Employee assistance programmes

How EAPs can help with employee happiness and your retention rates

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Wednesday, May 17, 2023

It is important for you to invest in your employees. There can be a wide variety of ways to do this, such as implementing extended health benefit plans and bonuses. One of the most innovative ways to invest in staff is to provide employee assistance programs.

Employee assistance programs help employees who have difficulty completing their work due to a variety of issues. These could include personal matters or mental health struggles.

In this guide, we’ll explain what an employee assistance program is, how they work, and the importance of implementing one in your workplace.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

An employee assistance program, or EAP, is an employee benefit program that assists with personal or work-related problems. These problems may impact their health, work performance, or emotional wellbeing.

Employee assistance programs are paid for by the employer and can offer short term confidential counselling services for employees with personal difficulties.

How does an Employee Assistance Program Work?

An employee assistance program allows employees to access free counselling. They are often accessible 24/7. The counsellor can talk the employee through their situation and give advice on how to deal with it.

Counsellors can also refer the employee to local counselling professionals for more tailored and intensive assistance.

What Kind of Services does an Employee Assistance Program Provide?

Employee assistance programs offer a wide variety of counselling. Some counselling services include:

  • Personal difficulties.
  • Job stress.
  • Physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Interpersonal relationships.
  • Financial or legal issues.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Work-life balance.

Employee assistance programs can essentially help with any issues that have an impact on an employee’s job performance or wellbeing.

How Do Employees Receive This Counselling Service?

Employers who enroll in an employee assistance program allow employees confidential access to counselling. Employees can easily call or chat with a counselling professional.

Most counsellors under employee assistance programs have received an undergraduate or master’s degree in social work or counselling.

Why Should I Offer an Employee Assistance Program

As an employer, implementing an employee assistance program can provide a range of benefits for you. Some benefits of an employee assistance program include:

Attract and Retain Talent: Employee’s nowadays covet employers who provide a range of benefits as part of their overall compensation. Thus, you need to ensure that the benefits you provide can compete with your competition. An employee assistance program provides employees with additional resources to help cope with job stress and improve work performance and employee retention.

Reduce Absenteeism and Disability Claims: Absenteeism and disability claims can often be the result of job stress, personal issues, and diminished mental health. As an employer, you can support your employees wellbeing by implementing an employee assistance program, which can decrease the costliness associated with disability claims.

Increased Productivity and Job Satisfaction: Employees who are not happy or are dealing with issues regarding their mental health or job satisfaction are proven to have decreased workplace productivity. Employees who have access to resources to support them are happier and are more engaged in the work they are doing.

Create a Positive Work Environment: Happier employees are generally more positive, creative, and collaborative, which leads to a better work environment.

What Should I Consider When Hiring an Employee Assistance Program Provider?

Before introducing an employee assistance program into your business, it is important to do your research into the viability of implementing one. You should consider:

  • What is the experience of the provider?
  • What is their educational background?
  • How many years have they been providing this service?
  • Are they located locally?
  • Are the referrals located close to your workplace?
  • What is the scope of their services?
  • Do they deal with all types of personal issues?
  • Are their counsellors available at all times of the day?
  • Can an employee call during non-office hours?
  • Are these services available to night shift and part-time workers?
  • Does the employee assistance program provide training or education for your workers?
  • What is the process of referring employees to specialists?
  • What is the fee structure?

An employee assistance program generally charges anywhere between $3.00 to $4.00 per employee on monthly basis. It is important that you assess your financial viability before implementing such a program.

Is an Employee Assistance Program a Taxable Benefit?

Employee assistance programs in Canada are a non-taxable benefit. According to the payroll deductions and contributions of the Canada Revenue Agency, counselling services under an employee assistance program is a non-taxable benefit because the employee does not receive an economical advantage when receiving counselling services to improve their overall wellbeing.

What Makes an Employee Assistance Program Successful?

If you are looking to implement an employee assistance program or currently have one, there are several key factors that help ensure the effectiveness. These factors include:

  • Open to workers and their immediate families.
  • Recognition and commitment by management and workers that one is needed.
  • Promotion of the EAP and encouragement to use the service.
  • Managers and workers educated in how to access EAP.
  • Periodic evaluation of the EAP.
  • Continuation of quality of service through the EAP.

Get Advice on Employee Assistance Programs with BrightHR

An employee assistance program is a beneficial tool you can implement in your workplace to improve job performance, employee retention, and even workplace culture. Investing in your employees is important to retain talent.

If you need assistance with getting information about employee assistance programs or implementing one in your workplace, our BrightAdvice service allows you to receive quality advice on any employment issues you may have.

Contact us on 18882204924 or book a demo today.

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