In the past week I have had the flu, lost my smartphone (which is worse according to most people) and
dealt with a dead car battery – doesn’t it always come in threes?
It’s been a stressful time period and I have not been the most patient of people (my boyfriend can attest to that). It’s not easy to respond to the stresses of managing people and projects when my reserves are low. I have found myself needing more sleep and more chocolate than usual lately.
That got me thinking about the importance of an EAP– Employee Assistance Program. Well known to those of us in the HR field, EAPs are third party vendors providing support and assistance to employees with personal issues that may affect their work performance. It has expanded over time to include support for employee and management interpersonal issues, work-related crisis counseling, and financial and legal consulting for employees and their household members.
An EAP seems like a luxury benefit…until you need it. And boy, then you really need it! Many of our clients couldn’t live without it. From specific personal issues of a death in the immediate family, to company wide crises including layoffs, to assisting an employee with locating eldercare services, EAPs help employees and managers with the difficult personal and emotional issues that can sap energy and focus as well as be the cause of employee absenteeism and reduced productivity.
The focus is two-fold for the employee and company:
(1) Getting issues managed and resolved happily for the employee and…
(2) Getting the employee productive and focused more quickly for the company
The benefit is considered an ancillary one and can be purchased as a stand-alone service, but it’s also available as a bundled product together with short term, long term disability and life insurance carriers. Employers can work with their benefits brokers to review vendors, service levels and pricing. Service options range from free 24/7/365 phone and web access, to a counselor, to free visits with a therapist in person, to discounted rates with an attorney.
For the cost of pennies, (okay quarters!) per employee per month, it’s worth it to at least consider it as an effective and proven tool to help both leaders and employees. Then, if somebody has a week like mine and they’re not functioning at the top of their game, the counselor can help them put things in perspective and get rolling again.
Always, we are here to help, so contact us with any questions or for more information.