Employee Assistance Programmes – what price health and wellbeing?

Staff health and wellbeing lies at the heart of good
performance and absence management strategies.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) play a valuable
informative and supportive role when problems at home
or work impact on an employee’s state of mind, thus
putting their attendance or performance at risk.

It may be tempting to recommend the cheapest EAP
option in the current economic climate, with quality and
effectiveness of service playing second fiddle to price.

Today, when redundancies, pay cuts and recruitment
freezes add to the pressure and risk of absence and
under performance, a quality EAP is essential in providing
benefits to both the employer and the employee.

EAPs are essential in mitigating risk, managing absence
for every company and improving performance of
employees, all crucial factors that ultimately affect the
bottom line. Intermediaries who understand this can
help to manage risk within their client organisation by
providing an EAP as part of an integrated solution or as a
minimum requirement, the EAP as a stand alone option.

Recommending the right provider is not all about price.
Key questions need to be answered first when choosing
an EAP:

1.Will the EAP be integrated into my client’s
organisational health and wellbeing strategy?

EAPs work well and are enhanced when used within a
total healthcare solution linking with Occupational health,
Human Resources and wellbeing strategies.

By looking to a provider offering various healthcare
services within their proposition this should occur
seamlessly.

2.What promotional tools does the EAP offer?

There’s no point in offering a service if staff don’t use it.
A few posters and an unchanging page on the intranet
will not be enough to ensure this.

While all EAPs should provide a minimum of telephone
and face-to-face counselling and practical work-life
services there are an array of other services that are
offered to include online support and information, health
risk assessments, managerial coaching, training and
consultancy and trauma support. Just as EAPs differ
from provider to provider, so does the level of
promotional support.

Promotion of an EAP is intrinsic to the success and
effective awareness of the service. The more an
organisation promotes the EAP, both for the individual
and within the context of organisational values, the more
the service will be used. This in turn will benefit the
employer to receive an optimum return on their
investment.

AXA ICAS provides a comprehensive package of year
round campaign tools, which help client companies
promote health and wellbeing. It means that staff can
access relevant information about physical and
psychological health issues and are regularly reminded
that confidential support and information are available 24
hours a day, 365 days a year. Recommending a service
with good promotional tools adds to the perceived and
actual value of the service.

3.What management information is provided?

Management information is critical to evidence an EAP is
proving a return on investment for any organisation.

Comprehensive management information incorporating
regular statistical reports should be a minimum
requirement of any EAP provider. Added value reporting
will include a Behavioural Risk Review with strategic
recommendations.

Where CORE is used within an EAP to measure, monitor
and manage the outcomes of counselling, this will
demonstrate further ROI for intermediaries and
organisations as well as success for individuals. AXA
ICAS also use CORENet to measure interventions,
outcomes and monitor counsellors’ effectiveness in real
time.