02 Apr Support Employees by Promoting Your EAP
In today’s world, great employers are doing more than ever before to support employees. One example of this is having an employee assistance program available. Not only does an EAP support employees with a variety of personal and professional concerns, but it has great benefits for the business as well. Studies have shown that companies get an average return on investment of over $10,000 per year for each employee who used an EAP. This is due to increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and increased morale and emotional wellbeing. So, with all of the benefits an EAP can provide to both support employees and employers, why is EAP utilization often so low?
It’s important for a business to consistently promote EAP services, and it has to begin with leadership.
The average utilization rate for EAPs is around 5.5%. Why, when there is such a clear upside, do people still shy away from engaging with this particular benefit? One aspect negatively affecting utilization is the ongoing stigma around mental health issues. Thankfully that stigma is becoming less of a concern, but for many it still weighs heavily. Additionally, many employees have an ingrained mistrust around using company services that are intended to be confidential. Some may worry that if that confidentiality is broken, their career path, promotions, or relationships with co-workers may be damaged.
There’s a point at which a business’ ability to support employees is hindered by their willingness to take advantage of that support, but there are still ways to increase EAP utilization. It’s important for a business to consistently promote EAP services, and it has to begin with leadership.
Who Should Promote Your EAP?
- HR: EAP promotion should happen during new employee orientation, as well as in staff newsletters and other regular internal communications throughout the year. Your human resources department should also promote the EAP as a benefit to prospective employees.
- Managers: Not only should managers be aware of the EAP/MAP services available to themselves, but also make sure they are able to effectively and appropriately communicate the presence of those benefits to their team. Managers are often the ones who will first notice a need for EAP services in their team members, and need to be prepared and trained on how to proceed.
- Events: If your company holds any sort of mental health campaign, wellness fair, financial class, or anything else under the purview of the employee support benefits offered by your EAP, it should be promoted at such an event.
- Employees: Depending on your company culture, it may be effective to have testimonials from employees who have used the EAP and had great benefits. Again, the priority should be for confidentiality, but if an employee chooses to share their experience, often personal recommendations hold more weight than other forms of promotion.
How to Promote an EAP
- Effective Communication: To support employees, consistency of communication is key. As hrmorning.com puts it, “Your employees can’t use your EAP if they don’t know about it or where to find additional information. Employers should put EAP info everywhere — the employee handbook, fliers around the office, links on the intranet homepage, etc.”
- Train Your Leadership: As team leaders, managers will be the most likely to see the need for EAP intervention in the people they manage. Understanding how they should proceed in those situations is key. Make sure your leaders understand the EAP and are well trained to promote it under appropriate circumstances. Buy-in from leadership is one of the best ways to increase utilization.
- Track EAP Usage: Without tracking your EAP usage, you won’t know if your efforts to support employees are working. As you increase promotion of the EAP, train your leaders, and communicate effectively, you should see an increase in utilization. In addition, as utilization increases, you will begin to see decreased absenteeism, increased morale, and increased productivity.
Ultimately, it is vital to work towards increased utilization of your EAP to be able to better support employees, increase productivity, and have a healthier workplace all around. The benefits can improve the wellbeing of the business as well as individuals. Get in touch with your EAP for more tips and promotional materials.
Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.