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Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) – The What, Why and How

When personal problems spill over into the workplace, they can cause undue stress, lower productivity, and create uncomfortable working conditions. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are confidential and short-term counseling services that can help employees facing personal or professional challenges that negatively impact their performance at work. EAPs can also include training and development of employees and supervisors, policy creation, family support, and programs for alcohol and substance abuse.

Benefits of EAPs

According to opm.gov, including EAP services in benefits programs can benefit HR managers, executives, and their companies in many ways, including:

  • Improved employee productivity and engagement
  • Improved manager and employee workplace stress management skills
  • Reduction in workplace absenteeism
  • Reduction in healthcare costs related to depression, stress, and other psychological problems
  • Reduction in employee replacement and turnover costs
  • Support during workforce change events like reductions in force and employee restructuring
  • Reduction in workplace accidents
  • Reduction in the possibility of workplace violence
  • Support for emergency and disaster preparedness
  • Facilitation of timely, safe, and effective short-term employee return-to-work and absence extensions

Job stress costs U.S. businesses up to $190 billion annually due to absenteeism; employee turnover; diminished productivity; workplace violence; and direct medical, legal, and insurance fees. Mitigating those costs by implementing an EAP at your organization can save you thousands of dollars a year.

Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of implementing an EAP should not only include hard dollar costs; you should also consider these hidden costs that have an impact on your bottom line:

  • Measurable Benefits – These are outcomes of using an EAP and include decreased long-term sickness and absence, grievance procedures, and staff turnover.
  • Visible but Unquantifiable Benefits – These are benefits that result from working with an EAP and include performance improvement, positive impacts of solving problems, and time savings for employees dealing with various issues.
  • Invisible Benefits – These include motivation, increased morale, and improved reputation or image of your company’s brand.

Implementing Your Employee Assistance Program

Evaluating multiple EAP providers is key in determining which company will be a good fit for your business’s culture. For example, do you prefer a local provider with 24/7 availability or is a toll-free phone-based provider a better option?

Once you’ve decided which provider to work with, it’s critical to inform your employees about the EAP services available to them. You can use via multiple communications channels such as email, direct mail to their homes, and posters or table tents placed in the business and break rooms.

Evaluating Your Employee Assistance Program

It’s important to evaluate your provider’s procedures, systems, and outcomes on a continual basis to ensure your business and your employees are benefiting from the service. You should assess whether calls are handled in a timely manner and if crisis cases are appropriately prioritized. Ensure that your company’s needs are being met by the program and determine if there are additional services you require. Also, make sure that your provider is sending timely reports and surveying users to help determine the efficacy of the program.An employee assistance program can be an enormous asset to your company, improving employee engagement and retention, and ultimately, benefitting your company’s bottom line.

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. For more information please visit www.southwesteap.com.

Categories:EAP Effectiveness

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Multiple Generation Workplace Management

Human resource executives and managers face a myriad of challenges when it comes to the management of multiple generations in the workplace. A typical large organization with several employees is likely to have at least five distinct generations working under the same team in different departments. Each generation has unique communication styles, expectations, preferences and perspectives hence it’s important to know how to handle and manage the diverse group of employees working for your company.

According to Rawn Shah, a contributor on Forbes, this is one of the most common strategy-based concerns employers face. Effectively managing multiple generation employees helps increase their productivity, which in turn, aids in reducing benefit costs. Employee assistance programs can also help manage this kind of workforce.

Effective Management of a Multi-Generation Workforce

Identify and Know Your Generations

First, identify and know the various generations working for your company. Generational dates do not directly impact the general attributes your employees reflect in their working experiences.

  • Silent Traditionalists – 1925 - 1945
  • Baby Boomers – 1946 - 1964
  • Generation X – 1965 - 1982
  • Millennials – 1983 - 1999
  • Digital Natives – 2000 - later

The expectations of each employee generation are unique because they grew up in different environments and contexts. Baby Boomers usually have liberal fiscal tendencies while silent traditionalists are fiscally conservative. Although each generation has an exception, know the general experience framework of your employees to comprehend their reference point.

Communication Styles

Over the last seven decades, technology has advanced exponentially, impacting how various generations communicate. The silent traditionalists prefer face to face communication because they like being in charge hence it is best to communicate with them through face-to-face interactions. Similarly, Generation X and Baby Boomer employees highly value personal interactions. However, they are more flexible than their earlier generation counterparts.

