We recently had the opportunity to talk with Patrick Gaul, manager of account services at ease@work, about how EAPs can be beneficial to small businesses.
When EAPs and small businesses come together
Small businesses are impacted more by types of employee performance and behavior issues addressed by an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) than larger businesses because one employee affected by a personal concern makes up a larger percentage of the total workforce. Gaul says having a free, confidential resource to address mental health concerns and work/life balance issues is essential in maintaining a productive workforce.
An EAP is a suite of services provided to employees to address concerns in their lives, which could have a direct or indirect impact on their work performance. This benefit is paid for by the employer and is provided to the employee at no cost.
What makes EAPs unique is that the services are delivered confidentially. This allows employees to seek assistance for things that they might not otherwise be comfortable addressing.
“Typical EAP services include counseling to address mental health issues such as stress, relationship issues or substance abuse,” says Gaul. “Most EAPs also offer services to assist employees with work/life balance such as helping with child, school-aged and elder care consultations and legal and financial counseling. Check with your EAP to become familiar with their offerings. Some even offer wellness resources, including coaching for nutrition and fitness as well as nicotine cessation counseling.”
Common mental health disorders and work/life balance issues have a profound impact on productivity and safety. Most of the time, this is unrecognizable by co-workers and management. Gaul also stresses that small businesses would be missing out on a very resourceful tool for managers that are trying to keep employees operating at high levels of productivity.
Ease@work provides employee assistance, work/life balance and wellness services to companies throughout Ohio and is also a preferred partner of ERC. An EAP typically costs $2,000-$3,000 total per year for businesses with under 100 employees.
How a small business can enroll
The enrollment and rollout process is a smooth transition compared to most other benefits.
“The EAP benefit is typically offered to employees and dependents including spouse/domestic partners and children up to age 26,” says Gaul. “An EAP should provide the organization with materials to educate the employees about the new benefit.”
Other enrollment services EAPs should provide are in-person presentations for employees to explain the services and answer any questions. Also, they should offer presentations to managers so they are knowledgeable about how they can use an EAP to address employee performance and behavior issues.
Discount on Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for small and large companies
ERC members receive one free management consultation, one free seminar annually, and discounts on Drug Free Safety Program training. For more information, click here or contact Patrick Gaul at [email protected].