Key Differences between Traditional and Digital EAP
The rising stress levels in the Australian employees is a cause of grave concern. Increased stress is not only affecting employees’ mental health, wellbeing and work performance, but is also hurting employing organizations in terms of reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover and enhanced spending on employee health benefits.
For promoting workers’ mental health and wellbeing, psychologists have formulated employee assistance programs. These traditional EAPs provide employees with counselling and guidance to teach them skills for stress management and alleviation. With increasing technological advancements, employee assistance programs are becoming increasingly more accessible and effective.
The rising levels of employees suffering from mental health conditions, reported as 1 in 5 Australian workers each year, has highlighted the importance of increasing EAP utilization. However, the accessibility of traditional EAP means only 1 in 20 employees will access the program offered by their workplace.
While traditional EAPs require employees to visit a psychologist, technology-based EAPs like Uprise provide employees counselling through a mobile or desktop app. Technology-based or digital EAPs provide employees guidance in a more convenient way that suits busy employees who are short of time and unable to conveniently attend appointments. Digital programs also provide employees greater confidentiality when seeking psychological support, where taking leave to visit a psychologist may have raised awareness from their employers.
Digital EAP increases employee confidentiality and maximises the accessibility of psychological support. All these benefits contribute to the higher utilisation of digital EAPs at 17% as compared to 4% utilisation of traditional EAPs.
Traditional EAPs undertake a reactive approach where programs are designed for employees who are already in crisis. Compared to this, digital EAPs like Uprise follow a proactive approach for stress management. They identify employees suffering from stress early and prevent crises from happening, which helps to maintain their mental health and work productivity.
By waiting until crisis, traditional EAPs ultimately cost more to employers as it becomes more difficulty and takes longer to treat affected employees. In comparison, online EAPs can be delivered in less than half the time and at a quarter of the cost incurred in face-to-face sessions.
As employees can seek guidance and advice from psychologists through online EAPs in 15-30 minutes when they have time in their schedule, this does not cause any loss of valuable working for the employers.
A main benefit of digital EAP is its capacity to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of its programs. It is difficult to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of traditional EAPs as these programs are manual in nature. In comparison, online EAPs have inbuilt wellbeing measures taken periodically in order to track success and identify and prevent stress from reaching crisis point.
Digital EAP has been found to measurably improve sleep quality, wellbeing measures and reduce self-reported stress levels. The outcomes of digital EAP have been shown to be as effective as in-person counselling and providing the same outcomes as face-to-face sessions with a psychologist. Uprise additionally identifies and recommends employees to psychologists when additional or alternative treatment is required.