How Everyone Benefits from an EAP
Updated: Sep 4
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have become more prevalent in most workplaces over the past two decades. Much of this is due to the increased awareness of the relationship between an employee’s mental, emotional and social functioning and his or her ability to function at work.
What is an EAP? An EAP is a company-sponsored benefit for employees which provides them free access to short-term assessment, counseling and referral for addressing many of the most common problems people face. These may include:
Individual concerns (anxiety, depression, stress management, anger, grief or other emotional conflict);
Family issues (marital stress, divorce-adjustment, blended-family issues, communication, or other family crises); or
Parenting issues (parenting children and teens, childhood grief, school issues, sibling issues, or conduct problems)
Providing EAP services is a very inexpensive way to let employees know that their value is measured by more than their performance. It helps to create an environment where employees feel that they and their families are valued members of an organization that cares about them as people.
EAP’s also provide services to family members of employees, which has a direct impact on how much time away from work an employee may need to take to deal with family issues. Much of the mental and emotional stress an employee faces is due to unresolved problems at home. Addressing the concerns of other family members can greatly reduce the stress and distractions that otherwise absorb an employee’s attention and demand time away from work. This alone has a significant impact on employee turnover, attendance, and productivity.
EAP’s also offer direct benefits to employers by providing workplace trainings and consultations with supervisors over employee issues. This can directly reduce employee turnover by advising management on how to best approach worker concerns in a way that is supportive and beneficial to everyone involved.
Supervisors can even make a referral to the EAP for employee’s whose personal issues are affecting their job performance, their interactions with fellow employees, or otherwise jeopardizing their employment. This can make a huge impact on the company’s ability to salvage a valued employee who may be going through a temporary personal crisis.
While the goal of an EAP is to help employees, their families and the company manage the difficult circumstances that we all face from time-to-time, there is no doubt that these services benefit both the mental and emotional well-being of the employee, as well as the company’s bottom line by reducing turnover and increasing loyalty and trust between the company and its family of team members.
If you would like to explore EAP options for your business, Family Counseling Service would love to help you create a service that is just the right fit for your company. Visit https://www.counselingservice.org/eap for more info.
Larry Deavers is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker & Executive Director of Family Counseling Service of West Alabama.