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Why You Need An Employee Assistance Programme

Published December 14, 2022 (last updated February 21, 2023) - Head of Operations
Employees who are supported in their workplace.

Research has revealed that levels of distress, depression, stress, and suicidality are high for New Zealanders aged 18-34. The global pandemic and resulting financial uncertainty have created an additional burden on professionals and employees. Employees are the foundation of your business, and they need looking after. Some employers offer extra benefits as part of an employee health and safety or wellness plan. An employee assistance programme (EAP) can offer your employees, and often their families, support – for example counselling – to help them cope with workplace issues and personal problems that could have a negative effect on their work performance.

What Is an Employee Assistance Programme? 

Studies have shown that the three top issues impacting New Zealander’s mental health are:

  • finances
  • relationships with friends and family
  • not getting enough sleep

An EAP provides work-based short-term problem-solving and counselling services aimed at improving the emotional, mental and general health of employees.

EAP services may include:

  • Access to free and confidential professional counselling for work and personal issues
  • Health promotion information
  • Fitness and relaxation information and exercise programs
  • Training e.g., time management, learning other coping skills.

Work and personal issues include relationship, marital, financial, gambling, (mental) health, trauma, communication or substance and alcohol abuse problems. An EAP enables your employee to reach out in confidence to a qualified professional to help identify and resolve these problems.

Benefits Of Employee Assistance Programmes 

Research shows that a business that is supportive of employee wellbeing often sees an increase in productivity and employee engagement. The use of EAPs is how larger businesses support the mental wellbeing of staff, while flexible working arrangements are a key option for smaller businesses.

Improves Productivity 

A 2019 report shows that businesses in New Zealand lost a total of 7.4 million working days due to employee absenteeism in 2018, which translates to a direct cost of $1.79 million. There was an impact on employee productivity, in that staff who have good emotional, as well as physical health, perform better.

Helps Attract Talent 

Another key benefit of a supportive workplace is employees consider this kind of business more attractive to work for. For example, a study amongst construction workers found wellness and personal development was top of the employees’ list in terms of work-life balance and benefits, and that to attract and retain valuable employees the construction industry must provide work-life benefits, reasonable working hours, and a supportive workplace culture.

Support For Managers 

Managers play an important part in supporting a healthy workplace, and in turn need support to be effective. Managers influence their direct reports positively by setting examples of healthy habits, providing leadership, guidance and support, rewarding and recognising employee contributions as well as flagging any issues or changes in behaviour early on.

Mental Health Policy Template

A free template policy suitable for most businesses.

Increase revenue

EAPs are designed to support your staff and help them through their challenges. For businesses, the benefit is crystal clear. Every $1 spent on mental health actions potentially delivers a return of $2.30 to your business.

This happens as:

  • Staff feel motivated and productive
  • They take lesser sick days
  • Staff commit long-term to the company and role

Reduce absenteeism

When your employees face personal challenges, they are bound to take excessive leave.

Mental health issues can cause fatigue and stress that can lead to staff taking more sick days. By having an EAP, you allow your employees to start improving their health and feel 100%.

Grow with Employsure

Employsure has worked with 30,000 businesses across Australia and New Zealand. We understand the challenges they face.

Call our 24/7 Advice Line today to get all your questions answered.

*This document is intended to act as general information. Please consult an expert before implementing any programmes.

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