Employee Benefits

5 Key Benefits of Employee Assistance Programs

By Kandy Cantwell on October, 12 2017
5 minute read

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Ensuring employees are happy at work is one of the most important jobs for any employer.

Happy employees create positive and productive work environments, allowing everyone to thrive while working together toward a common goal.

Happy employee benefits of employee assistance programs
Unfortunately, there are times when personal problems prevent employees from doing their best work. This may lead to a sharp reduction in productivity and focus, and can negatively impact the rest of the team.

Click here to learn how an employee wellness program can improve team  productivity and your bottom line  >>

To address this, many employers have recognized the benefits of Employee Assistance Programs in helping keep their teams healthy and happy.


What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

An EAP is a workplace wellness program designed to boost your employees' performance by proactively helping them resolve personal issues. This program offers confidential and short-term support that assists with a variety of issues, including financial, legal, physical, and mental health.

Although EAPs are often used for mental health counselling, they can also support your employees in a variety of other ways, such as helping them with:

  • childcare
  • elder care
  • pet sitting
  • buying a home for the first time

These benefits and services are also often available for each employee's dependents, spouse, and extended family.


The Importance of Employee Assistance Programs for Today’s Workplaces

Studies on workplaces have shown that job stress is increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Statistics Canada General Social Survey (GSS), 25% of working Canadians are affected by stress, while 60% of workers attribute their main source of stress to their job.

Ongoing stress leads to exhaustion and apathy, often resulting in a lack of productivity and psychological burnout. EAPs can help prevent this, by providing employees critical support before their stress snowballs into a crisis.

Let’s take a look at some key employee assistance program benefits.


5 Essential Benefits of Workplace EAPs


1. Lead to Increased Productivity

When employees are distracted by personal problems, they become less motivated and creative at work. They may also start to use more sick days in an effort to cope. Needless to say, these absences can have serious consequences.

In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management  reports that companies lose 36.6% of their productivity due to employee absences.

However, statistics show that after an EAP is introduced, productivity increases. Studies also show that EAPs reduce sick leave usage by 33%, lost time by 40%, and work-related accidents by 65%.


2. Affordable for Employers to Implement

One of the major benefits of employee assistance programs is that they are surprisingly affordable, ranging from 42 to 60 dollars per employee per year.  This is less than 1% of what the average employer pays annually for employee health insurance!

It’s important to keep communicating the availability of the program to keep it top of mind for employees. If you don’t, the likelihood that they will use it decreases significantly.


3. Help Businesses Save Money

According to Statistics Canada, mental health issues cost employers a staggering $20 billion per year and account for 75% of short-term disability claims in Canada. If you’re not addressing mental health in the workplace, it may cost you dearly. 

On a positive note, Morneau Shepell reports that EAPs give employers an excellent return on investment: for every $1 you invest, the return is 8 times greater!

Investing in an EAP leads to reduced healthcare costs, lower medical insurance usage, fewer disability claims, and fewer absences.


4. Encourage a positive work environment

Stress-caused issues such as absenteeism, decreased performance, and health problems affect not only one person but the overall work force.

Additionally, if someone is experiencing a high level of stress, they may become more defensive, argumentative, and a less communicative at work.

An EAP can help a troubled employee by providing support as well as an outlet to discuss their issues.  As a result, the employee experiences an improvement in stress-levels, which will positively affect co-workers.


5. Lead to Increased Employee Retention

A positive work environment is a key factor in retaining talented employees.

Did you know that a survey by the American Health Association found that 51% of employees stay at their job because of good relationships with coworkers? An EAP helps keep employees productive, present, and happier while on the job.

Furthermore, this program is especially useful in attracting and retaining millennial employees.

In general, millennials are less hesitant to reach out for help regarding mental health issues, and are therefore more likely to appreciate and make use of an employee assistance program.


Final Thoughts

The psychological and financial costs of stress and mental health issues are taking a toll on Canadian businesses. Now, more than ever, employers have a responsibility to support employees and contribute to their wellbeing.  

Don’t hesitate to include an EAP in your employee benefits offering.

It costs little to implement, and provides significant gains for your employees while helping to boost your bottom line. This vital program can go a long way in creating a happy, strong, and productive team.


An EAP can be an integral part of a complete employee wellness program. Ready to learn more about how employee wellness is good for business?

Employee Wellness 101: How Healthy Employees Lead to Healthy Returns

Discover how you can improve the well-being of your employees and improve your company's bottom line with a wellness program.


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