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Why an EAP May Be the Best Choice for Your Organization

Employee Assistance Programs include a variety of employee wellness strategies. EAP programs often include counseling, training, advice and policies designed to support employees and develop a successful work-life balance. They offer help to resolve challenges that impact work, though the problems don't have to be caused by workplace issues. 

As employers seek innovative ways to recruit and retain employees, an increasing number are turning to EAPs for a value-add benefit. Simply put, an EAP provides confidential support for employees, answers questions and makes suggestions about resources, and offers insight into a variety of home-life-work concerns. Most programs offer unlimited phone consultations and several one-on-one sessions with a counselor for each employee.

Worth noting, it isn't only the employees who benefit from EAPs. There are also many advantages afforded to employers. Here are some reasons why companies are turning to this system of support.

EAP Reduces Financial Expenditures

Employers who invest in an Employee Assistance Program reap numerous financial benefits. These include:

  • Reduced absenteeism: Employees who access EAP services report 52 percent fewer absences than those who do not use such services;
  • Reduced health care expenses;
  • Lessening employee turnover and associated costs;
  • Facilitating a quicker return to work after extended absences;
  • Increases early detection and care strategies for illnesses and injuries;
  • Reduced incidences of workplace accidents.

EAP Increases Investment in Employees

While it's easy to find replacement employees in most circumstances, it isn't easy to find high-quality replacements. Employers who recognize this and invest in their employees find themselves in much less turmoil than businesses who perceive employees as expendable. Such benefits of employee investment include:

  • Retaining good employees;
  • Encouraging employee buy-in and engagement in the company;
  • Developing employee and supervisor competencies by building skills around maintaining work-life balance, managing workplace stress, and cooperative work;
  • Forming short-term problem resolution services.

EAPs Thwart Workplace Business Risks

As a business owner or employer, there are substantial risks. An effective EAP program helps circumvent these risks by:

  • Reducing the incidence of workplace violence, harassment or other safety concerns;
  • Preparing for emergency situations and minimizing disruptions after emergencies occur;
  • Mitigating the impact of disruptive workplace situations, including violence, disasters, death or other crisis scenarios;
  • Lessening the likelihood of legal proceedings or liability by promoting effective workplace practices;
  • Helping employees adjust to shifts in personnel, policy and protocol or other workplace changes.

The impact of EAPs depends largely on several factors: the method of implementation; the awareness and promotion of the program; manager buy-in; and employee culture. While different EAPs offer varying services, most provide psychological support, referrals to services, financial counseling, elder care assistance, and substance abuse services.

If you or your organization are interested in implementing an EAP program, or if you'd like to know more about the services offered, contact Southwest EAP today. We are a full-service assistance program offering ongoing and emergent services for organizations of all sizes.

Categories:EAP Effectiveness

Tags:EAP

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Tips to Help your Kids Stay Safe Online

Parents and kids online

When you’re at work, any number of factors can influence your performance during the day. But non-work situations can have an equal impact on the quality of your work.  Struggles at home can make it difficult to stay engaged. With your mind elsewhere, you might find hours passing you by with little completed work.

One of the toughest challenges parents face today is helping their children navigate the internet. Almost every child and teen today is exposed daily to social media, which can lead to unique concerns that couldn’t have even been imagined ten years ago.

As employee assistance providers in Arkansas, we dedicate our work to helping people just like you wade through all kinds of issues and challenges. We often work with parents who are struggling with relating well to their children in terms of their online lives.

Here, you’ll find a few actions you can take to help your children navigate the often-confusing online world. An employee assistance provider can help you take these tips further and personalize them to what works best for you.

Ask Before Posting

Though it may be tough to acknowledge, parents must examine how their own use of social media might be affecting their child, and what message it’s sending. According to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as one-third of newborns have their photos uploaded to social sharing sites such as Facebook or Instagram within their first 24 hours of life on Earth.

 

Using social sites is an easy way to keep family members updated about your kids, but check your privacy settings. Make sure you’re not sharing photos with the entire world. Also, if your kids are old enough, ask them first if they would like the picture to appear online. This can teach them that they alone determine if and where their image appears.

 

This offers your children an added layer of protection: If they see their image online without their consent, they will know to tell you about it. This simple step will set a great example through your own use of social media and encourage your kids to take ownership of their online identities. 

