Workplace Wellness
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What is an EAP and Why Your Company Should Offer It Now!

At a glance:

  • What is an EAP?
  • Why are EAPs important?
  • Why is an EAP with SAP services better?
  • How does an EAP work?
  • What are essential EAP benefits?
  • What’s the cost of an EAP?
  • Are all EAPs created equal? (The benefits of SAP services)
  • How can you set up an EAP at your company?

Employee turnover has always been an issue for business and HR leaders, and today is no different. Dissatisfaction or disenchantment with work is an ever-increasing problem with 60% of people reporting that they are unhappy at work and 19% saying they are miserable. Add in stress from workplace conflicts and/or personal home issues, and the employee may be concerned about everything but work. To make matters worse, when employees quit, the average cost of replacing them can be one-half to two times their annual salary.

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are designed to ease employee burdens and boost productivity by providing practical resources and tailored solutions. If you are concerned for your employees’ well-being and the overall safety of your workplace, maybe you should consider adopting an EAP for your company. But first, you must know what it is, its benefits, and how to get started. No worries. We have you covered! Let’s look at frequently asked questions concerning EAPs and why an EAP with SAP services may be just what you and your staff need.

What is an EAP?

An EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers a variety of benefits to employees who may be dealing with work and/or personal issues. The services usually include free consultations, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services, to name a few.

Participation in an EAP is completely voluntary and functions as a relatively low-cost tool for you to implement but with a huge return on investment (ROI). Typically, EAP services are offered to employees by the employer free of charge. They are also a confidential outlet for employees to seek help and are commonly available all year round to employees and their family members, with the best EAPs being accessible in a variety of ways.

An EAP can be a valuable perk for employees to help make their lives easier and boost proficiency in their job through skills development training and support.

Now let’s look at the importance of an EAP and why your company should offer it.

Why are EAPs important to employee well-being and workplace safety?

Workplace safety and employee well-being should be two of your top priorities as a business leader. You know that a healthy and safe work environment is a productive and profitable workplace, and although you may have incentives and “open door” policies in place, it may not be enough to retain employees and ensure safety.

Instead of your employees dealing with workplace conflicts and stress at home on their own, they can take advantage of short-term counseling services that may help them incorporate mindfulness or techniques learned through solution-focused and cognitive behavior therapy sessions. Instead of them coping with the financial, emotional, and relational difficulty of taking care of an elder parent, they may benefit from getting help with financial education classes or even referrals for geriatric care services.

Whether it’s their finances, work-life balance, or marriage relationships, they can focus on their work-related tasks because they finally have the peace of mind and resources to put things in order. An EAP makes that possible.

Why is an EAP with SAP services better?

EAPs with covered substance abuse professional (SAP) services also enhance a culture of workplace safety. Because SAPs are trained professionals qualified by the Department of Transportation, they can evaluate workers who have violated local and federal drug and alcohol regulations, recommending education, treatment, and follow-up testing for the employee.

If your business requires random drug testing, but you want to provide more services to support and retain employees, look at what programs are a part of your EAP. Be sure to partner with a provider that can offer not only basic EAP services, but also an enhanced EAP with SAP services because most drug and alcohol testing programs promote safety but fail to address the personal issues that may lead to or exacerbate substance misuse. Plus, providing access to services and tools for your employees such as counseling, education, and SAP services can help you maintain a drug-free workplace.

So, instead of firing an employee that fails a drug test (commonly called “zero tolerance”), you can refer them to an SAP for evaluation. The SAP will then notify you as to whether or not the employee should enroll in a substance misuse treatment program.

Utilizing an EAP that includes SAP services shows your staff and clients that you value employee well-being as a complement to workplace safety, not as a separate issue.

How does an EAP work?

Employers can offer EAP services as part of a comprehensive drug and alcohol program or as a stand-alone program.

