The pandemic has been a rough period for many of us. However, it has been a particularly dissociative nightmare for the service sector.
There was a distinct lack of continuity — a complete overhaul of the work process and several far-reaching changes that are still in play.
Employees have had to adjust to a new working process without dropping their productivity levels. This consistent pressure has undoubtedly made a distinct mark on their mental health situation.
It has necessitated the institution of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) as a practical measure to reduce employee pressures, decrease turnover rates, and increase overall productivity.
3 Situations in which EAP counselling can help
The constant threat of downsizing and complete isolation from a normal work environment has a drastic impact on most employees.
Depression and anxiety about their work takes on a completely different meaning in the light of these additional factors.
The EAP is quite simply in place to help the employees deal with all the problems that directly affect their professional performance. The program offers counselling and workable solutions to the main issues that are causing the employee anxiety and stress particularly regarding their work.
Expert consultation helps tem workout the problem that is at the root of the pressure and deal with it effectively to move forward with a healthy work life balance.
EAP programs can offer actionable assistance to the employees in multiple ways. This includes:
Vision counselling has taken a survey of 1000 EAP clients over a period of 6 weeks to document.
According to a research report by SHRM, almost 78% of the employers in the US had some form of EAPs already running to provide counseling assistance to the employees by the year 2018.
In your quest to build a high performance company culture, you cannot leave employee healthcare and especially mental health out of the equation.
The installation of EAP counselling can further enhance whatever efforts you already have in place for employee support within the company.
It is a problem-solving provision that can show an extensive effect within a very short time.
Most employees have admitted to positive outcomes within a few sessions of this specialized service. The EAP counsellor can also refer the individual employees to more long-term care where indicated by the symptoms.
Having a professional focused on helping your employees deal with their personal and mental health issues, removes the guesswork regarding the professional concerns that these issues might invoke.
That is a powerful reason for starting an EAP for your company. However, even beyond that, assistance programs are essential in many ways that are more comprehensive.
Here we discuss the three most compelling reasons to have an employee assistance program within your company work culture immediately.
So, let's dive right in!
1. Reduce absenteeism
Employee assistance programs are focused on the health care and wellbeing of the employees. It represents care the company places on the employees.
Even apart from the counselling benefits, the mere establishment of the EAP is a restatement that the company values its employees even beyond the 9 to 5 work call.
This feeling of being valued is in itself a positive outcome of the EAPs, which invokes more trust and solidarity from the employees. They are less likely to skip the work calls or mark absence during stressful days.
From an organization's point of view, EAPs solve major situations, which can create further problems in the future.
The EAPs should have a format to allow employees to raise their own concerns with regards to the work systems in place.
For instance, during the COVID situation where work from home was a necessity, it was impossible for employees to maintain the same work hours as the office.
EAPs can help in such a situation where employees have a forum to speak about their individual problems. The same solution might not apply for all types of situations. However, a custom solution that can be adjusted in different margins can evolve to help for different situations.
For instance, the total work hours can be distributed in weekdays and weekend patterns that suit employees individually. However, a weekly or daily common meetup can help consolidate all work processes in one setup.
This can help address individual employee concerns regarding the work hours that suit their productivity cycles, liabilities at home and responsibilities of work-life balance. These factors can be professionally measured under expert supervisor within an EAP counselling session.
Enforce positive work atmosphere
Toxic work atmosphere where the focus is only on production and operations without placing any effort towards cultivating the brainstorming and inception phases is set to fail in the long term.
If your work culture has not evolved to a standard where the employees feel more accepted, heard and their ideas are valued, you are not leaving room for any innovation.
In such a scenario, a stagnation will set in at some point, which will further reduce your company’s performance against competitors in the market. Without enforcing a calmer atmosphere, you cannot expect your employees to remain under stable productive cycles.
They are not machines after all, and even if you do consider them as such, EAPs can become your pit stops for regular conditioning of your employees.
For instance, in a service sector company, the days around the major festivals and celebrations are clearly more hectic than regular days. However, your employees have to put up their best faces during this situation to keep assisting the consumers through their issues during the festivities.
You also have to take into account that the company is only able to provide the service during these days at the cost of your employees sacrificing their own personal commitments during these days.
These adjustments might manifest as fallouts and setbacks in their own personal lives, which can then trigger issues in the company. If the employees do not take a regular break on these festivals and then work the rest of the year on a normal attendance, their work life balance is impossibly skewed towards work.
EAP counselling can help determine the tendency and severity of the fallouts for each individual employee. While announcing mandatory leaves for all employees is a positive step, you can further curtail leaves and working hours for different employees with specific situations.
You can only determine the need for such customization when the employees have a platform like EAP to voice their situations aloud to an expert.
Cope with trauma
The work environment has always been a second family for most long-term employees. They invest their emotional and mental efforts to help move their corporate family forward in the industry.
However, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that a trauma can affect all aspects of your life sometimes.
When an individual is under a trauma, it can have far-reaching implications for all aspects of their lives. A work trauma will not be limited to your working environment and a personal trauma will affect your work as well.
While many shy away from asking for professional counselling when coping with a personal loss or trauma, having an in-house expert onboard your company makes this help much more accessible.
Even for hospitals that were dealing with the worst aftermath of the COVID control, post-traumatic stress disorder experts were included within the employee assistance programs to provide counselling for grief, trauma and exhaustion for the doctors.
This kind of assistance is also important for all work environments where the employees have to deal with life threatening risks at a close vantage point.
Soldiers and Media veterans are often in need of trauma counselling particularly if they are to cover war or calamity ridden areas under their assignment.
EAPs are a systematic approach to help employees cope with very personal issues. It acknowledges that companies share the responsibility of a wholesome life and creating a balance between work and life for their employees.
It helps remove the isolation placed on employees by the various work styles that are now in place due to necessity.
Establishing a successful EAP can have positive results for all companies regardless of the sector. However, you will have to adjust the content for your programs depending on the most pressing needs of your field.
Happy employees are more likely to give their best and beyond through their working capabilities. Thus, the company can move forward as a single entity cutting more strongly against competitions.