Why You Should Consider an Employee Assistance Program
EAPs Increase Productivity and Engagement
EAPs, or Employee Assistance Programs, are fairly common in 88% of Fortune 500 companies, according to Sarah Gallo in her article on Training Industry. A white paper by William White and David Sharer shows that EAPs in one form or another can be traced back to the late 1700s due to a heavy drinking culture within certain occupations that often led to employees becoming alcoholics, thus negatively affecting their performance levels over time. By the late1980s EAPs became more formalized and expanded to address drugs, behavioral health issues, and work-life/dependent care situations.
Despite EAPs being created to support employees during challenging circumstances to make their lives more manageable, many employees either don’t know those services are available to them or shy away from taking advantage of them unless it’s absolutely necessary because of a sense of shame in needing them. In her article, Gallo mentions The American Productivity Audit completed a year-long telephone survey of almost 29,000 working adults which showed the annual cost of health-related “lost productive time” in the U.S. is over $200 billion per year – which includes both absences from work as well as “presenteeism” (“health-related reduced performance” while at work). EAPs are designed to be a completely free and confidential resource for employees in order to change that.
Training leadership to educate their employees about EAPs in addition to creating a culture of acceptance in using them, is extremely important. Not only will that reduce business costs in the form of low productivity, but it also gives employees an opportunity to quickly address personal challenges which could spiral into workplace consequences as they try to manage it during their workday.
To read Gallo’s article about Employee Assistance Programs, click here.
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Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.
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