In recent years, and certainly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the important issues that raised in prevalence is personal wellbeing and mental health. There is an increased responsibility for managers and leaders to consider their employees’ personal welfare as an important component of job contracts. Also, in the wake of telemedicine, many organizations have revisited the Employee Assistance Program to expand what coverage is offered, and how it can be accessed.
Spread the Word
One of the most important things an employer can do is make certain that every member knows and clearly understand the details of their EAP. Far too often, our team realize that it is only after the need for a health intervention that an employee is briefed on their support plan. “Often, it is the case that employees don’t maximise the use of their EAP plan because it is not top of mind for them” explains Axxel-Bromelin Senior Consultant Chantale Painchaud. She goes on to add that “companies should remind or inform more frequently their employees about their EAP, specific coverage and how to use it, but more importantly reinforce that it is a confidential service”. The benefits surpass making sure your team know how to obtain access to support for personal health matters, it can even have a boarder impact on the happiness and commitment of staff. As Chantale highlights “advocating for your team members’ health and happiness beyond the workplace has positive ramifications on employee relations and company culture”.
One of the key components surrounding Employee Assistance Programs and using personal health benefits is the assurance of complete confidentiality. It is vital to confirm that all team members know that the only information an employer receives is general data on overall usage of the program – no names or situations of any single individual. Considering that the most highly used service falls under various forms of psychological support, the emphasis on total confidentiality is important for your team to know and trust.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Interestingly, there is a current push toward offering EAP assistance from smaller, boutique firms, steering away from big established companies. Traditional corporations do have the advantage of offering interesting and affordable packages to enterprises with large teams, but the boutique organizations do have more flexibility and customization.
“Take some time to ask your team what matters most to them in their benefits package; how much individual customization do they prefer? Is a flexible “wellness” account attractive to them? Once you have a clear picture of what they value most, you can explore what type of company and package works for you” – Chantale says.
What Else Can You Do?
Aside from your actual program, there are many small actions your enterprise can take that go a long way in making your team feel respected, valued, and that their personal life health is your priority. Here are some quick ways you can support wellness:
- Offer flexible work hours when possible – the 9-5 may not fit employees with young families or other obligations.
- Suggest limiting video calls on certain days/times of the week. Having a policy of “no video calls on Friday afternoons” can help off-set Zoom fatigue.
- Incorporate regular teambuilding activities (For ideas on virtual activities click here).
- Make sure your team know, in detail, what their EAP package is and how to use it.
- An employer’s emphasis on providing a complete EAP is linked with better company culture, where employees feel supported and valued.
- Interview your team to know what matters most to their in their benefits package
- Attention to an EAP helps with employee retention and is an attraction for future candidates.