Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are voluntary, employer sponsored programs that offer your employees and their immediate families confidential assessments, short-term counselling (usually 6 sessions), and signposting referral services. EAPs also offer work/life services to employees who have work or personal related problems that adversely affect their work performance, health and wellbeing. These services can be delivered in the workplace, at an approved EAP company location, or remotely anywhere in the world via secure telehealth video portal.
Work can have a significant impact on people’s mental wellbeing. Employers can help to foster a mentally healthy workplace, for example by taking action to prevent and manage stress, anxiety and burnout, and training line managers on mental wellbeing. Reporting on the success of an EAP can have reputational benefits for the organisation.
Important Legislative Notes:
ISO 45003 covers aspects such as how to identify the conditions, circumstances and workplace demands that have the potential to impair the psychological health and well-being of workers; how to identify primary risk factors and assess them to determine what changes are required to improve the working environment; and how to identify and control work-related hazards and manage psychosocial risk within an occupational health and safety management system.
EAPs address a broad and complex array of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as workplaces stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, family problems, bereavement including pregnancy loss, alcohol and substance misuse. EAPs also work in a consultative role with managers and supervisors to address employee and organisational challenges and needs.
Yes, EAP’s also work in a consultative role with managers and supervisors to address employee and organisational challenges and needs. Best practice dictates that EAPs should be part of a larger company plan to promote wellness that involves written policies, supervisor and employee training.
EAP’s are also pro-active in helping organisations prevent and cope with workplace disputes, trauma, and other managerial issues.
In an EAP, there are two types of referrals:
1. Self-referral where the employee seeks help on their own and nobody knows about it other than the sponsor (usually HR or Occupational Health department) No record of this type of referral appears in the employee’s personnel file.
2. A formal referral is carried out by the employee’s manager, Human Resources or Occupational Health department. Any recommendations to be referred may or may not appear in the individual’s personnel file depending on the situation. Often, no record is made unless there is a need for formal disciplinary action. What is discussed during the sessions, however, is not reported to the employer in either case.
Several factors make an EAP successful:
Open to all employees
Recognition and commitment by management, employees and trade unions that an EAP is needed
Policies and procedures supported by top management, employees and unions
Establishment of both formal and informal referral procedures
Promotion of the EAP and encouragement to use the service
Managers and employees educated in the purpose and workings of the EAP
Periodic monitoring and evaluation of the EAP to ensure:
the needs of both the employee and the employer are being met
continued quality of the referral/assistance
address potential issues
An effective EAP plays a critical role in motivating and supporting employees in their personal wellness and in building resilience to stress before it leads to health or productivity issues. By continually focusing on, and adapting to an organisation’s needs, the right EAP can:
Increase employee recruitment and retention
Improve employee health and well-being
Improve company productivity and performance
Reduce health claims and missed work days
The integrated services and programs provided through an EAP result in reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, improving organisational performance.*
No. Not when you partner with Midlands Employee Wellbeing. Unlike many of the large EAP companies we do not operate on a recuring weekly, monthly or annual fee per employee basis. Midlands Employee Wellbeing operate on a small retention fee, and a transparent pay as you go basis for all our clinical intervention services. Pay as you go often appeals to small and medium size businesses because it puts more usage control in your hands. It also ensures you are not paying for the service when your employees are not engaging it.
As professionally accredited counsellors/psychotherapists/psychologists, Brian and the team at Midlands Employee Wellbeing subscribe to the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), the Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapists (IAHIP) or The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) code of ethics and we are individually subject to their complaints procedure. The purpose of these professional codes is to establish and maintain standards for counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists who are accredited members, and to inform and protect people and organisations that engage in our EAP counselling and psychotherapy services.