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What’s so special about Employee Assistance Programs
What’s so special about Employee Assistance Programs?  
  • Do you have employees who struggle with difficult financial problems?
  • Are there employees at your company who face challenges caring for elderly family members?
  • Has mental illness affected your staff or their families?
  • Does substance abuse impact the performance of some employees?
  • Have your employees or their families experienced cancer or other chronic health conditions? 
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. For many of our employees, life is a complex undertaking. Workers are providing support to themselves, children and their own parents. While our economy is recovering, many people are still dealing with the aftermath of lost jobs and financial insecurity. And physical and emotional health issues impact most of us at some times in our lives.

But just what is an EAP?
Think of an EAP as a 911 call, but rather than reaching emergency services, the call is made to an organization that can assess the financial, social services, addiction or mental health services your employees need and connect them to resources in your community that can help them. EAP services are sometimes provided bundled with group life and disability insurance products you may purchase, or, can be purchased as a standalone product.

How do I choose an EAP?
One big consideration is whether to choose a national EAP service or a locally based service. If you have a geographically diverse workforce, a national EAP is likely your best solution as they would be able to provide services electronically or telephonically to all of your employees. On the other hand, if you are in a smaller geography that is served by a local EAP, you may be able to tap into EAP representatives to come on site and conduct informational sessions, training and other onsite services. This may work to your favor in familiarizing employees with the services the EAP provides resulting in higher utilization by them.

EAPs may offer other services such as wellness programs, drug free workplace and DOT compliance programs and pre-employment screening programs to name just a few. Costs are typically based upon the number of employees you have and the menu of services you select. 
As with any vendor you consider purchasing services from, ask them for references of employers using their services who you can contact to verify the quality of the actual services that are provided.

Why is it a good solution?
It is confidential. The employee can seek help without sharing personal details with you which may make them more likely to seek assistance.

Therefore, it takes you the HR professional, the department manager or the business owner out of the middle saving you time.

The employee gets professional assistance specific to their situation – often much more comprehensive assistance than you could provide.

Employees who have resources to help them address their problems are more likely to have higher productivity and less stress in their lives.

Your employee gets help – which is what you want for your employee.

Employee Assistance Programs are good for both employers and their employees. If you would like assistance in selecting an EAP to add to your benefits offerings, please contact your Benefits Consultant at Hausmann-Johnson.
 
Author: Mary Jo Spiekerman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
VP Human Resources
Hausmann-Johnson Insurance

 
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