It’s no secret that employees are stressed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says job-related anxiety is the leading workplace health problem in the U.S.
Not only is an abundance of stress not good for business and productivity, it can have detrimental effects on people’s long-term health.
Employers have been working hard to tackle their employees’ stress and burnout, offering perks such as wellness programs and flexible schedule options.
Many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP), which offers helpful services like on-demand counseling and therapy referrals.
With advances in technology, EAPs today can offer even more valuable services, such as:
- financial education classes
- healthy eating/sleeping information, and
- help maintaining a good work/life balance.
The problem is, employees aren’t taking advantage of these. Multiple studies show the average EAP utilization rate is below 10%.
So why aren’t employees using EAPs when they need these services now more than ever?
Workers could be a little wary to take advantage of EAPs, which could stem from a lack of trust in their organization. They may not want to divulge personal information, or they might just be confused about what the program offers.
Changing the status quo
But if you have an EAP in place, you want your people to use it!
You can’t make any major changes happen overnight, but here are five tactics you can use to start boosting your EAP utilization rates.
- Communicate the program effectively. Your employees can’t use your EAP if they don’t know about it or where to find additional information. Employers should put EAP info everywhere — the employee handbook, fliers around the office, links on the intranet homepage, etc.
It’s also a great idea to start including EAP information in your orientation and onboarding programs. Let new hires know from the start that it’s there for them if they need it.
- Promote online and mobile capabilities. Does your EAP have its own website or app? Make sure your staff knows about it. The easier it is for them to access, the more likely they’ll use it.
Another good idea is to have EAP apps and online shortcuts downloaded onto all electronic work devices. This will constantly remind employees the program’s there and will increase accessibility.
- Train your managers and get them involved. Department managers are the leaders who know employees the best. Get them to be vigilant and look out for any workers who may not be acting like themselves. Managers can then offer the employee EAP information if they feel it’s warranted.
It’s important to note that managers should be trained on handling these situations sensitively.
- Have a benefits fair. Organizing an internal event like this will do wonders for promoting your EAP, as well as other benefits available to employees.
A great thing to include would be any employees willing to discuss their experience with the EAP firsthand.
- Track EAP usage and obtain feedback. Keep an eye on the stats to see how effective your efforts are. It’d be a good idea to look for any spikes in EAP usage, too, which could give you insight on overly stressful business periods.
And don’t forget to ask your people for feedback on the program! See if there’s anything specific that would increase usage.