A Deep Dive Into Employee Assistance Programs


Your business gains from happy employees since they work more, leave the company less frequently, and take fewer sick days. Implementing well-being perks and policies is increasingly turning into a need in today’s economy since businesses have long understood that putting an emphasis on mental well-being results in happier employees and an improved bottom line.

In fact, a recent survey revealed that 80% of workers would think about leaving their current workplace for one that prioritised mental wellness. Employers increasingly understand the need of include mental health benefits in their pay packages to encourage employee engagement and retention.

Employee access programmes (EAPs) are frequently used to offer mental health assistance, but they frequently struggle to fulfil the needs of employees because of lengthy wait times to see a physician, a lack of care that is oriented on their cultural needs, and the subpar experience they offer. EAPs frequently have low adoption rates and subpar therapeutic results as a result.

We’ve provided a thorough analysis to help you analyse the many programmes available and their limitations in order to assist your organisation in determining whether EAPs are still the best option for your team. We’ve also provided details on how mental health services may change in the future to meet demands from a contemporary workforce.

What Is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

A voluntary work-based programme called an employee assistance programme offers private examinations, short-term counselling, referrals, management advice, and coaching services to employees. EAPs handle employee personal and professional difficulties that may negatively affect their ability to function at work.

These programmes can deal with a variety of individual pressures, such as monetary, social, substance usage, mental health issues, interpersonal interactions at work, etc. An EAP’s objective is to tackle problems before they affect productivity at work.

They have the ability to assist firms in avoiding the harmful consequences of workplace stress and maintaining high performance levels with this objective in mind. However, the degree to which a programme is adopted and whether the services offered are adequate to employees’ needs are key factors in an EAP’s success.

What Are the Types of Employee Assistance Programs?

EAPs come in a variety of forms to assist companies in selecting the ideal one for their situation and working environment. The sort of EAP you select will have a major impact on how the programme functions for the employees. These are the kinds of employee support programmes that are most prevalent.

In-House Programs

To support employees, large firms frequently deploy internal programmes with service providers on-site. These services can be of many types.

While some in-house programmes may provide child care and on-site workout facilities, others may have a therapist on-site. This could mean that in-house EAPs are quite pricey, especially for companies who have recently invested in service delivery infrastructure.

External Programs

When organisations lack the funds to create internal programmes, they may use outsourced EAPs. An external EAP gives staff members and their families access to a toll-free number or website where they may make arrangements for services with a different business. After intake, staff members are sent to an expert network of EAP specialists for support.

Blended Programs

For some firms, having to choose between internal and external resources might be limiting. A hybrid EAP combines in-house and externally provided services.

An employee can be given the option to meet with an internal employee or use the vendor EAP network thanks to this approach. Theoretically, a hybrid EAP could aid in removing some care-related obstacles.

Peer-Based Programs

Peer-based EAPs are a less popular option that offer assistance through colleagues. This programme instructs and prepares staff to offer particular forms of support.

Peers and coworkers offer information, training, support, and recommendations after training. It’s important to keep in mind that this kind of programme could take longer to get going.

Member Assistance ProgramsĀ 

A union’s member assistance programme (MAP) can fund a variety of services for workers and their family. MAPs frequently include counselling, problem-solving, problem-identification, and preventative services. Your organisation might not be qualified for a MAP, though, as many corporations do not belong to a union.

Advantages of EAPs

After defining the programme and its many forms, it is time to examine the advantages of an EAP. The list of them is below.

Employee Assistance Programs Contribute to Employee Well-Being

When implemented as intended, an EAP can enhance workers’ wellbeing, boost engagement, lower absence rates, and boost output. A comprehensive EAP can address a range of concerns, such as:

  • social connections
  • Family circumstances
  • Use of drugs
  • traumatic experiences
  • Support for mental wellness
  • education initiatives
  • Changing careers

Employers can assist employees cope with stressful life events by giving them access to services, which may enhance productivity.

Wellness Increases Performance at Work

According to a recent National Institutes of Health study, general stress has a direct impact on how well people perform at work. Lower productivity levels are regularly linked to high levels of stress.

Employees who use EAPs can lessen their own stress, which can help them perform better at work. EAPs can minimise absenteeism, boost presenteeism, and lessen stress at work by helping people manage their stress levels.

EAPs Can Improve the Company’s ROI

EAPs can enhance employee engagement by treating both work-related concerns and personal stress. Employees’ performance significantly improved after receiving counselling from the EAP, according to a research that compared their performance before and after.

  • Increased absenteeism: The percentage of employees who reported having trouble focusing on their work due to personal difficulties fell by half.
  • 9% less employees were actively disengaged, which increased engagement.
  • Reduced workplace anxiety: A 9% decrease in dread upon leaving for work.

