I was talking with a prospective customer recently, and I asked her why her organization offered an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). She provided a few explanations, but her main reason was that it’s the right thing to do. I then had to ask, “If you already have a program in place, why are you talking with me?”

While it would have been nice to hear that it was because I did a such a great job communicating with her, it came down to something else. The answer still involved communication, but it was her EAP’s lack of communication.

I was surprised by this, as she and her organization had a standalone EAP.

I routinely hear this complaint from organizations that have an embedded EAP, meaning the EAP is included within an insurance benefit. But I seldom hear this complaint from those with a traditional standalone EAP.

She was frustrated because she knew her employees could benefit from their EAP services, especially in balancing their work and life responsibilities, but they were unaware of their benefit.

I certainly agreed with her and we discussed how communication needs to be ongoing—and cover various topics to broaden its impact.

I shared a past experience when I needed a lawyer for a legal dispute related to a boat. Even though I worked for the EAP, I neglected to immediately consider the fact that I could resolve my concern with a simple phone call, which would cost me nothing.

Our conversation reinforced what I had been reading this past year:

According to a recent study by Unum, nearly half of the 1,210 working U.S. adults surveyed said their employer does not offer an EAP or they are unsure if they do.

What’s driving this lack of awareness? Here are some explanations:

  • The EAP provides limited or no marketing materials or promotions.
  • The EAP does not provide an adequate orientation for employees and managers.
  • The EAP does not provide manger consultations.

Research has found a link between employee happiness and productivity: Happy employees are 13% more productive. Healthy employees are also more productive and take fewer sick days.

Here are some additional benefits an EAP can have, according to a recent article from Business.com:

  • More employees arrive to work on time
  • Employees take less time off
  • Employers see higher retention rates
  • Better work performance overall by staff
  • Fewer health insurance claims being filed
  • Fewer disability claims being filed
  • Fewer labor disputes
  • Fewer workplace accidents
  • Fewer workers’ compensation claims
  • Employees are more engaged in the company and their jobs

It is true that providing an EAP is the right thing to do. But unless employees are aware of this helpful benefit, many organizations and their employees are not getting the full value of their EAP.

Please contact us to discuss your goals and how you can further impact employee and organizational resilience; be it with FEI or your existing EAP provider.