Baby Boomers put more focus on group interactions as they are extroverts. They prefer meeting in conference rooms to doing webinars or holding conference calls. Although they are willing to give other options a try, they lean on the side of in-person interactions. The ability to get down to work and engage in individual interactions is the focus of Generation X employees. They need extra psychological and physical space to get their work done.

Technology is the foundation of communication for digital natives and millennials. They want ease of doing things and efficiency. Set clear expectations of when you have to engage in face-to-face interactions and when to make use of technology once you know your workforce generations.

Create a Conducive Workplace Environment

Misunderstanding is a common challenge when it comes to managing a diverse group of employees because every generation is unique. Baby Boomers, Silent Traditionalists and Generation X employees are more differential to authority and like to be loyal to their employers.

However, Digital Natives and Millennials prefer work quality to taking orders. Company positions and years spent working for your firm is not of much essence to them. They judge you and the management at large based on work content. Similarly, they want to be judged based on their work outcomes, not working hours. Conflicts and misunderstandings can arise in your work culture if you cannot understand these generational differences.

Unite your multi-generation employees by engaging them in digital and physical team-building activities. When your employees are accommodating and understand each other irrespective of their differences, you will notice improved employee productivity and few to no misunderstandings.

Provide Incentives to Each Generation

Different generations prefer different rewards or incentives. Find out what rewards will suit the different generations in your workforce. For instance, you can offer pensions to the Silent Traditionalists, awards to Baby Boomers, gift cards to Generation X, career training and development to the Millennials, and a tech-based solution to the Digital Natives.

When you understand your employees with respect to their generations, they end-up feeling valued and motivated to work even harder.

Categories:EAP Effectiveness, employee engagement

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What It Means to Keep Employees Engaged

If you’re in management, you know how important employee engagement is. Without it, your company won’t be as successful as it should be. But how can you get employees to be more productive when you aren’t in the position to hand out raises? Read on to find ways you can motivate employees and keep them engaged without breaking your bank account.

What Is an Engaged Employee?

According to Tim Rutledge, author of the book, Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, an engaged employee is a person that is committed, inspired by, and passionate about his or her job. They care about the future of the company and will go above and beyond what is expected of them in order for the company to be successful.  

Just How Engaged Are Employees?

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 34.1% of U.S. employees are “engaged” at work. That’s the highest it’s been since Gallup began tracking employee engagement back in January 2011. But what about the other 65.9%? Shouldn’t they care whether or not the company they work for is successful? After all, you’re signing their paychecks. The Gallup Poll clearly tells us that for one reason or another, employees aren’t as excited about their jobs as they should be.

6 Reasons Employees Might Not Be Engaged

As a manager, you may find it difficult keeping your employees productive. Author and CEO of Root, Inc, Jim Haudan says that it is management that’s responsible for creating a high-performing work environment. When you don’t have that, employees become disengaged and unproductive. With that being said, there are many reasons employees have for not caring about their workplace.

Here are 6 reasons why you might not have engaged employees:

  • No engaging management
  • They don’t feel valued or important
  • There’s a lack of communication between management and employees
  • Management isn’t utilizing employees based on their strengths
  • They feel overwhelmed with their job
  • They don’t love their job

5 Ways to Keep Employee Engagement When Raises Are Not Being Given

Part of management’s responsibility is to keep employee productivity and morale high. Not an easy task when raises aren’t being given and employee engagement is low or nonexistent. By doing these 5 simple things, you can turn disengaged employees into engaged.

  • Get to know employees. Show employees that you value them as people.
  • Recognize employees. Saying “nice job” or “thank you” goes a long way.
  • Provide training and development. With proper training and development, employees are motivated and able to achieve their goals.
  • Listen to and act on employee feedback. Employees are more inclined to be engaged if management listens to their feedback and works together to improve.
  • Coach employees. Keeping employees motivated by coaching them will increase overall employee engagement.

Keeping Engaged Employees

In the end, keeping employees engaged starts with you. If they don’t see you putting in an effort, they won’t either. Give Southwest EAP a try. We have the tools you need to keep employees engaged, productive, and on the right track to success.

Categories:EAP Effectiveness, employee engagement, employee productivity

Tags:Productivity

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