35% of your staff may not actually be aware of your EAP program, or how to access it. Are you making the most of your EAP?
Why increase EAP utilisation?
Increasing the utilisation of your EAP has a number of benefits including:
- – Increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.
- – Happier and healthier employees.
- – Employees who are more committed to their job and less likely to seek employment elsewhere^^.
- – Employees who are more committed to providing support for their fellow colleagues; creating a more cohesive working environment.
Barriers to EAP utilisation
There are a number of reasons why employees may under-utilise an EAP. These include:
- – Employees are unaware that their workplace has an EAP.
- – Employees don’t know what an EAP is, how it works, or how it can help them.
- – Employees are worried about confidentiality.
- – Employees are worried that utilisation will attract some kind of penalty or stigma associated with their capacity to do their job.
- – A lack of mental health awareness in the workplace generally and a failure to identify when an employee may be in need of support.
How to increase participation?
STEP 1: TELL THEM ABOUT IT
A 2014 Beyond Blue study^ suggests that 35% of staff belonging to organisations who have an EAP may not actually be aware of the program, or how to access it.
Make sure your staff are fully informed about the mental health services available to them. They may never need to use their EAP, but just knowing the service is available will help staff feel valued and supported. And when times are tough, they will know they can get real support.
The main things your employees should know about their EAP are:
- – Sessions are confidential. Information disclosed to a counsellor will not be shared with anyone, except with their expressed consent.
- – Sessions can be about personal issues. Employees don’t have to have work-related concerns to access their EAP.
- – Sessions are voluntary.
- – The service is free of charge to them, up to a specified session limit.
There are a number of ways you can provide this information to your employees, including via dedicated e-notices, intranet pages, posters in communal areas, and the distribution of flyers. We are able to provide much of this material to you free of charge as part of your EAP, so feel free to request anything you might need.
STEP 2: PROMOTE WORKPLACE WELL-BEING
The second most common cause of an under-utilised EAP is a general lack of mental health awareness in the workplace. Your staff must learn to recognise the warning signs associated with mental illness so they can respond appropriately. Importantly, your workplace needs to promote a culture of sensitivity, understanding and openness to mental health issues – and this means getting your managers on board, from the very highest echelons.
STEP 3: BE PROACTIVE
An EAP is an essential business tool because it allows you to respond to mental health issues quickly and with the appropriate support. But your EAP need not be merely reactive. A proactive approach to mental health in the workplace provides your staff with the information and skills they need to be mentally healthier, and the know-how to support colleagues under emotional stress.
Our proactive program includes training in mental health awareness, resilience, mindfulness and more. Our training options provide your staff with essential skills and knowledge, whilst also imparting the message that your workplace cares. Call us today for more information about our affordable short workshops program.
A mentally healthy workplace ensures your staff are performing at their optimal capacity.
To make sure you are making the most of your EAP, feel free to get in touch with our Director of Corporate Services today.
* Minter Ellison, Managing Mental Health in the Workplace Survey Report, 2016
^^ TNS Social Research, State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia, 2014