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Research shows EAPs are 'win-win'

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) -- often available as part of group risk policies -- are a popular way of providing employees with additional help and support.

And new research shows that EAPs don't just improve the wellbeing of those who use them -- they also bring about a measurable Return on Investment (ROI) for employers.

What are EAPs?

Covering services such as short-term counselling and referrals for employees and their immediate family members, EAPs can help people deal with family issues, financial concerns, relationship problems, and even drug or legal concerns that might adversely impact their work performance, health and wellbeing.

Nearly all (90%) UK employers offer an EAP as part of their approach to supporting the mental health of staff, according to the latest Employee Benefits/Health Shield Healthcare study.

What are the benefits for employers?

Now, a global study by the International Employee Assistance Professionals Association has confirmed that EAPs really do improve workplace wellbeing and save money too.

The Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) study covered more than 30 Employee Assistance Programmes in 28 countries, and analysed the findings of more than 24,000 cases.

It found that:

  • The amount of lost work time was reduced by about five working days as a result of the EAP
  • The ROI for EAP counselling was around three times the amount of that invested

The in-depth evaluation considered five different elements:

  • Work absenteeism: absence from work in hours when someone takes time off due to a personal problem
  • Work presenteeism: a dip in productivity when a person is present at work but not functioning at their best due to a personal problem
  • Workplace distress: a person's anxiety due to work, e.g. when they say they "dread" going in
  • Work engagement: the extent to which an employee is keen to do their job
  • Life satisfaction: general wellbeing in a person's life

The research looked at these five elements at the start of a person's counselling with an EAP, and then after three months. Across all the 24,363 cases analysed:

  • Work absenteeism decreased by 27%
  • Work presenteeism was reduced by 26%
  • Workplace distress was 14% lower
  • Work engagement increased by 8%
  • Life satisfaction increased by 23%

Welcoming the research, Eugene Farrell, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association, said: "It's fascinating to see the extent to which an EAP clearly does benefit those staff who use it. It's easy for company leaders just to base their analysis of the usefulness of an EAP with an accountants' eye. But by reading this WOS report, we can see that an EAP genuinely does make those who use it feel much better about everything: their job and their life. And that can only be good for everyone: the employee, the employer, and the business's bottom line. In fact, the research also proved that an EAP has a demonstrable cost saving, so it really is a win-win."

Fidelius is experienced not only in designing employee benefit programmes, but also reviewing and ensuring what a company has is fit for purpose. If you are looking to understand how your benefits package can aid with your employees' mental health and work/life balance, then please feel free to contact us to discuss this in more detail.

Posted on December 4th 2019

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