Employee assistance programmes (EAP)

What is an employee assistance programme?

Employee assistance programmes (EAP) are confidential counselling services designed to support your team who are experiencing personal or work-related problems. Many organisations offer EAPs as part of their employee benefits package. 

EAP aims to help your team resolve their issues before they affect their wellbeing and work performance. EAP counsellors can provide support and advice on a range of issues, including:

  • Mental health issues 
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship problems
  • Bereavement
  • Financial problems 

In some cases, they may also be able to offer practical assistance, such as signposting employees to other support services.

Why have an employee assistance programme?

EAP is a voluntary scheme; however, it has become necessary since many employees deal with a lot of personal and work issues, especially after the pandemic. Research found that the most common issues employees deal with are:

  • Work-related stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Family issues

At one point, each of your workers will struggle with something. It could be money problems or family issues, so it’s a good idea to have EAP as a tool to help your employees, which will improve the business since your team is your company’s core.

Employee assistance programmes can offer many advantages for you and your team. 

For the employer: 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Create a more positive working environment
  • Save costs 
  • Improve employee retention

For the employee:

  • Help deal with personal issues
  • Improve employee wellbeing 
  • Reduce absenteeism

How to access the employee assistance programme

You pay a monthly premium to a specialised company that provides EAP services and then offer it as an employee benefit to your team. Generally, the cost can reach between 40p and £1.25 per worker. There are three ways for your team to access the programme:

  • Telephone services (the most common)
  • face-to-face counselling
  • online

What are the features of employee assistance programmes?

The key features of employee assistance programmes vary depending on the provider, but they typically include the following:

  • Confidentiality:

EAPs provide confidential counselling, where all interactions are strictly private and are only known by the counsellor and the employee.

  • Support for employees' families:

Many EAPs offer support for employees' families. This may include counselling services, financial advice, legal assistance and parenting support.

  • Online resources

Some EAPs offer online resources, such as articles, self-assessment tools and links to helpful websites. Employees can access these resources at any time, from anywhere.

What services are most commonly offered through employee assistance programs?

Employee assistance programmes can offer a wide range of services, but the most common ones are:

  • Counselling services 

It can help employees deal with personal problems such as stress, anxiety or depression.

  • Assessment Services 

It can help employees identify work-related problems that may be affecting their job performance.

  • Referral services

It can help employees find external support services, such as financial counselling or legal advice. 

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