An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a program designed to help employees manage and resolve any psychological and emotional problems that may be affecting their performance in the workplace. In Canada, more than 80 federal departments and agencies receive their EAP services through Health Canada, while other organizations provide this service internally or purchase it in the private sector. An EAP can provide free short-term counseling for personal or work problems, as well as counseling in crisis situations. The benefits of an EAP are numerous.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a well-used program has the potential to reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as build awareness and trust in the program. It can also be fundamental to creating a culture of well-being that can help attract, retain, and satisfy employees. In addition, an EAP can provide access to short-term clinical or professional consultations, health risk assessments, or other types of working life (legal, financial, etc.). It can also help employees feel more engaged at work and happier at home, without the worry of having to pay for professional services.
An EAP can address issues such as drug abuse, alcoholism, financial problems, legal problems, work stress, personal problems, separation and loss, and family violence. When implementing an EAP, there are some challenges that human resources, business, and group plan leaders often experience. It is important to find a good provider who will not only help you get your new EAP up and running quickly but will also work with you long-term to provide assistance, training, monitoring, and evaluations. Additionally, it is important to ensure that employees take advantage of the program so that it is successful.
Overall, an Employee Assistance Program is a great benefit for employers and employees alike. It can help employees manage their personal and work difficulties while also helping employers create a culture of well-being that can attract and retain employees. If you are considering implementing an EAP in your workplace or reviewing your current plan, it is important to consider both the benefits and challenges.