Make the Rules Together

Often, in classrooms, teachers enlist the help of their students to make a list of rules. The rationale? Students are more likely to follow the rules when they’ve helped create them. Often, they’ll come up with a list not far off from what the teacher would’ve created, because they want to learn in a positive, productive space. 

The same goes for social media rules in the home. According to a study conducted by the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, researchers found that giving children a say in online rules made them more likely to follow them.

 

This is because children inherently want to remain safe, including on the internet. By talking them through an ideal social media approach, everyone involved will know the rules and the reasons behind them. Southwest EAP can help you prepare for these discussions.

Look Through the Apps Yourself

You probably don’t use Facebook and Instagram exactly like your children do. Instead of assuming, ask to borrow their phone and get familiar with what they see when they log on — not to get them in trouble, but to put yourself in their shoes.

CNN reports that inappropriate content may appear in their social media feed even if your child does not follow the user posting it. By looking at the online world from your kids’ perspectives, you can be proactive about safety measures for them to use.

Bullying: Call It What It Is

Cyberbullying is a big problem, just like face-to-face conflict. This form of harassment might be new to some parents, since it wasn’t around when they were growing up. Instead of leaving it to your children to decide what is and isn’t bullying, talk with them about what constitutes threatening or intimidating behavior. Also, encourage them to tell you if they experience bullying online, assuring them that you are a safe space and they can come to you with any problems.

This discussion can also encourage your kids to consider their own actions in relation to these behaviors. A frank, open talk may help your children adjust their own actions and treat others better. 

What Now?

Southwest Employee Assistance Providers, for Arkansas workers, serves as a valuable resource for you as you navigate the sometimes choppy online waters with your children. You may encounter some difficult conversations and moments along the way, and Southwest EAP can help you manage that stress. We realize that you can’t be expected to be in “work-only mode” during the workday, so we want to make it possible for you to remain successful at work and thrive at home.

Reach out to Southwest EAP online or at 501-663-1797 to get the conversation started. In addition, you can contact your company’s human resources department for more information on your Employee Assistance Program. 

Categories:employee productivity

Tags:employee assistance providers, Arkansas, online, children, parenting

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Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

 

Mental illness is a medical condition, but it is often surrounded by stigma or stereotypes that prevent people from getting the help they need. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 Americans lives with a mental health condition. And, approximately half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14. Unfortunately, long delays − sometimes decades – often occur between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help. Early identification and treatment is critical, especially when mental illness can lead to suicide. More than 40,000 people die by suicide every year in the United States and 90% of those who commit suicide have an underlying mental health problem.

 

Mental health disorders can range from autism to schizophrenia to anxiety and more. Far too often, people are embarrassed or ashamed to discuss these conditions with friends or family, which can lead to lack of treatment. In fact, just over half of people in the United States with a serious mental illness receive treatment.

 

Employee mental health can have a negative impact on not only the person who is experiencing it, but also his or her fellow employees. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry indicates that nearly half of the overall costs associated with mental health issues are attributed to the workplace, including absenteeism and presenteeism (reduced productivity while at work), whereas 45%-47% are due to direct medical costs, which are shared by employers, employees, and society. Working with an Employee Assistance Program can help.

 

It’s past time for us to encourage and enable open conversations about mental illness. Here are some steps you can take to provide support, educate friends and family, and help advocate for equal care:

 

  • October is Depression & Mental Health Screening Month. If you or someone you know needs help, take the free mental health screening at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org
  • Educate yourself and help educate others. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers health information and free easy-to-read publications on various mental disorders on its website in the Health & Education section. 
  • Learn the warning signs. Mental illness doesn’t have a simple diagnostic process like diabetes or high cholesterol. While all people and all mental illnesses are, of course, not alike, there are some symptoms to watch out for. NAMI has a helpful list to check out. 

 

Above all, don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step. If you or someone you know are in crisis, and need immediate support or intervention go to the website of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employees should also be encouraged to reach out to their EAPs.

 

Southwest EAP has provided employee assistance programs and risk management solutions to companies since 1978. Our commitment to excellence is founded on the belief that active partnership with our client companies and delivering face-to-face services produces the best results. Visit us online at http://www.southwesteap.com.

Categories:EAP Effectiveness, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention

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