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Employees who are struggling at work may never speak up for fear of judgement or embarrassment—this is where an Employee Assistance Plan can help. An EAP offers confidential, impartial support from professional counsellors. Employees can access this service whenever they need it, instead of waiting a long time for counselling or medical diagnosis.
Figures show that having an EAP in place can cut absence by 45%. Reports from users of the service also showed a 53% improvement in feelings of anxiety. EAP’s can have a drastic impact on the mental wellbeing of your workforce. Not only that, but your employees will also feel supported and cared for.
Getting this support in place is one thing. But employee engagement with the service is another thing entirely. This process requires employers to inform their staff about the service and raise awareness that it’s there to use should employees need it. Sometimes employees will forget the support available to them in times of need—so it’s important to shout about it. The below tips should help increase levels of employee engagement in your workplace.
If employees aren’t engaging with your EAP, reconsider how you're signposting to it. Employees won't access the service if they don't know it's available. Combat this problem by regularly reminding employees of when and how they can access the EAP. It could be in company-wide meetings, with posters in the workplace or via monthly email communications. It’s helpful to give an overview of the problems employees can get help with, for example, money worries or work-related stress. The more information you can provide about the service—the better. When you regularly remind employees about these services, the chances of engagement improve.
Getting senior leaders on board with your EAP can be instrumental to the success of your health and wellbeing strategy. Thought leaders and stakeholders can impact the direction of your organisational culture. Ensure influential leaders promote the EAP by discussing the support available and reminding employees it’s there. It’s also useful to give all managers a briefing of the service as they will often be the first to know when an employee is struggling. When you address mental health issues early on, it can help aid recovery.
Mental health problems come with a stigma. If the conversation around wellbeing in your workplace isn’t already underway, you might find your EAP is underutilised. When workplaces focus on wellbeing by creating a supportive environment for employees, it encourages them to reach out for help should they need it. Employees might feel uncomfortable accessing the service, needing time off for mental health concerns or opening up about their problems with a manager. Communicate to your employees your concern for their mental and physical wellbeing regularly. This may encourage them to take the next step and access support.
Mental health first aid training empowers your employees to learn about mental health. The course teaches employees to identify the early stages of a mental health problem, guide someone towards professional help and break the stigma of a mental health issue. By offering this course to employees and managers in your organisation, you'll boost the conversation around mental health at work. You can also highlight these employees and managers as a point of call for employees to turn to should they feel like they need to talk to someone about mental health. Sometimes it’s easier for employees to open up to another colleague rather than a manager. This course helps to reinforce the importance of mental health and encourage a culture of openness for all.
For more information on how to boost engagement with your EAP get in touch with health assured on: 0844 891 0355.
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