The Best Improvement to Your Employee Benefit Package May Not Cost You Anything

EAPSometimes the best way HR Directors and small business owners can improve their Employee Benefits offering is to better communicate what is already provided.

Often it is the employees who do not take the time to listen to, or read, the information we provide for them. At times, however, we in HR are at fault for not communicating effectively. Typically, we will provide adequate information regarding the most notable benefits such as the retirement plan and health, dental and disability insurance. However, one hidden treasure rarely getting meaningful air-time during the annual open enrollment meeting is the Employee Assistance Program, (EAP).

With stress being a leading cause of medical and disability claims, we owe it to our employees and our organizations to effectively communicate what is provided through the EAP—and communicate it often.

We recently gathered our staff to discuss the wellness offerings we provide for our employees. We introduced a few new initiatives including the opportunity to earn a new pair of exercise shoes, reimbursement for gym memberships and quarterly wellness educational opportunities. However, we used a lengthier segment to explain an underused, and often overlooked, benefit that could have a significant impact on the wellbeing of our employees—our EAP.

Many organizations have an EAP, they just don’t know it. The EAP will often come with another policy, as it does at our firm where it is a part of our long-term disability benefit.

Employee Wellness

Rediscovering we had an EAP, we decided it was time we would make sure our team knew what was available through the EAP and how to use it. Therefore, to improve our communication of the EAP benefit, our Wellness Specialist and I met. As a result, she invited our Carrier Representative to come and share the benefits to our team. It was a great decision. We followed up by sending emails and flyers to the staff reinforcing the information and encouraging them to take advantage of the free EAP services.

Our employees learned how our EAP provides behavioral services which offer support, guidance and resources to help them AND their family members to resolve personal issues. In many cases, if needed, the services provide up to three free private personal face-to-face counseling sessions. The behavior services can help with issues such as:

  • Parenting
  • Elder care
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Difficulties in relationships
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Personal achievement
  • Emotional well-being
  • Legal concerns
  • Grief

 In addition, the EAP provides:

  • Free identify theft and fraud resolution program
  • Free online will, &
  • Free financial counseling including:
    • Creating and managing a budget
    • Understanding bankruptcy
    • Avoiding foreclosure
    • Purchasing a home
    • Estate planning
    • College funding
    • Investment planning, &
    • Medicare & Social Security information.

Confidentiality

Because the services are completely confidential, an employee can seek help without concern for her job security or how others may view her if they were to become aware of her personal issues. Employees simply call the toll-free number and begin exploring solutions. No one back at the office will ever know they utilized the service.

Let It Be Known

If you are a Human Resources Director or small business owner and you have been looking for a low cost and effective addition to your benefit offerings for your employees, you may already have it. There is a good chance your company already offers an EAP. If you are not sure, check with your employee benefits broker. If you have an EAP, then spread the word. And be sure to do more than simply add another poster to the often-ignored HR bulletin board in the break room.

If you are an employee and not aware of an EAP, ask about it. If you discover you and your fellow employees have access to assistance, be the champion for promoting it in your organization.

Love

Employers will often promote the EAP because they know an emotionally and financially healthy employee will be a more productive employee. Yet, there should be a deeper motivation. When I promoted the EAP to our staff I made it abundantly clear why we wanted them to take advantage of the services. I summed it up in three words: We love you.

_____________________________

This post originally appeared in my Jack In The Team Box HR and Leadership Blog on February 28, 2013.

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About Jack W Bruce
Jack W Bruce Jr. is a novice blogger, husband and father of four, living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a lover of God, a reader and a wanna-be runner. Jack’s blogs include www.jackwbruce.wordpress.com and www.jackintheteambox.com. Jack can also be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/jackwbruce.

One Response to The Best Improvement to Your Employee Benefit Package May Not Cost You Anything

  1. Pingback: What is the Difference between Wellness and Well-being? | Raving Wellness

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