Wellbeing in the workplace is now becoming a staple part of corporate HR. When companies prioritise their people, their health and growth, the ROI in recruiting, retaining, work output and overall business performance is clear to see and can’t be argued with.
Implementing Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) as a way of putting pen to paper and showing your commitment to your team is a great way to go about improving wellbeing in the workplace.
What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)?
An Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) is a workplace benefit that contains access to services and support of your choosing. EAPs are an excellent way to show commitment to your staff’s health and wellbeing. When pulling a programme together it can be as narrow or as broad as you want it to be and can range from fitness programmes to counselling services, medical or financial advice and more. For families, there may be help with adoption support or childcare provision, or legal advice to ease the stress of a family break-up. Programmes are delivered free to employees and are normally also available to spouses or cohabiting partners and children.
Why should you implement an EAP?
Investing in your employees’ mental, physical and emotional wellness and supporting their practical needs will help build a positive company culture and improve employee engagement. A happy workforce where every member feels valued will go the extra mile for their employer.
Nurturing a happy, productive team
Employees who are dealing with personal difficulties, financial issues or mental health problems are unlikely to be able to work to the best of their abilities. Without any support, their work performance and morale are bound to decline. But with help available via an EAP, problems can be shared and dealt with before they become a serious issue. In a company that puts employee wellbeing at the core of its workplace culture, team members are not only happier to be there but are more productive as a result of feeling valued.
Recruiting and retaining top talent
It’s a job seekers’ market out there, and candidates are increasingly valuing company benefits and culture as key decision-making criteria for accepting a position. Having an attractive EAP in place can be a valuable tool to help you recruit and retain the best talent. Not only is it solid evidence that your business is a great place to work and has high staff morale, it also shows the world that you genuinely care about staff welfare.
Reducing business costs
According to a recent report by Deloitte, poor mental health costs UK businesses up to £45 billion per year. An EAP can be instrumental in reducing staff absence on account of a personal problem, enabling the issue to be shared, addressed and overcome, for everyone’s benefit.
What should your Employee Assistance Programme cover?
An EAP should provide a confidential, safe and trusted space for any team member who is experiencing problems at work or at home and would benefit from professional help and advice. Below are some valuable suggestions to inspire your company’s EAP.
Free or subsidised gym memberships
A healthy, active lifestyle should always be encouraged. The health dangers of sedentary jobs have been well publicised, and regular exercise has been recognised as helping to improve mental health, combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and much more. Free or subsidised gym memberships can be a good way to help everyone in your team maintain good physical health and boost their mental health too. With a workforce that’s physically and mentally firing on all cylinders, the sky’s the limit.
Mental health support
Ensure that you actively remove any stigma still persisting around mental health issues and promote a culture of openness and visibility within the workplace. Depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement, divorce, eating disorders, substance abuse… are all issues that may affect any team member at any one time and prevent them from living a normal life. There are options available to show support to your employees. Why not provide access to a 24/7 confidential helpline? Meditation and mindfulness resources to help alleviate stress? Flexible work schedules? Access to a professional counsellor?
Not everyone is on top of their finances, and money worries can seriously affect a person’s psychological wellbeing, leading to greater stress and anxiety. This, in turn affects concentration levels and productivity at work and can result in poor decision making, poor performance and poor attendance.
A corporate EAP scheme can help in lots of practical ways, from providing access to independent financial advisers and mortgage brokers to offering relocation packages, enhanced pensions contributions and salary sacrifice schemes. You could also offer your employees discounts and freebies for life’s essentials such as groceries and travel costs. If you have an existing employee benefits scheme, make a point of ensuring that employees are aware of all the benefits they are entitled to receive.
It is understandable not knowing where to start in accessing legal information and it is extremely easy for this to topple over into overwhelm. Access to legal information for employees can range from marriage counselling, advice and support surrounding divorce or family concerns. It can also be free information and links to legal guidance on many aspects such as debt management, lawsuits, consumer or property disputes.
Through an EAP employees have confidential access to counsellors and resources. While employers pay for this service, they receive no information into what is discussed during the sessions or how the employee is using the service. This means that the employee can feel comfortable discussing all issues and receive confidential support on the matters affecting them most. For small businesses, an EAP helps your business improve employee retention, increase productivity and become a beacon for attracting top talent in the future.
If you’d like to offer an Employee Assistance Programme but don’t know where to begin or if you require HR advice on another topic, KUHR can offer free support and advice. Book a call at a time convenient to you with one of our HR experts by clicking the button below.