The business community is developing a variety of interventions that are designed to improve employee wellbeing and productivity while controlling their health care costs. Employers are well-positioned to positively influence employee wellbeing and behavioural choices with a wide array of tools including: financial incentives to reward positive health behaviours, healthy food choices in the cafeteria, effective management practices that reduce stress and increase productivity, health education seminars, health coaching and employee assistance programs.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can help employers with their health and employee wellbeing initiatives in several ways:
1. Stress is an underlying problem in a variety of chronic health conditions including heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure. Increased stress can have a direct negative effect on eating behaviour, sleeping patterns, and activity level. EAP’s are designed to make it easy for employees and family members to access professional EAP counsellors on the wide variety of personal and family issues that are primary drivers of individual employee wellbeing and stress.
2. Economic insecurity and debt are major sources of stress for many employees. EAPs offer a convenient array of services that offer impartial and reliable financial advice.
3. Many chronic health problems are the result of alcohol and drug problems. EAPs are perfectly positioned to help organisations respond effectively to the problems that substance abuse brings into the workplace and to employee wellbeing.
4. Surveys show that one of the main causes of employee stress is the sense that they just don’t have the “time” to get everything done. EAPs offer employees a multitude of services that save employees time by helping them find what they need: dependent care services, contractors, health providers, volunteer opportunities, educational courses, and much more.
5. Many EAPs have developed specific health coaching programs (e.g. smoking cessation, nutrition, weight management, exercise and chronic conditions) to complement their more traditional services like mental health counselling and dependent care services that contribute to employee wellbeing.
6. Employees often know exactly what they need to do to improve their health and wellbeing. When they fail to make the necessary changes in health-related behaviours, it may be because those behaviours are durable and long-standing habits. Experiencing multiple failures when attempting to modify these habits can lead to a sense of hopelessness and reluctance to try again. EAP counsellors are trained to help their clients overcome these self-defeating behavioural issues and improve employee wellbeing.
All health promotion initiatives are ultimately based on individuals taking responsibility for their own health, happiness and productivity. EAPs are one of the most powerful tools organisations can offer employees to help this happen.
For more information about how CiC can support your organisation with EAP, please get in touch today.