However attitudes towards employee wellbeing are changing and organisations are beginning to recognise the value in creating workplaces that promote wellbeing and allow individuals and in turn organisations to thrive. A key tool that many organisations are familiar with is the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). To many, adopting an EAP service is a tick box exercise but it has the potential to be an extremely practical and useful intervention in delivering an effective employee wellbeing strategy.
An EAP is a voluntary, work-based programme that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counselling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional wellbeing.
- It’s confidential! Your employees will likely appreciate the fact that they have a resource they can use to discuss sensitive issues in complete confidence. The employer is not notified when an employee uses the service.
- Typically the EAP service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so employees have the support at a time that suits them.
- It’s an effective intervention that can mean problems are discussed and resolved early on, meaning that issues are dealt with before they escalate and become more serious.
There will continue to be sceptics who see the adoption of an EAP as an exercise in compliance by organisations and there is a lot of work to do in encouraging employees to utilise the services as and when they need it. However giving employees access to a service that can help to provide a solution or giving them tools to tackle the problem can only be a positive action to take! Ultimately it is likely that EAP’s will result in a happier and more productive workplace.