Some large companies offer in-house EAPs with on-site fitness centers, daycares, and even masseuses. These companies usually employ thousands of people and have profits in the billions of dollars, so being able to afford the astronomical costs of an in-house EAP is of little consequence.

Other companies, usually smaller ones, may choose a partnership with a third-party provider to offer complete packages to their employees. The contract is usually pay-per-employee, meaning that you pay a set amount per employee, giving your entire team access to the suite of EAP services and tools.

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What are the benefits of an EAP?

The myriad of EAP benefits is commensurate with the plethora of services. EAPs usually include professional and confidential short-term counseling, child and elder care consultation, and nutrition and weight loss programs, among other services. The best EAPs also include SAPs as part of a comprehensive drug and alcohol program. A few of the many EAP benefits to employees include:

  • Stress management
  • Work-life balance improvement
  • Legal and financial help
  • Better health and wellness
  • And much more!

EAP benefits are generally not only offered to employees. Family or household members of employees often have the same access to EAP services as the employee. Beyond increasing interest in the company from top talent and decreasing workplace dissatisfaction and employee turnover, EAPs may also provide the following benefits to employers:

  • Decreased absenteeism.
  • Reduced accidents and lawsuits
  • Lower healthcare costs in the long run
  • And so much more!

What’s the cost of an EAP?

The cost of an EAP depends on multiple factors such as your organization’s size, the agreement you make with your provider, and if your program is a single initiative or a comprehensive program with covered SAP services. The cost can be as little as a few dollars per employee per month to upwards of five dollars per employee per month, so it is important to evaluate the cost and the benefits of the provider you choose.

Studies have shown that implementation of evidence-based interventions such as SAP services can have a benefit of $58 for every dollar spent on substance use disorder treatment, so adding an EAP with SAP services to your drug and alcohol testing program is a wise decision. Also, most employers cover the costs for the employees, a big plus for top talent weighing their options between two or more competing companies.

Are all EAPs created equal?

Although all EAPs offer support for employees and add value to workplace culture, all EAPs are not created equal. Some EAPs are comprehensive, offering a suite of services for the modern employee, while others offer the bare minimum of services. Many do not include SAPs as a central component of the program.

EAPs with SAP services not only benefit companies and their employees but also benefit local communities and the entire country. It is estimated that over 23 million adults in America have dealt with a substance misuse problem at some point in their lives, costing the country more than $440 billion each year, and 75% have never received any form of treatment.

The best EAPs reduce the numbers and costs by providing preventative services and restorative support that get your employees back on the job and back to being productive members of the team, saving you time, money, and peace of mind. These EAPs with SAPs provide you an alternative to firing employees who have otherwise been exemplary workers, allowing you to create a policy that addresses drug and alcohol violations as well as the many underlying causes to produce healthier employees and a safer workplace.

How can you set up an EAP at your company?

The first step to implementing an EAP at your workplace is like starting anything among a group of people; you must first “read the room” or gather a baseline of your employees’ needs. Knowing what issues and concerns matter most for your employees will help you choose a provider that can offer many different types of services that address a variety of workplace and personal situations.

Likewise, comparing various providers for their menu of services and whether they provide SAP services is paramount to your decision on which provider to use and what to include in your EAP, so it should not be made haphazardly. You and your leadership team should seek out providers that can offer an enhanced program for one relatively low cost. Look for providers that offer the following:

  • Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by phone, text, video, or phone app
  • Easy appointment setting for in-person consultation or counseling
  • Access to SAP services
  • One rate based on the number of employees
  • Critical Incident Response
  • And much more!

If you are interested in adopting an EAP with SAP services for your company, please contact your local ARCpoint Labs. We have been providing testing services and timely solutions to companies and individuals alike for over 20 years. Our enhanced EAP program, ARCpoint Wellbeing Solutions, is one of the few EAPs that address employee wellness and workplace safety as part of a drug and alcohol testing program and one of the very few that functions as a one-stop shop for EAP, SAP, policy development, background checks, staff training, and more!