Employee assistance programs have been shown time and again to be an effective resource for improving quality of life and boosting job performance. So, it may be surprising to learn that these programs are often under-utilized by the workforce. Here, we explore some of the typical reasons why your employees do not take advantage of their EAP benefits and what you can do to boost EAP utilization.
Common Reason Employees Do Not Access EAP Services
There are a lot of employees who question the confidentiality of EAP services. For example, if the location of a counseling session is in the workplace, an employee may be concerned that their participation in EAP services will be known by their employer and/or colleagues. More often than not, these concerns exist because employees are not properly informed about the structure and purpose of their company’s EAP benefits.
Misconceptions about how EAP services are accessed can also be a barrier for your workforce. In some cases, employees may believe that they need to ask permission from a supervisor or human resources professional before accessing services.
Some employees avoid utilizing their benefits because they feel there is a stigma associated with reaching out to an EAP provider.
How to Increase the Use of EAP Benefits at Your Company
There are a few clear recommendations to help increase EAP utilization and, as a result, facilitate a healthier, more productive workforce. Here are some steps you can take to make sure employees understand their benefits and how they work.
- Go beyond mentioning the EAP services in your orientation for new employees and printing information in the handbook. Offer additional EAP education, question and answer sessions, and lunchtime meetings.
- Make sure every employee understands that counseling sessions are confidential, even to the extent that employers do not know who uses the service and who does not.
- Work to normalize the use of services by reminding workers that many of the stressors they experience are common, and services exist to help them process those stressors in a healthy way.
- Include reminders about benefits in regular employee communication channels like departmental and company-wide newsletters.
- Make it explicitly clear through all this messaging that no prior approval is needed to make use of the program.
Finding the Right EAP Partner
To be effective, your messaging efforts should be supported by the company’s employee assistance program provider. Since EAP benefits vary from one provider to the next, the best way to reach workers with accurate and up-to-date information about available services and resources is to give them direct access to EAP representatives. This allows employees to ask questions and get reliable answers straight from the source.
When you work with Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP, you can count on our team of client solutions specialists to provide your workforce with personalized service, helpful resources, and reliable information. Employee members can also sign into our online portal to access resources and take advantage of EAP services.
For more information, contact Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP today.