Why traditional EAP’s are not enough – a new approach to employee wellbeing

Many organisations have a formal Employee Assistance Program in place. But why is it that they are not always used and why do we believe that they are not enough?

WHAT IS AN EAP?

The Employee Assistance Programmes UK Association stated that Employee  Assistance Programmes (EAPs)  are  ‘a  set  of  services  designed  to  improve  and/ or maintain the productivity and healthy functioning  of the workplace  and aim to address organisational  productivity  and  help  employees  identify  and  resolve  both  work  and  non-work related  personal  issues.’

 

The aim is to provide preventive and proactive interventions for the early detection, identification and/or resolution of both work and personal problems that may adversely affect performance and wellbeing. These problems and issues may include, but are not limited to, relationships, health, trauma, substance abuse, gambling and other addictions, financial problems, depression, anxiety disorders, psychiatric disorders, communication problems, legal and coping with change.

 

However despite many organisations having an EAP, from our experience, they usually provide short term aid and are not widely adopted across the whole organisation. How often do we see so many of our peers or employees suffering but not actually using these programmes?

 

Here are a few reasons why.

EAP’S ARE NOT ALWAYS SEEN AS ‘WELCOMING’ TO EVERYONE

 

Most Employee Assistance Programs, tend to be targeted for those already experiencing severe levels of stress or anxiety. There are a lot of people who need support that do not fall into this category. There are also a lot of people who are not aware of their issues all together.

 

EAP’S OFTEN PROVIDE A LIMITED CAPPED NUMBER OF SESSIONS

 

The symptoms of stress and anxiety are sometimes cyclic and cause problems that can lead to reduced motivation and efficacy for the individual, and negatively influence those around them, even with the best intentions. This pattern can be so ingrained without employees taking the time to analyse and pinpoint particular stressors and so, the condition becomes demoralising and hard to manage alone.

 

Therefore the process of healing is often a journey that could take weeks, months or even years. This requires ongoing support and the use of different modalities applied at the right times. Having a capped number of therapy or sessions is simply not a long-term solution to one’s health.

 

EMPLOYEES FEAR USING THE EAP SERVICES

 

It is a fear for those employees suffering with anxiety to utilise programs at this stage, as attending an EAP, can be seen as a vulnerability or weakness that may negatively affect their career. This should be especially considered if they are in positions of seniority or have high levels of responsibility with teams and clients.

 

A BETTER APPROACH TOWARDS EAP’S

 

So what do we do when employees are resistant to engaging with assistance programmes? What if they don’t know they are available to begin with? How can we prevent them needing them in the first place?

 

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ but what does that mean in this context?

 

Exploring beyond EAP’s can be truly nourishing for a business, on an individualistic and holistic level. Creating a workplace culture that encourages and champions optimal health and wellbeing is paramount for healthy, happy and productive employees.

 

WHAT EMPLOYERS CAN DO

 

Offering personal and proactive support on a regular basis alongside an EAP can be incredibly beneficial for business. It can provide you with incredibly tangible and long term benefits when partnering with an organisation who provide you with that regular, consistent employee engagement backed by a team of experts who have lived and breathed the business world.

 

Proactively allowing your employees an opportunity to better pinpoint their particular stress triggers, can release hidden tension and learn the decisions and patterns of behaviour that can prevent them from occurring, in and outside of the workplace.

 

We encourage you to learn more about our P3 personal, proactive, partnership approach to employee wellbeing. Via our twice weekly visits our approach is designed to build trust and to encourage confidential conversations so that everyone is equipped and empowered to be both mentally and physically optimal in the workplace.

 

You may already have an EAP, many companies do, however P3 Business Care helps employees open up about their issues so that they can get the help they need, often available in the EAP but which would otherwise go unused.

 

About P3 Business Care

 

P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Supporting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive care to your employees working in partnership with the company. Our Business Partners visit your business developing trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become crisis, absence, or staff turnover.  Read more about our services here

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