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Do Employee Assistance Programs Work and are they fit for purpose?

7th July, 2023 by Graham Nicholls
employee assistance programme
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Do Employee Assistance Programmes Work?

Do employee assistance programmes work - The answer should be simple shouldn't it. There should be no question about the answer. Maybe, just maybe, it shouldn't even be a question. Yet it is, the question still gets asked. I would love to tell you that the answer I simple:

Do employee assistance programmes work - The answer should be yes.

Do employee assistance programmes work - The answer could be no.

Do employee assistance programmes work - The answer is a little more complicated than that. Please allow me to explain.

Do employee assistance programmes work?

Do employee assistance programmes work - They do...... under certain circumstances. An employee assistance programme (EAP) is an employee benefit that provides your team with support and practical advice on issues that might be impacting their wellbeing and performance. It is a service provided by specialised companies that are there to help your workforce. That, in itself, should be a good thing.

However, recent studies have shown that some of these EAP's are not being managed properly. They are not being managed for the benefit of your people, your staff, your teams, the lifeblood of your business. An effectively managed EAP should, according to research, create a return on investment for the business of 800%. That's right, for every £1 you spend you should get £8 back on average. Do employee assistance programmes work - there are some core issues.

Core issue number one: average usage of employee assistance programmes is only at around 5% of the workforce. This is down to lack of knowledge and communication. However, as the employer, it should not be down to just you to communicate. The EAP provider should have the facility to communicate their services to those in the business wish to know about it.

Core issue number two: 60% of people who contact their EAP are rejected. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. 60% are rejected, they don't get the help they need. How can an EAP work if people cannot use it?

Core issue number three: Of the people who contact their employee assistance programme, 20% get sent to some form of free self-help resource. So someone has built up the courage to get help and they get sent to some form of free resource? They need and want to be booked in with someone who they can talk to and yet they get direct to an e-book!

Core issue number four: Education is not usually a part of an EAP. The truth is that some people want to help themselves. They don't want to speak to someone one-on-one, but they need the knowledge. Holding regular workshops and trainings can be of a huge benefit to those people. However, many EAP providers do not provide this type of service. Most EAP providers sign-post to a free resource of to one-on-one sessions. 

Do employee assistance programmes work?

They can and do if managed correctly by the EAP provider. Employee assistance programmes work if everyone who needs help can get it. Employee assistance programmes work if there is a range of services to suit a wide range of people. EAP's work when the business and provider work together to keep the workforce informed of those services. EAP's work when both the business AND the provider care about the wellbeing of the workforce.

Do employee assistance programmes work? Yes, when they are run for the benefit of the workforce they absolutely do.

Would you like to know more about Priority Mind Management and our Employee Assistance Programme? Get in touch today, there is a contact form at the bottom of this page. Fill it in and we'll get back to you.

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