Why employee assistance programmes matter

Picture yourself going in to work. When you arrive, you sit down. You start up your computer. You think about why you’re there. Are you at work just to get a paycheque? Do you want to feel like a cog in a machine? Of course not. However, failing to create a workplace where employees feel valued can result in low motivation, decreased standard of work and a slow-paced energy.

Why employee assistance programmes matter

Imagine you’re looking around at your employees. What would make them feel appreciated, both inside and outside of their job? An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a great way of making staff feel like they belong at work. Here’s how they work and why they matter.

How EAPs work

EAPs are benefit schemes for staff members that assist them with personal problems that may start to affect their work/life. EAPs vary, but generally they include counselling, mentoring, confidential assessments and referrals. Those who run the EAPs can also work in collaboration with businesses to target issues in the workplace and get a better understanding of the needs and challenges of the company.

So, why do they matter?

A space to talk

An estimated one-third of Britain’s feel stressed for at least one full day per week. If your employees feel stressed, and they don’t have anyone to talk to about it, the stress can escalate into bigger problems.

Offering an EAP creates a space where employees can talk about their stress, with someone external from the office. This is particularly helpful for employees who are stressed due to personal issues such as family conflict or substance abuse, that they may not want to discuss with their colleagues. However, everyone can benefit from a reliable person they can discuss issues with confidentially, and get help. An EAP is just that.

Preventing illness

Stress is proven to cause a whole host of illnesses, due to its ability to repress the immune system. Not taking relevant steps to alleviate stress can lead to employee illness, and this has an overall negative impact on the business and its profit margin.

An EAP allows staff to discuss their problems and learn coping mechanisms. This reduces stress, which can prevent illness. Of course, employees will still get ill from time to time, but it’s good to take steps to try and prevent it. Just as taking vitamins and drinking lots of water can keep cold and flu at bay, so can talking about problems.

Creating a better culture

Two decades ago, company culture just meant the hours you worked and the people you worked with. Nowadays, businesses are working hard to make the office environment one where people want to work, by constantly improving values, beliefs and work spaces to keep employees engaged. Company culture is about more than offering free coffee and having bean bags in the co-working space. A culture that values its employees’ wellbeing is one that people will be drawn to, and will make your team more motivated.

Keeping staff on board

Just as the view of company culture has changed in the past 20 years, so has the longevity of people’s time with a particular company. A huge 91 per cent of millennials expect to stay in a job for three years or less, showing that more needs to be done to keep employees engaged. Offering employee benefits are a fantastic way of keeping employees in their job, and continuing the feeling that they are excited to work there.

There are many benefits you can offer an employee ranging from extra holiday to discount vouchers, but an EAP is perhaps the most valuable. Paying for counselling sessions can be costly, so many people choose to avoid it. Providing these sessions and ongoing support as part of an EAP is a benefit that will impact all aspects of an employee’s life, and is one they will truly appreciate.

This article was provided by Broadstone.

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