SHRM recently published an article by Dave Zielinski about choosing an EAP. Dave shared that EAPs have traditionally counseled workers with alcohol and substance abuse issues. More recently, programs counsel on a much broader scale and can include services for child or elder care, legal problems, wellness and in critical times such as the aftermath of an event of workplace violence.
The article prompted me to think about the numerous times I have recommended an EAP program to staff. I can honestly say I am fortunate enough to have heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from almost everyone that contacted EAP. Numerous employers offer some type of Employee Assistance Program. It can be alongside the benefits package, for instance, through Anthem or another provider, or it can be a stand-alone program through a hospital or boutique clinic. Most programs offer 3-6 free professional counseling sessions per issue, and once completed they help individuals find additional free resources or assist in setting up further counseling or medical care from an in-network provider using the insurance carriers network.
My philosophy has become, when in doubt, recommend EAP. Almost every underlying issue (attendance, low productivity, tardiness, performance) can be linked to an area of life outside of work that an employee brings with them. I’ve had an employee on a final written warning for tardiness; we sat down to discuss the situation, I recommended EAP, and they later told me that the counselor had several ideas that eliminated them being late from work. The employee had taken over care for her sister’s two children and was struggling getting them ready and dropped off at school and allowing herself enough time to get to work. The counselor worked with her to find resources in her neighborhood for transportation to school for the children and the employee started to carpool with another coworker so she knew someone was relying on her to get to work on time as well. The best part is she was able to get one of the children counseling (because our plan covered any one living in the same household) who was having great difficulty with the transition and her mother unfortunately not being in the picture any longer. Happy coworker and happy manager!
I can’t tell you how many times recently I have reminded clients to recommend EAP to their staff. It’s there, it’s free to the employee and it brings amazing results. I know we try and try as HR specialists to solve everyone’s problems – we can’t do it alone, so please extend and promote EAPs.
If you have a program – please tell your managers, tell your staff, and tell your executive team to use and recommend it. If you need help promoting it, Purple Ink can help too…we no longer want EAP overlooked, we want it to be your go-to, also!