What’s So Special About Employee Assistance Programs?

  • Do you have employees who struggle with difficult financial problems?
  • Are there employees at your company who face challenges caring for elderly family members?
  • Has mental illness affected your staff or their families?
  • Does substance abuse impact the performance of some employees?
  • Have your employees or their families experienced cancer or other chronic health conditions?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. For many of our employees, life is a complex undertaking. Workers are providing support to themselves, their children, and their own parents. While our economy is recovering, many people are still dealing with the aftermath of lost jobs and financial insecurity.  Physical and emotional health issues impact most of us at some times in our lives. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your employees during these difficult times.

employee assistance program

So, what is an EAP?

Think of an EAP as a 911 call, but rather than reaching emergency services, the call is made to an organization that can assess the financial, social, addiction, or mental health services your employees need and connect them to resources in your community that can further help them. EAP services are sometimes provided bundled with group life and disability insurance products you may purchase, or can be purchased as a standalone product.

How do I choose an EAP?

One big consideration is whether to choose a national EAP service or a locally based service. If you have a geographically diverse workforce, a national EAP is likely your best solution as they would be able to provide services electronically or telephonically to all of your employees. On the other hand, if you are in a smaller geography that is served by a local EAP, you may be able to tap into EAP representatives to come on site and conduct informational sessions, training, and other onsite services. This may work to your favor in familiarizing employees with the services the EAP provides, resulting in higher utilization by them.

EAPs may offer other services such as wellness programs, drug free workplace and DOT compliance programs, and pre-employment screening programs to name just a few. Costs are typically based upon the number of employees you have and the menu of services you select. 

As with any vendor you consider purchasing services from, ask them for references of employers using their services who you can contact to verify the quality of the actual services that are provided.

Why is an EAP a good solution?

  • EAPs are confidential. The employee can seek help without sharing personal details with you which may make them more likely to seek assistance.
  • Therefore, it takes you the HR professional, the department manager or the business owner out of the middle saving you time.
  • The employee gets professional assistance specific to their situation – often much more comprehensive assistance than you could provide.
  • Employees who have resources to help them address their problems are more likely to have higher productivity and less stress in their lives.
  • Your employee gets help – which is what you want for your employee.

Employee Assistance Programs are good for both employers and their employees. If you would like assistance in selecting an EAP to add to your benefits offerings, please contact your Benefits Consultant at Hausmann-Johnson Insurance.

Posted in: Human Resources

Posted by Mary Jo Spiekerman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

With over 20 years of human resources management in numerous industries, Mary Jo is uniquely qualified to advise the clients of Hausmann-Johnson Insurance on human resources related issues. She provides guidance on complex employment topics such as employee relations, talent management, recruitment, onboarding, and training. Mary Jo and her team help “lighten the load” for clients that may otherwise spend a lot of time, effort and energy attempting to do their own risk management and employee benefits administration. Mary Jo is especially excited about the journey Hausmann-Johnson has taken to become designated as a Great Place to Work by the Great Place to Work Institute. She began studying the process over 10 years ago and when she joined Hausmann-Johnson she knew the pieces were in place to catapult the agency onto the list of the 10 Best Places to Work in Insurance, which was achieved in 2015. Mary Jo is a graduate of Marian University with degrees in Business Administration and Human Relations. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Community Support Network and serves as a consultant to the Personnel Committee of her village board. When she’s not working she takes the time to relax with family and friends at her cabin on the Wisconsin/Upper Michigan border.