even offer perks and savings such as online cashback, in-store and online coupons and lifestyle offers and discounts, who doesn’t love a good bargain?!
So, the service is just for employees right?
Not at all, Employee Assistance Program services are available to employees and their immediate family.
From an employer standpoint, a specified service is offered whereby EAP counsellors are available to work in a consultative role providing support and advice services for line managers and leaders when day-to-day team management becomes challenging. In some cases, training courses can be delivered onsite or via webinars to line managers that can then be laid out to employees to help them build resilience and be more productive in the workplace.
Many businesses have rapidly adopted services offered by the Employee Assistance Program services industry to help lower costs. For example, according to data from the Employee Assistance Trade Association, mental health disorders and substance abuse problems have been prevalent among working-age individuals. Left untreated, these problems can add to costs for employers, such as costs related to employee absenteeism and increased disability claims. As a result of the increased adoption of Employee Assistance Programs, the industry has experienced growth over the last five years to 2019. In addition, the adoption of EAPs has been further exacerbated by a high return on investment for businesses that have EAPs. In other words implementing an EAP helps create a healthier and happier workplace for all!
How do I access an EAP?
Here’s the really good bit, if you already have a Group Income Protection, Group Life, Group Health Insurance or Cash Plan policy as part of your employee benefits package, then the chances are it already has some form of EAP built into it already and in the instance of Income Protection and Group Life plans it will be free of charge!
There may be posters and flyers up and around your workplace in the break room area or on the notice boards already advertising the service. Like me, you may blissfully walk past them as you go about your day but the next time you walk past, take a second to read it, you might not need the service yourself right now but you may know somebody that does and as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. This is exactly what happened to me when I was going through the unknown and scary territory of purchasing my first home, I was unsure about the advice our conveyancer had given us about some legal issues and we had seemingly come up against a brick wall that could have ended our dream purchase. My line manager (in a previous role) picked up on my distress and suggested seeking legal advice via our EAP and gave me the telephone number, I called the service that evening and booked an appointment with a legal counsellor to contact me the very next day. The counsellor listened to my problem and within our phone call (no longer than half an hour) was able to look into the issue and find the appropriate explanation of wording that helped resolve our dilemma putting us back on track with the purchase and ultimately putting my mind at rest!
National Work Life Week
This week (Oct. 12th) is National Work Life Week. It’s an opportunity for employers and employees to focus on wellbeing at work and to consider the importance of a healthy work life balance. Employers are encouraged to demonstrate flexible working policies and practices. Now, more than ever, physical and mental health and wellbeing should be a priority and the more an employer can do, the better. Just yesterday we received a reminder of the various support services we have available to us as employees of Macbeth; Stress Counselling, Bereavement and Grief assistance, how to download the ‘EAP in your Pocket’ app, an EAP brochure and some details on an Expression of Wish. We are fortunate to have an employer who values their staff and remains flexible and understanding of the increased pressures faced by us all, particularly in these current times. #WorkLifeWeek
What if we don’t have an Employee Assistance Program?
If your current employee benefits package doesn’t include an EAP already, no problem, you can still purchase a standalone product that suits you and your employees’ needs from a host of specialist providers. If you need help choosing the right Employee Assistance Program for your company then please feel free to get in contact with Macbeth. Call us on 0118 9165 480, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the chat feature bottom left of this page.
Macbeth’s specialist employee benefits advisers can explain the different options available and find the best product tailored for you and your employees.