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    You’re In For A Surprise. It’s always a challenge to attract and retain good employees. But in times of high employment – like today – the challenge is even greater. Of course, in any economy, you’re still limited in terms of benefits; when it comes to salaries, health insurance, 401(k) matching and the like, there’s only so much money in the bucket.

    Fortunately, there’s one often-overlooked benefit that can provide a true retention and recruiting advantage over your competition – a comprehensive EAP (Employee Assistance Program). That’s right. A comprehensive EAP, implemented correctly, can yield surprising benefits, including decreased healthcare costs, reduced absenteeism and a happier, more productive workforce. Increasingly, employers and employees are recognizing the value; on their 2018 list of ten perks that attract and retain employees, places EAPs just behind Snacks and Coffee, Flexible Work Schedules and Working from Home.

    The Behavioral Health Drain

    Everyone understands how physical illness in the workforce can lead to employee and employer hardships, financial and otherwise. In much the same way, behavioral health issues can be a huge drain on productivity, as well as overall healthcare costs. Of the 1,500-plus workers interviewed by the American Psychological Association (APA) for the 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, one in three reported being chronically stressed on the job, and less than half of the respondents felt their company supported employee well-being.

    Not All EAPs Are Alike

    Any EAP can address behavioral issues, but a comprehensive plan can do more, and do it better. Some leading edge EAPs, for example, are using data analytics to proactively address behavioral health issues, which leads to increased employee engagement and reduced healthcare costs. Addressing the issues, though, is more than a trend; it’s a necessity. “Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance,” says David Ballard, PsyD, MBA and head of the APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, “are best positioned for success.”

    But beware of the “free” EAP. While the goal of any EAP plan is to improve employee wellness by helping them deal with personal and work problems, not all plans are alike. Most of the free add-on plans offered by health insurance companies and brokers, in fact, contract with third-party providers with limited offerings and a reduced level of service. Employee care is not a priority; checking off the EAP box is. In addition, these plans are never truly free; employers are paying premiums as part of their overall package.

    A comprehensive EAP plan offered by a specialty vendor is a very different animal. These providers are true partners in the behavioral health of your employees. They’ll help you with program marketing and employee awareness. They’ll help you address the stigma often associated with behavioral health issues. They’ll help you make the program work better. Plus, they have the experience and knowledge to help employees and their family members in a professional, clinically-appropriate manner.

    The list of services offered by a comprehensive EAP is surprisingly extensive. And for employers watching their bottom line, these plans more than pay for themselves in increased employee productivity, improved retention, reduced absenteeism and reduced healthcare costs.

    Features of a Comprehensive EAP

    Just like there are comprehensive, best-in-class insurance plans, there are comprehensive, best-in-class EAPs. Make sure your EAP provider offers a full breadth of counseling, coaching, work/life balance and organizational support services, including:

    • Counseling and referral services by licensed counselors
    • Provider/employee matching and access to services in-person, telephonically, by video or via chat
    • Financial and legal consultations
    • Eldercare and childcare consultation, resources and referrals
    • Unlimited management consultation around formal referrals or other workplace issues
    • Identity theft recovery
    • Leadership coaching
    • Critical incident response services and reporting
    • Proactive awareness initiatives
    • Options like 24/7 HIPAA-compliant texting support, personal coaching, Video call doctor visits and more

    Create Better Employees

    Helping people live better, happier lives is only one of the benefits of providing a comprehensive EAP plan (although, admittedly, a big benefit). A decrease in problems and worries leads to an increase in productivity.

    But there’s a bonus benefit to providing such a plan, whether employees find they need these services or not. When people feel valued, appreciated and cared for, they naturally become more empowered and motivated to do their best work. If you want a loyal and happy workforce, in other words, create a workplace that enables them to be their best.

    Learn More

    Want to be sure that you have the right EAP for your company?  Click here or call Espyr at 866-570-3479.


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