When it comes to strong internal communication, your efforts shouldn’t stop when your workforce leaves the office. That’s because your employees have needs that go beyond a medical, dental and vision plan; they also have personal needs that can be supported with the help of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
Here’s a closer look into the benefit and why it’s a must:
The Benefit Breakdown
EAPs are work-based intervention programs designed to support an employee’s mental and emotional well-being — whether in their personal or work life. The benefit supports employees and their dependents by offering referrals, short-term counseling and other resources in times of hardship, as well as circumstances like alcohol/substance abuse. An EAP counselor can also work with company managers and supervisors to address employee needs and challenges, whether that be workplace violence, trauma, or other response situations.
A Company-Wide Investment
EAPs are making a huge difference in the workplace, both in the lives of employees, and in the success of companies. In fact, studies show that as many as 8 out of 10 companies are finding improvements in employee attitude and productivity thanks to EAPs. The benefit has been shown to contribute to decreased absenteeism, fewer workers’ comps claims, greater employee retention, and much more.
And with a reported one in five American adults dealing with a mental health issue each year, workplaces need to pay attention. Investing in EAP programs is a smart move for your employees and your business. Depression can result in five missed work days and 11.5 days of reduced productivity in a 3-month period … That’s an estimated 200 million lost workdays each year, costing employers a whopping $17 to $44 billion. Long story short, not addressing your employees’ mental health is simply not good internal comm.
The Next Generation of Your Workforce
With Millennials predicted to make up 40 percent of the working population by 2020, the importance of EAPs is not only rising as the next generation steps into your office — We believe it’s becoming a Millennial must.
According to Forbes, this generation has different expectations for the workplace – rather than a work/life balance, 88 percent of Millennials want to see more of a work/life integration, where companies establish meaningful resources to help employees balance the impact of work at home and in the office. And an EAP can provide that.
EAP Communication Tips
So, with all this talk about the importance of EAPs, how do you communicate it effectively once it’s in place? Here are some tips.
- Advertise the safe zone.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
- Confidentiality is key.
According to Business Insurance, advertising the less-intrusive services of an EAP such as financial planning rather than mental health counseling to your employees first might be a smart move. This draws employees into the program without fear that it will attract negative attention from co-workers.
Make sure your communication efforts reinforce the variety of resources available. Continue to remind your employees of the accessibility of the resources and programs and make sure the EAP remains top of mind.
Not only do you need to remind your employees that they are not alone, you also need to consistently reassure them of the program’s privacy protections – that their trust in you is crucial to the program.
No matter if you’ve had an EAP in place for years, or if you’re just now beginning implementation and communication, the impact this benefit can have on both your business and your workforce is a must for your internal comm.