Employee Assistance Programs – Attractive Benefits for Employees!


Employee assistance programs are an attractive benefit for employees and a helpful resource for any company.  Many people who are, in ordinary circumstances, excellent workers may encounter a period in their lives where they struggle with the responsibilities of their work and their outside lives. 

Without assistance, such employees may end up being terminated or leaving the job voluntarily, costing the enterprise in recruiting, hiring, and training costs.  Any organisation can benefit from an employee assistance program to help prevent these costs and to help employees lead happier and more productive lives.

An employee assistance program offers counseling and other services to employees in a variety of different situations.  One common situation is dealing with issues specifically pertaining to the work environment, such as workplace stress or work relationship issues. All of us encounter difficulties in the workplace from time to time, but when stress becomes chronic, it can be destructive and even physically harmful.  Chronic stress can cause symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even physical discomfort such as stomach aches, headaches, and backaches. 

This can lead to very poor work performance as well as difficulty interacting with other employees productively.  An employee assistance program can help by providing counseling to affected employees in order to plan ways to alleviate stress.  Stress alleviation can include relaxation techniques or coping mechanisms as well as physiological changes such as healthy diet and exercise.  By helping employees who are under extreme or chronic stress, staff absenteeism is decreased and workplace productivity is increased.

Employees may also need someplace to turn during or after major life events.  While one common example is the death or injury of a loved one, even positive events such as giving birth can create negative effects.  Other individuals may be struggling through personal or family relationship problems, such as divorce, which can be isolating and leave the person with no one to confide in. 

Many people can benefit from counseling in such cases and may not seek out such assistance on their own.  A company that has provided an EAP and proactively informs employees about their options will help individuals who are having such temporary problems, creating positive morale as well as decreased turnover and absenteeism.  

Employee assistance programs are not limited to only counseling.  Some programs will offer a variety of services to help with work/life balance issues of all kinds.  For example, some employee assistance programs can help employees with personal finances or legal problems.  While counselors typically do not come on-site for confidentiality issues, some employee assistance programs offer specific services to the employer itself for use in the workplace.  For example, consultations for supervisors or management may be offered, as well as support for dealing with workplace relationship problems.  Even training and education programs may be available. 

During difficult periods, such as multiple redundancies or the death of an employee, critical incident services may be available as a resource to help in the workplace itself.  Coverage can also be much more basic, so there is a program available for nearly any level of need.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com



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