Employee assistance program

What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a tool that has been created to implement mental health support in the workplace. This concept has been defined as “the combined efforts of employers, employees, and society to improve the health and well-being of people at work. This can be achieved through a combination of improving the work organization and environment, promoting active participation, and encouraging personal development” according to the European Network for Workplace Health Promotion

Therefore, companies apply it to take care of the well-being of their staff members. Each company designs a strategy according to its characteristics and its corporate culture, but all Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have certain features in common. Read more about them in this post. 

The Employee Assistance Program framework

As stated on the Employment Assistance Program Association factsheet, “for engaged and productive employees, it is important to establish a positive work environment that enhances and sustains a healthy culture. Providing a positive workplace for all employees can significantly benefit the growth and development of a company, improving productivity, reducing conflict, and increasing employee engagement”. 

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Naturally, this has important implications when it comes to providing employees with a safe environment that addresses the factors potentially risking their physical integrity at different levels of severity. However, what about protecting the psychological well-being of people working in a company?

In this case, it is exactly the same. The Employee Assistance Program also takes into account the field of mental health. “The Employee Assistance Program clearly has an important job to do… support in training more line managers to improve competence and understanding of mental health issues and in providing the right kind of support is fundamentally important. At a primary level, helping organizations to develop preventative measures, identify and address particular threats to employees’ mental health and wellbeing will help to build organizational resilience”,  as stated in the same framework. 

Employee Assistance Program EAP

The fact that companies take into account the psychosocial risk factors that may affect the psychological well-being of employees is an important step forward in terms of corporate culture, social benefit strategies for employees, and the right methodology to improve productivity. Moreover, even if there were companies that would like to neglect such protection, support, and upkeep of the emotional and social well-being of their employees, they must also be aware that they have a legal obligation to do so, which will be increasingly monitored by labor inspections

The Employee Assistance Program was first introduced in the United States and has spread to other countries since the 1980s. Today, the Employee Assistance Program is still very well known and is still very important, and used as “a strategic and cost-effective workplace program that is designed to assist productivity and attendance issues within the workplace and support employees to identify and resolve personal concerns that may affect job performance”.

In essence, the fact that the employees have the possibility of acquiring the ability to cope with work-related pressures, make decisions, and exercise control over their lives, is considered to be very beneficial. 

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What is the Employee Assistance Program’s main objective?

The primary objective of the Employee Assistance Program is, according to the EAPA, “to improve the quality of working life“. This obliges both company managers and individual employees to ask themselves what the quality of working life is, what aspects can affect it, and how it can be improved. 

To answer such a broad question, it is important to take into account the ongoing interaction between strictly individual factors and factors that are directly related to the relationship between colleagues or between the company and each employee. 

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Therefore, a tool as valuable as the Employee Assistance Program is fully in line with the structure of the emotional well-being program for companies that ifeel offers to its partners. This program has generated excellent results in terms of employees’ personal satisfaction but also in terms of the organization’s overall performance.

employee assistance program

Are there still companies that fail to give importance to the implementation of structured measures to foster psychological health among their employees? Of course, but those are the companies that do not consider the corporate importance of protecting the psychological well-being of their employees and measuring and identifying the factors that put them at risk. The Institute for Employment Studies states, “if implemented and utilized effectively, workplace counseling is positive for both employees and organizations committed to providing support, minimizing sickness absence, reducing presenteeism and maximizing job retention and vocational rehabilitation”. 

Steps to implement an Employee Assistance Program

Implementing an EAP can take time and resources but can positively impact employees and the organization’s overall performance. By following these steps, you can ensure that your EAP meets your organization’s needs and provides the support your employees need to be productive and engaged.

1. Conduct a needs assessment

Identify what kind of EAP would best serve your organization’s needs. You can start by conducting a needs assessment, including an anonymous survey of your employees, to identify their needs and preferences.

2. Identify your goals

Once you have identified the needs, develop program objectives and goals that align with your organization’s mission statement and values. This step involves defining the EAP’s purpose, scope, and expected outcomes.

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3. Choosing the right EAP

When selecting an EAP provider, it is important to opt for one that aligns with your organization’s values, budget, and program objectives. You should consider the provider’s reputation, experience, qualifications, and services. You can also research their case studies, see their success, and try a demo to see your employees’ responses to it. 

4. Communicate it to your employees

We all know that communication between employees is key. Let your workforce know they have mental health support as part of their benefits package. Give them details of how and why they have access to an EAP. It is also important to highlight that it is confidential and that managers and HR will not have access to their personal information.

5. Adjust and evaluate

Regularly assess the effectiveness of the EAP and make necessary adjustments to ensure that it aligns with your organization’s objectives and requirements. Employee utilization, satisfaction, and return on investment are among the metrics that can be used to measure the program’s success.

Why should we implement an Employee Assistance Program?

Implementing an Employee Assistance Program can have several benefits for a company, including:

  • Increased productivity: When employees are struggling with personal issues, they may be less productive at work. EAPs can help employees address these issues and get the support they need, which can ultimately lead to increased productivity and better job performance.
  • Reduced absenteeism and turnover: Making an EAP available to employees increases the likelihood that they will seek help for personal or work-related issues, resulting in decreased absenteeism and turnover rates. This can save the company money since recruiting and training new employees can be costly.
  • Improved morale: Offering an EAP can send a message to employees that the company cares about their well-being and is invested in their success. This can improve workplace morale and create a positive work environment.
  • Promotes a positive workplace culture: An EAP can help create a positive workplace culture that prioritizes employee well-being and fosters a sense of community among employees.
  • Compliance with legal and ethical standards: Depending on the industry, employers may be required to provide employees with access to mental health and counseling services. By implementing an EAP, companies can ensure that they are complying with legal and ethical standards while also providing support to their employees.

Emotional well-being for companies 

​​​​At ifeel, we understand that it is not possible to take care of the company without taking care of the psychological well-being of its employees. To do so, we have an emotional well-being program for companies designed by our team of occupational well-being psychologists with one main objective: to help companies place employee health at the center of their strategy to build their mission statement.  

Thanks to this partnership, the people in charge of HR departments can receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to make good decisions in a company to get the most out of the teams they are in charge of and take better care of the psychological well-being of the people in them. 

Moreover, this program offers employees a holistic mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. This service includes, if required, online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases like theirs. Try our program today so you can see how it could help you. We hope you found this post about the Employment Assistant Program useful. If you want more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

employee asistance program eap

It is a tool used by companies in different formats and implementation methods to foster their employees’ health and therefore comply with current occupational health regulations.

What is the main objective of an Employee Assistance Program?

To improve people’s lives by protecting their physical and psychological well-being at work.

Does an Employee Assistance Program also address mental health?

Yes, since people’s health is understood as a whole, both physically and psychologically, and also at work.

How do companies benefit from having an Employee Assistance Program?

Employee well-being is a key element in achieving sustainable productivity. The more comprehensive and ambitious an Employee Assistance Program is, the more the company will benefit. 

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