Q. What is an Employee Assistance Program?
A. Employee Assistance Programs were started in the U.S. in the 1940s during World War II due to the need for a stable and skilled workforce. EAPs focused largely on alcohol issues and how they impacted job performance, and services focused on improving employee functioning and retention.
EAPs that focused on rehabilitating workers with alcohol problems were found to be more cost-effective than a “revolving door” of employees with alcohol issues being fired and then ultimately rehired due to the extreme shortage of workers during wartime.
EAPs experienced tremendous growth in the 1970s, resulting in a shift away from services focusing exclusively on alcoholism toward identifying employees with impaired behavior and productivity levels. While EAPs have evolved with the changing needs of the market and workforce, services continue to be problem-focused and emphasize employee deficits.
EAPs can be employer or group supported. Programs are designed to alleviate mild to moderate employee issues. The overall goal of EAP programs is to restore the health and well-being of employees, which in turn will increase productivity and overall employee performance.
Q. Does my business need an Employee Assistance Program?
A. Employees who are equipped with tools to manage any issue that may arise in life are employees who will have the best attendance, attention and productivity on the job. There is an obvious direct correlation between the performance of your employees and the success of your business. Therefore, having an EAP available is both a benefit to your employees and to your business.
EAP industry statistics report that for every $1 that is spent on an EAP, a business can see from $5-15 returned. EAPs are arguably a “win-win” benefit, as both the employee and the business see something in return. At the same time, EAP resources are often underutilized by employees, with industry trends reporting only 3-5 percent of employees will use the available EAP counseling resources.
It’s important, therefore, to seek out an EAP that is committed to being visible and engaging for all 100 percent of your employees. Consider the philosophy, accessibility and diversity of the offered products to maximize utilization by employees and you’ll likely also maximize the outcomes for both your employees and your business.
Q. What kinds of services are included in an EAP?
A. First, we believe that EAP resources should be designed to help employees be their BEST at work. That should include tools for them to use when a problem arises. It should also include tools to help develop their professional skill sets.
Traditional Employee Assistance Programs include access to a counselor for individual services. Our EAP is much more than an Employee Assistance Program. Actually, it’s an Employee Achievement Program.
REALiving’s Employee Achievement Program includes access to a counselor to assist with navigating “bumps in the road” (also known as problems) AND access to a professional coach to assist in professional skill development. By including both resources we change up the paradigm of EAP services.
REALiving is a company with a mission and passion to help people be their BEST. That mission has driven us to incorporate some unique concepts into our EAP.