Company Wellness Strategies: How to Implement EAP Programs

EAP Programs

Did you know that over 97% of companies with more than 5000 employees have an employee assistance program (EAP)? But it’s not only the big companies that have EAPs but also 75% of smaller companies with 251 to 1000 employees.

What does this mean for you as a business owner? There’s a very good reason why companies choose to have EAPs in place. And it isn’t just about enhancing company wellness. 

Let’s read on to find out more about EAP programs and how you can implement one in your organization. 

What Is an Employee Assistance Program?

An EAP program helps employees deal with all levels of health and wellbeing, as well as, help their dependents. Some of the issues that an EAP program can help with are:

  • Liquor or substance abuse
  • Eldercare
  • Therapy sessions for relationship challenges
  • Monetary or legal issues
  • Stress and burnout
  • Mental health issues
  • Traumatic accidents like workplace violence or sexual abuse
  • And many other well being matters

The positive thing about an EAP program is that they are largely free and confidential. Employees don’t have to worry about losing their job or some other negative consequence, just because they partake in an EAP program. A lot of EAP programs aren’t even offered directly by the organization, but by an outside resource. 

The HR managers usually work with outer EAP suppliers to offer a scope of services. Check out this EAP software solution for more information.

Some Advantages of EAP Programs

As you can imagine not all businesses offer EAP programs, but the ones that do notice a wide variety of benefits from it. Some of the benefits noticed are:

  • Lower medical expenses
  • Diminished turnover
  • Lower absenteeism rates
  • Higher worker productivity

Not only that, but it creates a generally positive workplace for employees, where they feel accepted and comfortable in sharing their whole selves. It means that the workers are more likely to feel good about themselves when in such a workplace, are more loyal, and have better concentration. 

An EAP hotline is usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Since EAP programs are meant to give fast responses, it means that a lot of work and mental health issues can get therapy sessions set up right away. The employee doesn’t have to wait for eons to get a referral from a family doctor. This means that the emergency or issue can start getting resolution quite quickly. 

And getting help right away can improve their productivity levels sooner rather than later.

Another important benefit of EAP programs is that it reduces litigation risk since employees get the help they need now rather than later, be it for workplace violence or some other traumatic issue. 

How Can You Implement an EAP?

There are two ways you can implement an EAP program in your organization.

  • Either choose one vendor to take care of the full worldwide EAP model
  • Or deal with a series of local or regional vendors around the world

Of course, if you have a single vendor, it makes things easier for your HR team to manage the program. This simplifies communication since you are only going to chat with one vendor to take care of everything EAP-related. 

If you have locations all over the world, then having a decentralized EAP that coordinates local and regional agreements is the best way to go about it. 

Whatever model you end up choosing, the most important aspect of an EAP program is to consider investing in it as a long-term benefit for your organization. 

The Costs of an Employee Assistance Program

Another question that probably comes to your mind is how much would an EAP program cost. This varies depending on the kind of services the EAP program would offer.

There are cost differences depending on organization size. If you have a smaller company, you are going to end up paying a bit more per employee for an EAP program, than a bigger one.

In general, though, EAP programs cost about $30 to $50 per worker per year. As you can imagine, this is a cost that pays back several times over its lifetime. 

There are also three different ways you can set up a pricing model for an EAP:

Value-based – if the program can reduce absenteeism or some other company wellness component is improved, then the service providers are paid in light of that.

Budgeted utilization – if the organization is on a tight budget, then the program is based on that fixed budget, and only affordable services are offered.

Bundled payments – this is where the total cost of the bundled meetings is lower than paying per meeting, so the organization pays the bundled fee. 

Remember that EAP programs are generally accessible not only to the employees, but also to their close relatives, or to anyone who resides in the workers’ homes. 

If you are interested in helping your employees work at their maximum potential, then EAP programs are a great way to help manage that. This is because an employee isn’t an automaton, but a diverse being, with problems and issues outside of their work as well. 

EAP Programs Help with Employee Performance Management 

There are so many negative events happening in the world right now, that could affect the productivity and mental health of your employees. That’s why it’s so important to set up EAP programs from the get-go and make it so using such programs is considered to be an acceptable thing. 

If you aren’t going to be on your employees’ side in this manner, who will?