Many employers wonder how to best serve their employees, both on the clock and in their personal lives. With such diverse needs, though, it can be tough to know where to turn, and many employees don’t realize their company is able to provide important services. Wherever you fall in your company, it can be challenging to know where to turn to get aid for your unique needs. That’s where an employee assistance program, or EAP, comes into play.
Originally created to help workers who struggled with substance use addiction, employee assistance programs have evolved to meet a wider range of personal and work-related concerns. If you’re wondering “What is an EAP?” “What are the benefits of an EAP?” or “What should be included in an EAP?” use this guide to answer your top questions about EAPs.
1. What is an EAP?
An employee assistance program is a program that a company invests in to provide resources, tools and services (like counseling) to help its workers live productive and happy lives. The services an EAP provides aren’t solely for addressing work concerns, but they can also assist individuals with family, financial and other personal matters.
Regardless of whether the concerns are personal or professional, it’s in a company’s best interest to invest in its employee’s well-being. When a person feels rested, happy and appreciated, he will produce his best work, engage pleasantly with coworkers and contribute to the mission of the company. An EAP can help a person minimize stressors and cope effectively, making employment more fruitful and rewarding.
2. What issues can an employee assistance program help me address?
If you’re wondering what should be included in an EAP, here’s a list of the services and concerns most commonly covered.
substance use treatment
relationship issues for families, children, parents or spouses
elder care planning
mental health care
legal assistance or guidance
While this list is by no means exhaustive, EAPs are designed to help with typical life problems that could be affecting employees. The aid you receive through one of these programs is entirely confidential and is outsourced specifically for this purpose. There is no reason to worry that your employer will discriminate based on the concerns you raise when working with an EAP.
3. Will my employer know that I’m using an employee assistance program?
If you’re working with Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP, your participation will not be disclosed to your employer unless you choose to do so of your own accord. An employer will not be notified of your participation and most especially the contents of private sessions to discuss certain issues. The nature of your EAP use is always kept completely confidential, and only you have the capacity to disclose those details.
4. Can family members use my EAP services?
Family members are always encouraged to use an employee’s EAP benefits. Many people are surprised at the wide range of services employee assistance programs provide, and how many are relevant to their family life. Most employee assistance programs will allow immediate family members of the employee – specifically, spouses and children – to access the same benefits, allowing entire families to receive resources and personal attention to support physical and emotional health.
5. What does it cost to use EAP services?
An EAP might sound too good to be true, but there’s even more good news: comprehensive EAP benefits are available to employees and immediate family members at no cost. An employer foots the bill, paying for an EAP service as an investment in its employees.
It’s important for workers to note that not all employee assistance programs are made equal, though. Some programs limit the number of sessions for each calendar year that an employee or family member can meet with a counselor. If you have found that the services and resources provided are worth continuing long-term and you are interested in additional sessions, subsequent aid will be routed through your insurance network.
6. What qualities should I look for in an EAP provider?
Finding the right employee assistance program is something that your company will handle on your behalf. If you’re a leader in your workplace, you may be wondering what should be included in an EAP and what qualities are most beneficial. When it comes to finding the right program, doing research on different programs and assessing the needs of your employees is essential.
There are a wide range of EAP services, from minimal to intensive and some specialize in certain needs. You’ll want to find an ideal balance of benefits, personalized care and high-quality service. For example, if you run a hospice company, you’ll want to focus heavily on grief resources. If you’re in a line of work that requires employees to be absent from families, you may lean towards one that is geared towards family counseling and support services like childcare.
In your search for the right employee assistance provider, look to prioritize EAP qualities that indicate level of dedication and quality of service. Feel free to ask about how many complimentary counseling sessions per year, per issue the EAP provider offers. If more than the allotted number of counseling sessions are needed, employees will need to make sure that their EAP-referred counselor, therapist or psychiatrist used by the employee assistance program also falls under their insurance network.
7. How do I get started using my EAP benefits?
Most employee assistance providers make it as easy as possible to get started with your EAP benefits. At Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP, we can connect you with licensed, professional help – no matter the respective challenges you’re facing – in only a few online clicks. You can sign up online to get started putting the benefits to work today.