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Employees come to work carrying the stresses and challenges of their lives outside of work. Savvy employers don’t brush this aside as an inconvenience. Instead they understand that their employees’ success at work is intimately linked to their success outside of work and take steps to promote and support the overall wellbeing of their team. Rather than see this as just another expense, they see the positive long-term effect this has on productivity and retention.

An Employee Assistance Program is one of the most useful and cost-effective benefits an employer can offer to support their team’s wellbeing. An Employee Assistance Program, or EAP, provides employees with access to experienced counselors to help navigate and resolve life’s challenges.

EAP counseling assists employees with a broad range of issues and is completely confidential. It is an important resource for employees in times of crisis, including those dealing with grief, divorce or substance abuse, but it also serves employees struggling with stress, time management, and work-life balance.

EAP counseling can also address weight loss, smoking cessation, relationship issues, childcare, parenting challenges, eating disorders, gambling addiction, and depression. In fact, employees should view their Employee Assistance Program as a resource for dealing with any personal or family difficulty.

What we see as routine stresses, such as balancing work and family obligations, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, or navigating relationships with loved ones can over time erode our happiness and ability to contribute to our families and jobs. Offering EAP counseling as part of your benefits package helps employees continue to be successful in their personal and professional lives. It also communicates to your staff that you value them and are invested in their long-term wellbeing and success.

Anthros offers an Employee Assistance Program as a standard service to all clients. The benefit is available to all of our clients’ employees, as well as all members of their household, at no cost to the employee.

The Anthros EAP also includes:

  • Unlimited phone and email counseling 24 hours a day.
  • Access to experienced, licensed counselors who have a Master’s degree or Ph.D. and at least five years of counseling experience.
  • Counseling in English, Spanish or French.

What can you do as an employer to support and make sure your employees and your company get the most out of an Employee Assistance Program? First, make sure that all employees know that this benefit is available to them. Include the information in your employee handbook, post it in all worksite locations, share flyers, and send quarterly emails to remind employees about the benefit. Remember, an EAP is not just a resource in times of crisis. It is a resource for everyone.

Second, incorporate emotional and mental health into conversations about health and wellness in your workplace. Speak openly with employees about the benefits of counseling so it is not stigmatized. Share articles about mindfulness and stress management along with reminders that EAP counseling is available.

Some employers may shy away from the cost of this additional benefit, but for only a few dollars per employee per year, your employees will have a vast resource available to them to help overcome life’s challenges. This, in turn, can reduce employee turnover and healthcare costs, and is also an attractive benefit to future employees. Most importantly, offering an EAP helps create a positive, supportive culture, which is the secret ingredient to a company’s long-term life and success.

About the Author

Helen Usher is the Director of Benefits at Anthros.

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