A Guide to Implementing the Right Employee Assistance Programs

employee assistance programs

A Guide to Implementing the Right Employee Assistance Programs

Employees are getting stressed out from the COVID-19 pandemic, job uncertainty, remote working, and other concerns. Organizations are looking to implement employee assistance programs to support them through their tough times.

In our previous blog, we briefed about Employee Assistance Programs – what they are, how to choose them, and their benefits.

A typical EAP is designed to promote employee work-life balance. Through the EAPs, employers provide counselors, tools, and resources to help employees overcome concerns that affect their wellbeing and productivity.

Though EAPs can bring many benefits to the workplace, it is tough to plan the best-suited modules. For the best outcome of your assistance program, factors like EAP delivery models and implementation plans must be considered.

Employee Assistance Program Models

As employee wellbeing trends and corporate technology is evolving, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) delivery models are also evolving. Here are the 5 key EAP delivery models to establish an effective assistance program.

  • In-house Programs – In-House EAP programs work best for large-size organizations. An in-house EAP team with specialists is hired to manage the program activities and events. Such programs grant employees 24 x 7 access to the EAP platform and professionals.
  • Fixed-fee Models – Most medium or small-sized businesses implement the EAP programs with a fixed-fee model. Organizations have a fixed budget to pay for selected EAP services. The fixed fee usually depends on the number of employees in the program and the type of chosen services.
  • Contract Services – In this model, EAP professionals provide services to businesses based on a contract. The fee is usually paid on a contract basis or for ad hoc solutions. This model is best suited for small-sized organizations with budget constraints but does not compromise employee wellbeing.
  • Membership-Sponsored – This EAP model usually caters to employees who are union members or are a part of any member assistance programs of certain affiliations or industries.
  • Hybrid models – The hybrid models are usually a blend of different fixed-fee, membership-sponsored, union-sponsored, or contract-based services. The hybrid EAP models are best suited for organizations that need a range of different employee assistance services. Ideally, it has a fixed-fee structure. However, additional services may also be opted on a contract basis with extra payments.

Implementing EAP for Your Company

Without complete knowledge about EAP models, trends, and services, it can be difficult to plan and implement the right Employee Assistance Program for the workplace.

Step 1 – Planning the Implementation Structure

A strong structure and foundation to implement the EAP are vital for its success. Start by putting together an EAP committee that includes members from the HR department, team leaders, and employee groups from different departments. Pool in all the ideas to plan an easily understandable corporate assistance program with actionable goals and objectives. Make sure the onboarding is easy to ensure high employee engagement and effectiveness. With clear inception of your EAP and a strong action plan, the management can support in achieving the wellbeing and business goals.

Step 2 – EAP Model and Budgeting

Once your business and employee wellbeing goals are identified, it becomes easy to decide on the best-suited EAP delivery model and set a budget for it. Know the number of workers eligible for the workplace assistance program, the incentives, the events, and all the modules for the EAP. Decide the most fitting EAP delivery model. When you have all your criteria set clear, it becomes easy to set the budget for the EAP.

Step 3 – Choose your EAP Vendor

Apart from identifying the EAP model and setting the budget, choosing the right vendor is a crucial step while implementing workplace assistance programs. Since there are so many vendors in the corporate wellness market, it is important to find the one who offers features that best fit your company’s requirements. Here are a few pointers to consider while choosing your EAP vendor –

  • Experience and credibility
  • Vendor reviews and testimonials
  • Cost of services and worthiness
  • Flexibility and scalability of services
  • Various services offered by the vendor
  • Customer support services

Since the parameters will differ for each organization, make sure your company’s interests and needs are all catered to by your vendor.

Step 4 – Announcing the EAP to your Workforce

Communication is the key to successful employee engagement. The implementation process is not completed unless you introduce and communicate about the EAP to your employees. Once the workforce understands how the EAP works, its benefits, and the entire working framework, it becomes easy to ensure employee wellbeing and engagement. After introducing the EAP to your workforce, conduct a discussion or survey session where employees can voice their opinions and ask queries. The more they understand the EAP, its working process, and benefits, the more likely they are to engage well, reflecting the success of the employee assistance programs and workplace wellness.

Implementing an effective employee assistance program takes time and a lot of resources. When designed and executed with the best-suited modules, the EAP can be the best investment your organization makes to boost employee wellbeing, morale, and workplace wellness.