Why do people not use their employee assistance programme?
Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) are an increasingly popular benefit. They are offered by employers to help their employees manage any mental health, emotional, or personal difficulties they may be experiencing. Despite the employee assistance programme's potential for helping employees manage crises or difficult life transitions, many people still don’t take advantage of these programmes. Statistics show that only around 5% of employees use their employee assistance programme!
One of the main reasons for this is that many employees are not aware of the services and resources offered by an employee assistance programme. Without an understanding of the types of services they provide, employees might not even consider using the programme. An employer can help to address this issue by making sure employees understand the programme and how to access it. If businesses employee the right EAP provider they will find that the provider will help 'spread the word' and educate their employees on the services and how to use them.
A stigma associated
In addition to a lack of awareness, there may also be a stigma associated with reaching out for assistance. Employees might worry that if they use the employee assistance programme, their employer will find out and they may be judged or face negative consequences. This fear of being judged or seen as “needing help” can be very detrimental to an employee’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. It’s important for employers to create a culture of understanding and acceptance around mental health and ensure employees feel safe and supported if they need to access the EAP. A good employee assistance provider should help the business with the communication of this subject. Privacy and confidentiality should be assured and reassured as often as possible.
Finally, many employee assistance programmes are provided by external providers, which can create a barrier to access. Employees might be reluctant to share personal information with an outside provider and may not feel comfortable speaking to someone they don’t know. To reduce this barrier, employers can ensure the EAP provides a range of options for accessing help such as training, workshops or in-person sessions. While some employees will benefit from the one-on-one contact, it is important to realise that some will want to learn so they can help themselves.
Why do people not use their employee assistance programmes?
Overall, there are a number of factors that can contribute to people not using their employee assistance programme. By providing clear information about the programme and creating a culture of understanding and acceptance around mental health, employers can go a long way towards encouraging their employees to make use of the available resources. Further to that, businesses should use the expertise of their employee assistance programme provider to communicate the messages effectively.
While the industry standard for use of EAP's is around 5% of employees, here at Priority Mind Management our clients see an uptake of around 20% on average. We work with our clients to ensure their employees know what services are offered and how to take advantage of them. Together we make the employees mental health a priority.
If you're ready to make your employees a priority, get in touch. We can help.