How can employers better connect employees with their resources?
Most employers — 77 percent, according to a 2016 SHRM report — offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Services for their employees.
An EAP is a confidential workplace service provided by the employer that helps employees deal issues that could potentially interfere with their productivity at work, including financial stress, professional or personal relationships, and even drug or legal concerns.
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However, many employees do not take advantage of their EAP resources. Why? Maybe the program was not formally introduced to them or perhaps employees are afraid to ask for help.
Lydia Caraveo (Grinnell Mutual), Tammy Hoyman (Employee & Family Resources) and Elizabeth Nigut (EMC Insurance Companies) lead a breakout session on employee resources at the 2019 Healthiest State Initiative Annual Conference.
A panel of human resources professionals including Tammy Hoyman from Employee & Family Resources, Lydia Caraveo from Grinnell Mutual and Beth Nigut, J.D., of EMC Insurance, shared with attendees at the 2019 Healthiest State Initiative Annual Conference how to better connect employees with the resources they need.
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The key is to be proactive in sharing resources with your employees.
Communicate early and often.
EAP programs are often underutilized because the benefit is not effectively communicated to employees. Think beyond the on-boarding process and create an easy-to-understand EAP explainer that is routinely distributed to employees using paper and digital copies. Incorporate EAP resource education into any communications you may already have, including Lunch and Learn programming or Mindful Monday newsletters.
Be available and convenient.
Connecting employees with resources means being available when they need them. EFR provides a 24/7/365 phone line answered by counselors, in-person sessions, on-site crisis response and management consultation to the companies it serves. Grinnell Mutual has an on-site clinic at their headquarters in Grinnell where employees can seek help for physical health issues, and also speak with a therapist, reducing the barrier to care.
Anticipate issues before they happen.
EMC Insurance shared examples of times where they were proactive in providing resources to their employees. During a staff reduction, staff from their EAP was on-site for a three-week period to support employees during the transition. In another instance, after manager's spouse committed suicide, team members were prepped by EAP staff on how to provide a supportive environment when the manager returned to work.
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