It cannot be denied that the return on investment (ROI) for your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is realised in solutions for their employee’s immediate concerns. In the short-term (<6 mth), the results are better performance, more focus and greater motivation. These are great for the employee’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
Except, no one’s looking at whether it’s effective for the employee long-term and whether the ROI makes a significant difference to the company’s year-end profits by maintaining or increasing retention.
What is an EAP?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an employee benefit program that assists employees with personal problems and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. Employees are usually given 3-5 free sessions with a psychologist or counselling. Again, depending on what the company pays for, the employee may or may not have a choice who they get to see.
Employees electing to receive these sessions do experience confidentiality. The company doesn’t learn their name unless they request for more than the provided number of sessions.
The Employee Experience of EAP
Let’s get real here! Employees and managers described to me their experience using their company’s EAP by saying:
- “It does what it says on the box and nothing more. I got immediate relief but I still experience the same fears and doubts, nothing’s solved.”
- “It was limited. I could only see one counsellor but I didn’t like the person so I didn’t go again.”
- “Ha! My counsellor recommended I get another job, they didn’t help me with my issue at all!”
- “I lead a large team of people but I felt I wasn’t being supported by my management. My psychologist was lovely and helped with some things but she wasn’t professionally equipped with the management experience to help me with my leadership requirements.”
- “In all honesty, Caz, it was a waste of time and the company’s money. I needed a coach but not an executive coach because I needed to work on some pretty deep-seated stuff that was surfacing because of my job.”
An EAP is effective for the short-term only.
It’s a great service offering but it is also a convenient tick in the box for company’s to be able to say they provide something to their employees for their mental and emotional wellbeing without participating in the results. An EAP doesn’t resolve deeper, more persistent problems. It can’t. It isn’t structured that way.
The Transparency Dilemma
Have you seen the US drama, Billions? Its premise is around making money, a lot of it, in stockbroking and the headfucks that go with that level of gameplay. A lead character, Wendy, is an in-house psychologist for the hedge fund, Axe Capital. What’s super interesting about Wendy’s role in the company is that everyone, from the owner to the cleaner, knows who she is and has access to her services and, the best bit, are required to use her!
Axe Capital’s owner, Bobby Axelrod, makes it clear:
The mindset of my employees is key to the success of my company!
What an EAP does by being a no-name-needed service is to perpetuate our country’s stigma around mental and emotional wellbeing. When mental health issues are hidden, no real, long-term change can be experienced because everyone’s fueling the fear fire.
Employee’s fear that if their employer knows that they’re experiencing challenges that they’ll lose standing in the company. They fear losing respect and they fear not getting a promotion. Employees fear being misunderstood. And worse, they fear that their problems will permanently hang over their heads.
Executives, Department heads, and C-Suite are all in the same ridiculous cycle. Except that their fears revolve around loss of respect from their teams and the Board. They fear to lose their position. They fear they’ll get found out for the real or imagined inadequacies they experience daily.
When a business owner recognises that the strength in their vulnerability comes from stating openly they care about mental and emotional wellbeing and demonstrating how they resolve their own issues, proving they’re human, they give permission to their management and employees to be honest with themselves.
Employees are more invested in the company because their boss is openly invested.
But, don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at the numbers. How’s the financial ROI of your EAP? Are your EAP uptake numbers high or low?
If they’re high, you know you have an issue. But, if they’re low there are two reasons, either your company culture is great, or your company culture is crap. When you don’t know the answer, then the answer is the latter.
Employees and business leaders alike know when culture is great. No questions. No doubts. It’s fabulous for a long list of reasons. If the intake is high or you’ve now learned your culture is crap, you are the leader that can create the transparency to change that.
An EAP Alternative
Fortunately, we don’t have to be characters in a TV show to experience the types of solutions Wendy brings Axe Capital employees.
If your company knows that the way their employees think is the key to their success, my results as an Emotional Intelligence Leadership Coach provides companies with the perfect meld of long-term solutions for mental and emotional wellbeing, leadership and emotional intelligence education and well as experienced results to daily challenges.
Companies benefit from:
- Increased employee engagement and morale
- Irrefutable impact on profit margin from increased retention
- Increase in influential leadership management
- Increased industry reputation for attracting key talent
- Greater team cohesiveness and collaboration
Do you know your numbers but hate the results?
Easy solution: call me.
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