Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) help you to get the best out of your people, but are you getting the best out of your programme?
EAPs provide staff with access to counselling and resources to help them manage any work/life challenges. This, in turn, supports productivity within the business.
Unfortunately, many EAPs are under-utilised, which isn’t much help to anyone. It’s not commonly known that some of these programmes offer services like financial counselling, relationships and career advice, and even legal advice, etc.
If you think your EAP is under-utilised here are six ideas to help:
Promote your programme and do it often and in different ways. Think emails, team meetings, lunch and learns, easy-to-understand collateral, intranet posts. A clear, consistent and frequent message will help put your EAP on mental speed dial when people are in need.
Eliminate any red tape, and let your team know how easy it is. Tell people if they don’t need a manager to sign off or how they can book. Think of all the questions a nervous first-timer might have and create a plain English FAQ to share.
One big barrier to uptake is the fear people have that what they discuss in counselling will get back to the workplace. Generally, EAP services are confidential, unless an individual is considered to be at risk.
Challenge any stigmas people might hold about mental wellbeing. It’s best if this comes from the top. You might have your CEO be your champion, or even have senior management who could offer testimonials. An act of personal bravery here could transform your workplace.
Promote and share articles and videos about mental wellbeing, managing relationships and healthy living. It’s a simple way to encourage people to make personal wellbeing part of the workplace culture. You can also talk to Southern Cross about starting a BeingWell programme which can complement your existing programme.
To get the best out of your EAP, make sure you also collaborate closely with your programme provider. Their experience and insights from working with other New Zealand companies could prove invaluable.