According to a Modern Health study by Forrester Consulting, 74% of workers want their employers to be concerned about their mental health. Employers may fulfil the requirements of employees and boost retention by offering high-quality mental health benefits.

Disadvantages of EAPsĀ 

EAPs have the potential to significantly reduce stress-related conditions that impair work performance. Their capacity to help the modern workforce, where wellness and mental health are top priorities, is severely constrained. Due to these drawbacks, EAPs are unable to fulfil their full potential.

Focused on Short-Term Support

The amount of sessions an employee can have with a provider is frequently restricted by EAPs. Programs frequently offer no more than eight treatment sessions for each mental health issue.

They concentrate on emergency care rather than long-term wellness. Nearly 80% of workers think that if they regularly prioritise their mental health, they may successfully avoid serious mental health issues or care on a clinical level. However, EAPs do not offer the types of care that would support this choice.

EAPs Are Limited to Traditional Therapy ModelsA

Employee assistance programmes give access to counselling. They fail, though, when they don’t offer options. EAPs often only offer traditional therapy models, which only provide 1:1 counselling.

But according to data, less than 44% of workers select individual counselling as their preferred form of treatment. Without choices for self-guided treatment, culturally-centered care, blended care models with online options, and group sessions, the majority of employees aren’t interested in joining the programme.

A Lack of Reporting for Analysis

For every programme to be evaluated for success, accurate data is essential. EAPs lack reporting for employers on adoption, engagement, and continuous participation due to their fragmented systems.

EAP adoption rates are often modest. EAP providers generally define ROI potential with reports that show the ROI of a single employee (for example, a $3 return for every $1 invested for each employee) to mask these statistics.

Due to methods that rely on brief time periods and place an excessive emphasis on the amount of money saved by avoiding additional medical expenses, ROI assessments for EAPs also fall short. Employers have a difficult time figuring out how to obtain accurate data that reflects a true ROI as a result. An organisation may not be able to clearly grasp how well the investment pays off due to such murky data.

Employers Don’t Have Control Over the Quality of Care

Most employers collaborate with outside EAPs. Because of this, the employer has no influence over how care is delivered. Solution providers known as external EAPs collaborate with independently licenced clinicians (like social workers, psychologists, and therapists).

These networks frequently take availability, cost, and location into account. As a result, the quality of treatment may be inconsistent and fall short of offering employees uniform care.

EAPs Don’t Have the Ability to Customize Care Options

EAPs provide some options, but they are unable to adequately tailor care. You can have the option to select between a Fitbit programme and a Headspace app through an EAP. It does not distinguish between different therapy modalities or care levels.

Every employee should have access to the finest possible mental health treatment. While a worker with high acuity needs might benefit from one-on-one counselling and medication, a worker with lower acuity needs is more likely to benefit from self-paced learning opportunities or coaching.

The Future Is Mental Health Benefits

Numerous organisations are substituting mental health coverage for EAPs as a result of poor utilisation, a lack of available care options, and a lack of control over the standard of care. These cutting-edge, evidence-based programmes provide your employees a range of care alternatives focused on mental wellness in addition to crisis support.

Like many EAPs, Modern Health provides work-life services, onsite crisis support, a 24/7 phone line, and one-on-one clinical treatment anywhere in the world as needed. With several advantages for mental health that are centred on long-term wellness, it raises the standard. Employees can engage in self-guided treatment that is tailored to their specific requirements by combining, for instance, programmes for emotional well-being, mobility, and mindfulness.

Employers can remove obstacles to care and make it simple for staff to access on-site counselling, work-life services (including child care and financial support), and supervisory services by implementing user-friendly digital systems (to assist with addressing workplace conflict, employee performance, and more). A mechanism that ensures the standard certification of coaches and other professionals within the programme gives employers more control over the level of care.

Employers are placing more emphasis on workplace mental health, so it’s critical to choose a mental health programme that helps foster an inclusive workplace and a culture of wellbeing. You can remove obstacles to care, increase adoption, and see improved results by making sure your mental health solution serves the needs of all employees with a multifaceted approach to care.

Employers can maximise their ROI with higher presenteeism and engagement rates of up to 20% (compared to the average 5.5% acknowledged by EAPs) and lower absenteeism and attrition rates. It might be difficult to select a mental health programme that offers your organisation both extremely beneficial outcomes and a clearly defined ROI.

We’re prepared to assist. Speak with one of our experts about enhancing mental health benefits for your employees or submit a demo request to find out more about how contemporary mental health benefits differ from conventional EAPs.

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