As an HR professional or employer, one of your responsibilities is looking out for the well-being and health of your employees. This rather broad responsibility includes a number of tasks, like supporting staff in difficult times, finding strategies to boost their performance and addressing any issues that may be interfering with their work.
All of this, and more, is often done in the name of combating one of the most common workplace issues: high turnover rates.
While there isn’t one fool-proof way to retain your staff permanently, there is a strategy proven to significantly support your employees and improve retention rates. It might be time for your company to consider an employee assistance program.
What is an EAP?
An employee assistance program is basically a grouping of services and resources designed to help employees resolve issues that might be adversely affecting their work performance, productivity and quality of life. EAP services can help individuals address work-related problems as well as non-work-related challenges, including financial, marital, familial or emotional struggles, and even battles with mental health illnesses and substance use.
Most EAP providers offer services like counseling, yoga classes, financial planning, 24/7 anonymous hotlines, wellness services, etc. to prevent employees from experiencing burnout, help them manage stressors in both personal and professional areas and develop healthy coping mechanisms to maintain mental health.
Here are a few ways that employee assistance programs help reduce absenteeism and turnover rates in the workplace:
1. Assess the well-being of the workforce
EAP providers help gauge the major issues affecting employee health and well-being, which is the first step towards addressing their needs. When providers understand the areas in which a company struggles to meet the needs of their employees, they can begin creating a plan to effectively solve this problem, giving employers a chance to reevaluate certain policies.
By working with an EAP, employers can work in tandem with service providers to address issues they mightn’t have known were actually problematic for employees. The eyes of a third party can significantly help improve policies and fix concerns brought to their attention by employees.
2. Promote a supportive corporate culture
When employees know that they have benefit programs available to help them deal with life and work difficulties, they tend to be more engaged in their work. EAPs allow them to feel like they have an entire support system at their disposal (which is true), creating a culture of care and support.
Not to mention the benefits of an EAP include reduced work-related stress, improved productivity levels and decreased turnover rates. So not only do the employees benefit, the entire organization feels supported.
3. Increase employee contentment
Employees who readily seek help through EAP providers are better able to cope with stress, avoid distractions and be more productive. Such employees are happier and more content with life in general, which becomes evident in their attitude at work and in their job performance.
One of the fastest ways to lose your workforce to turnover is by letting small problems alone until they grow into complicated challenges. This may be due to employees feeling like they have no one to express concerns to; it could be caused by drama in the workforce caused by problems at home; perhaps it’s gossip among unsatisfied employees negatively influencing other members of the staff.
Needless to say, unsatisfied, exhausted and burnt-out employees won’t stick around for very long if they feel like their concerns aren’t being heard — or if they don’t have a way to voice those concerns in the first place. EAP services allow employees to not only voice their concerns in a safe manner but also provide employees with coping mechanisms and skills to address areas of concern and dissatisfaction in their jobs.
Creating the right EAP for your employees
Employee assistance programs offer numerous benefits to employers and employees alike, with one of the greatest being reduced turnover and employee retention. With increased satisfaction in the workplace and an avenue by which to find and maintain a work/life balance, it may be time to consider an EAP for your staff.