An employee assistance plan (EAP) is an employer-sponsored program designed to identify and help employees resolve personal problems that can adversely affect their work performance, such as marital, financial or emotional problems; family issues; or substance or alcohol abuse. EAPs can also offer a variety of additional services such as legal assistance and referrals, adoption assistance, help finding elder care services, wellness programs, and more.
According to the 2016 SHRM Employee Benefits research report, 77 percent of surveyed employers offered an EAP. If your company already has one, great! You should check out some of our other posts. If, however, you’re one of the 23 percent of companies that don’t, you might benefit by looking into providing one for your employees. Why? EAPs have been shown to help reduce absenteeism, workers’ comp claims, health care costs, accidents and employee HR complaints. They can also improve employee engagement and help reduce employee turnover.
What types of EAPs are available?
According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), employers have several options when building their EAP program, from maintaining it entirely in-house to outsourcing every aspect of service. Have a look at the most common EAP delivery models, and see which one (or a combination) might be right for your company:
- Management-sponsored EAPs. These are in-house programs, and the EAP staff is directly employed by the organization. Large organizations often offer this form of EAP.
- Fixed-fee contracts. Employers contract for various services such as counseling, referrals and supervisory training with fees based on the number of employees, regardless of their actual EAP use.
- Fee-for-service contracts. Employers contract directly with the EAP provider, paying only when the service is used.
- Consortia. Small businesses join together to contract for EAP services, lowering the cost per employee.
- Member assistance programs. Provided by unions, member assistance programs (MAPs) offer services ranging from prevention and problem identification to referral and counseling activities for employees and their family members.
- Peer assistance programs. Sponsored by employers or unions, peer assistance programs (PAPs) train peers to work with troubled employees to address substance abuse and other problems within predetermined rules and limits.
- Mixed-model programs. These are used by employers and unions with multiple worksites that have different needs and resources.
- When selecting an EAP vendor, you should consider the following:
- What to look for in an EAP provider
- Years in business, references and current clients. Do other employers with a similar makeup as your company recommend the vendor?
- Service area. Are EAP services available onsite, offsite, via phone, or some combination?
- Service hours. Are services available to employees 24/7?
- Ability to provide services to employees in different locations. Can the provider work with clients who are not all in the same geographic area?
- Scope of services. Does the vendor offer a full range of services? Ask to see a description of the services offered and determine which come with the basic package and which services are add-ons.
- Referrals. Does the provider refer employees to outside resources when the employees need more or different help than the EAP provides?
- Follow-up services. Is there a HIPAA-compliant process to track progress and ensure the employee is getting the help they need?
- Credentials and training. Do the EAP employees have appropriate and updated credentials?
- If 2018 is the year you decide to propose partnering with an EAP to your company, contact us today. We’d be delighted to discuss how EANNC can serve your company’s needs.