In today’s fast-paced and competitive recruiting and work environment, employee wellbeing is becoming an important way to set your organisation apart from the rest. Forty-three per cent of Australians aged 16-85 years will experience some sort of mental health disorder in their lifetime, while one in five will experience a mental health disorder that lasts longer than 12 months.
Your employees are your organisation’s most important asset – without a healthy and productive team working alongside you, your organisation won’t get very far. If you have employees struggling with their mental health, even if it’s not workplace-related, the flow-on effects can be felt throughout the entire organisation.
Employee Assitance Programs (EAPs) are an effective way for organisations to support their employees’ mental and emotional health. These programs offer a wide range of benefits not only for employees but also for the organisations that provide them.
What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a workplace benefit that offers confidential, short-term counselling and referral services to employees dealing with personal and professional challenges.
For employees, it means they can access a set number of free, professional mental health support to discuss issues that are affecting them at work or in their personal lives. For employers, EAPs are an important method for early intervention in reducing the impact of mental ill-health in the workplace.
EAPs have been shown to have a significant positive impact on employees’ mental health and wellbeing and can provide an effective avenue for employees to seek additional or more tailored support as needed.
EAPs are gaining in popularity as more organisation leaders begin to understand the value they bring to their employees and overall organisation success.
Here are five key benefits of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Improved employee wellbeing
One of the primary benefits of EAPs is the improvement in employee wellbeing. These programs offer employees access to professional counsellors and therapists who can help them navigate various personal and work-related challenges.
Whether an employee is dealing with work-related stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, or family issues, EAPs provide a supportive space for individuals to seek help. Importantly, these sessions are confidential and impartial, which may make employees feel more comfortable addressing issues than if they were speaking to someone internally.
By addressing these issues, employees can improve their overall wellbeing, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.
- Enhanced productivity
Mental and emotional wellbeing are closely linked to productivity. When employees are mentally-well they are more likely to be able to focus on their work and perform at their best. Collectively, mental health issues cost Australian organisations billions of dollars every year in lost productivity.
As remote and hybrid working becomes more common, employees are more likely to be isolated from their teams while working from home or other locations outside of the office. While remote and hybrid working does offer enormous benefits to organisations, leaders need to be aware of how reduced in-person interactions can affect their teams.
EAPs can help employees address any personal or professional issues and get back on track. By providing employees with the tools and resources they need to navigate life’s challenges, leaders can ensure that their teams remain engaged and focused on their tasks.
- Reduced absenteeism
Mental health issues are a leading cause of absenteeism in the workplace. When employees are feeling stressed or anxious in the workplace, they are more likely to request days off, which can have flow-on effects with other employees or organisation areas.
When employees receive assistance and guidance to manage their challenges effectively, they are less likely to be absent for extended periods.
- Reduce employee turnover and be an employer of choice
Recruitment and training of new employees is often a major cost for organisations. An EAP can help reduce turnover by creating a culture that supports mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Not only are current employees more likely to stay with an employer that values their wellbeing, having an EAP in place can also help your organisation attract the right new employees as it grows.
- Cost savings for employers
While implementing an EAP may involve a financial investment for employers, the long-term benefits can outweigh the initial costs. EAPs can lead to significant cost savings by reducing turnover, absenteeism, and employee healthcare expenses. When employees are mentally and emotionally healthy, they are less likely to require costly medical treatment or therapy outside of the workplace.
EAPs are a valuable resource that benefits both employees and employers alike. They contribute to improved employee wellbeing, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, decreased turnover, and cost savings for employers. By investing in the mental and emotional health of their workforce, organisations can create a more supportive, productive, and positive work environment. EAPs are a win-win solution for all involved, and they are a crucial part of a modern, employee-centric workplace.
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