Pensions, a staff discount, perhaps even a health plan: employee benefit packages can certainly act as an incentive to stay loyal to your company, but a new strand of staff perks has a more holistic approach – and could literally change your life.
Increasingly, companies are looking to provide the rather uninspiringly named EAP – or Employee Assistance Programme – often alongside a healthcare policy. The difference is that the EAP is focused less on the nuts and bolts of health and much more on “whole person” health.
An Employee Assistance Programme provides help and support to both work and personal problems. With teams of trained counsellers at hand, the EAP will pick up struggles with work, money, health, family, lifestyle or relationships and help you resolve issues and continue to thrive.
Let me give you an example of the life changing potential of these sorts of policies.
A client of mine was abroad with his family on holiday when his wife was bitten by a spider. On returning home, she became so ill she spent 7 months in a specialist unit for tropical disease. Throughout this time, my client had to juggle his children and a demanding managerial job in a big firm. Like many of us, he didn’t want to admit to his boss that he wasn’t coping and yet the situation only grew worse when he discovered his 11 year old son was being bullied at school.
It wasn’t until he noticed a poster at work outlining the benefits of the EAP scheme that things turned around. In one phone call, he’d been assessed by a counsellor, had a series of sessions scheduled to help him manage the situation, and assistance in getting more support at school for his son. The EAP helped him cope with the stress, rearrange things at work to make life easier and potentially stopped a more serious problem with ongoing anxiety and depression.
So what’s in it for the company? Well, a good EAP provision helps your staff manage the ordinary stresses and strains of life, and ensures they stay healthy at work and at home. You don’t have to provide a private health policy – it can stand alone. What’s more, it seems apparent that industrial tribunals for workplace disputes seem to look more favourably on companies who offer this sort of support to their staff.
From an employee point of view, it’s a completely anonymous service which not only supports you during hard times, but also equips you with the basic tools you’ll need to cope with problems now and in the future.
Added to this, the service is cheap to offer – for around £5 per employee you can provide all the support an individual may need in life and help build a stronger workforce at the same time.
We’re about to create a page dedicated to EAP on our website but in the meantime, if you’re interested, give me a call on 01803 314600. It could change a life.