Ensuring employees are satisfied and have a high level of well being is a crucial step in any successful business. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP's) are one means of achieving this. Enhancing staff productivity and cohesiveness, as well as reducing staff absenteeism in the work place, are just a few of the many benefits of EAP's. However, implementation of your EAP is a crucial step in ensuring your organisation reaps the benefits. Like all good plans, EAP's can come unstuck if logical steps are not taken in order to ensure the seamless transition into your workplace.
- Actively promote the service! After all the success of your program hinges on staff utilising the service. It is difficult for an EAP to have an impact if staff do not utilise it and if you don’t believe in it - neither will they! Although confidentiality is crucial, testimonials to the success of counselling are often an invaluable mechanism.
- Prepare your employees for the change. Interact with staff to gauge what staff perceive as problems which affect their work this could be anything from stress management, alcoholism or family issues. Different workplaces will inevitably need to target different areas.
- Ensuring your employee work culture understands the need for an EAP. If the need for referral to an outside counselling service is deemed necessary, staff need to welcome this as a solution.
- Align your EAP with your work culture. Given the multicultural nature of the Australian work force it is important to note cultural perceptions, for example, in some Asian cultures it is essential to “save face”. Tailor your program accordingly, this could mean setting up direct hotlines to outside services.
- Train all members of Management and any members of staff who have a supervisory capacity. This ensures staff have the capacity to ascertain who is in need of referral to an outside counselling service and are comfortable addressing this with those in need.
- Realise that a drop in productivity is not the only sign of employees with personal problems. Early intervention is crucial and even when staff are meeting the key performance indicators this may not be there maximum potential when suffering from personal issues.
- Align your EAP with current policies and procedures.