Employee Assistance Programs

Nearly everything you need to know

 

Workplace related stress is on the rise in Australia. As per a mental health check-in survey conducted on 3,500 employees in Australia, one-third of the participants were found to be suffering from some form of mental illness. Among them, 36% had depression, 33% had anxiety and 31% were suffering from stress.

This contributes to various physical and mental health problems in employees and ultimately hurts organizations in terms of increased absenteeism and turnover, decreased productivity and return on investment.

To avoid these undesired outcomes, stress alleviation and management has become an important concern for employers. They need to undertake concrete measures quickly for stress eradication and for improving mental health and job performance of their workers. 

In view of a huge number of employees suffering from the harmful effects of work-related stress, both employers and employees need to adopt solutions for stress alleviation and management. EAPs or employee assistance programs can prove to be useful solutions for stress management, control and eradication.

 

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program which helps employees to identify and resolve personal and work-related problems that may negatively  effect their mental and physical health and emotional wellbeing. EAP ensures that a workplace accords high importance and value to its employees’ wellbeing and promotes a culture where employees are aware that their wellbeing is crucial for personal as well as professional development.

Employee assistance programs are designed by expert psychologists to support and guide employees to overcome their problems by imparting them necessary skills and guidance. The program will ultimately help to improve and maintain their mental health, enhance their focus, performance and productivity at work and improve the quality of their personal and professional life. 

Benefits 

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Immediate assistance 
  3. Avoids escalation
  4. Alleviates and resolves personal issues
  5. Improves employees mental health and psychological wellbeing
  6. Creates a happy, healthy and fulfilling workplace culture
  7. Employer benefits

Traditional EAP

A traditional EAP includes preventive and proactive interventions employed for the early identification and resolution of both work and personal issues faced by employees. 

In traditional employee assistance programs, employees attend face-to-face counselling and/or coaching sessions with a licenced healthcare professional. In these sessions, the employee will be taught various skills and exercises like breathing, mindfulness, etc. which will help to address various health, personal and work related issues. Also, attending the sessions will assist the employee in altering their mindset, building values and managing stress. These will help to improve mental health of the employee as well as enhance focus, performance and productivity at work. 

In a traditional employee assistance program, an employee has to take part in a limited number of counseling/wellness sessions which stretch over a certain time period. For in-person therapy, the employee has to travel to the place of a psychologist or wellness coach. At times, an employing organization may conduct the employee assistance program at its workplace where psychologists associated with a particular EAP service provider will visit and provide counseling to its  employees and teach them various stress alleviation skills and exercises. 

 

EAP Technology 

New EAP technology has been developed by university researchers over the past 10 years in the field of eHealth. This technology has made it easy for employees to consult with clinicians and coaches more conveniently through their smartphone, to reduce the need of meeting clinicians or coaches in-person. 

EAP technology enables employees to seek help and support via multiple channels, from chat/email to messaging to phone or video call. This encourages more employees to seek consultation from experts for managing their personal and work related issues, health or financial concerns which contribute in affecting their job performance. 

** i think this should be more specific and reference AI and what we do- specific wellbeing measures, clinical trials, how face-to-face counselling compares to digital  

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