There are countless research studies which clearly demonstrate that offering an Employee Assistance Program significantly increases workplace productivity while decreasing absenteeism and turnover due to the personal problems employees will occasionally experience. Numerous reports frequently claim an attractive return on investment of a ratio of 6 to 1. Furthermore, offering an EAP benefit can greatly reduce healthcare expenditures, and disability claims. These sources make a compelling case that your company should offer an Employee Assistance Program as part of your benefits package.
For Associates in Employee Assistance (a counselor owned and operated EAP), the bottom line is that an Employee Assistance Program is a resource for your employees. It’s a place for them to call when they don’t know what to do, and they don’t want their personal problems to interfere with their job. It’s a place for them to call when they need some help resolving the conflict they are experiencing in their family and personal relationships, which make them more distracted at work. It’s a place for them to call when either they themselves or someone they love is struggling with an addiction. It’s a place for them to get some help with the emotional struggles they may be experiencing, which you may not know anything about. In short, it’s a good place for them to start addressing their concerns that are of a personal nature. And it’s free for them, and easily accessible, which makes it more likely they’ll use it.
But it’s also a resource for YOU, the Employer. When an employee’s personal problems are interfering with their workplace productivity, an EAP is a place you can refer them to for help in getting things straightened out. It’s a way for you to maintain an appropriate and professional relationship in the workplace, without getting into the role of being a confidante and becoming mired in an employee’s private struggles. In some rare cases, a mandatory referral of an employee to EAP can also help make a strong statement on the need for performance improvement. And finally, an EAP counselor can also be an outside resource and sounding board to you in helping you to appropriately address an employee’s workplace performance problems.
A vital part of your Employee benefits package is the Employee Assistance Program. This is especially true these days with the popularity of “high deductible” health insurance packages. While high deductible insurance plans offer savings on the premium paid, the downside is that the individual must pay all of the costs of care until they have met their deductible. For some healthcare affiliated services (like counseling) an individual may choose to not receive services due to the expense which they will incur. However, offering an EAP benefit is an effective way to bridge this gap and save an employee a significant financial outlay which could be as much as approximately one thousand dollars per episode of counseling.
Associates in Employee Assistance offers an eight (8) session per calendar year model. This is vastly superior to most EAP’s which offer only three sessions. Most counselors and clients would agree that three counseling sessions is just barely enough for the counselor and client to get to know each other, identify the concerns and a strategy to address the problem, and form a trusting therapeutic relationship. Even counselors who specialize in “short-term therapy” typically identify the counseling process as taking between five and eight sessions.
While it might be hoped that after receiving three EAP counseling sessions, the employee would continue paying for any continued counseling themselves, the truth is that they rarely do. Instead they usually discontinue counseling, not having made much noticeable improvement. Therefore, an eight session model is preferred because the employee can begin to see some progress in that time, and is significantly more likely to continue in counseling beyond the eight sessions, if needed. Exposure to a longer term of counseling is more likely to lead to effective changes being made and for those changes to be reinforced for lasting benefit.
If Associates in Employee Assistance was strictly run by business professionals we might be mostly interested in our bottom line and offer a three session model like most other EAPs. But we are owned and run by counselors, who are genuinely interested in effectively helping the people we serve. And because we are counselor owned and operated, we have minimal overhead and offer very competitive rates for our services, while at the same time offering better quality services.
Finally, all counselors of Associates in Employee Assistance have at least 25 years experience providing counseling services to clients. We do not sub-contract with outside providers, and the professionalism, competence and high quality of our “in-house” counselors make Associates in Employee Assistance simply the best EAP you will find in the Rochester, NY region.
Human Resource Professionals and Benefits Administrators are often concerned that “rolling out” a new benefit like an EAP can be complicated and labor intensive. Contrary to this notion, Associates in Employee Assistance has streamlined the process and will assist you in getting the program up and running quickly.
In addition to our attractive, straight forward promotional materials which include wallet cards, brochures, posters and introductory letters, we also offer work site orientations to varying sizes of work groups.
These orientation presentations are as brief as 15 minutes, and what makes them most effective is that they are delivered by our engaging and personable counselors. We don’t use “marketers” to encourage your employees to use the service, but rather the actual counselors that provide our services. Evidence shows that bringing a counselor into the workplace to do an EAP orientation, greatly increases the likelihood an employee will use the benefit. Your employees concerns about confidentiality will be greatly reduced when a licensed counseling provider assures them of their complete privacy. When they hear directly from a counselor the kinds of concerns we can help them with, they will be much more likely to use this valuable resource benefit.
Associates in Employee Assistance believes that face to face contact with your employees is the ONLY true, honest and valid measure of utilization. Associates in Employee Assistance will provide your company with a semi-annual utilization report. Because we are bound by HIPAA confidentiality laws, absolutely no employee identifying information will be shared, but rather a percentage of your company’s workforce that has used the benefit.
We believe in the highest ethical standards of utilization reporting and follow the Employee Assistance Professional Association’s (EAPA) guidance on calculating utilization. Therefore, we consider “utilization” to mean ONLY a face to face, initial appointment with a counselor. Furthermore, we do not count follow up appointments. Likewise we do not count phone calls for information or to schedule an appointment, nor do we count website hits or attendance at an employee orientation or benefit fair.
While other EAPs inflate their utilization statistics by counting visits beyond the first one, phone calls, website hits and other questionable measures, our belief is that the EAPA prescribed method gives you the most accurate measure of your employee’s use of the benefit. According to EAPA statistics the average annual utilization of an EAP benefit is between three to six percent for companies of more than one hundred employees (which can vary significantly with smaller companies). Our current utilization rate is within the upper end of these rates reported by EAPA. It is not uncommon for some EAPs to claim utilization consistently over ten percent per year, and some even as high as twenty five percent. All we can suggest is to be wary of those claims.
To some, a utilization rate of around five percent may seem low and hence not justify having an EAP. However, consider that over the course of five years, approximately one quarter of your employees will use the benefit. Like life insurance and catastrophic health insurance there is hopefully a very slim chance that your employees will need those benefits during their working careers, but it’s peace of mind to have them in place. An Employee Assistance Program is similar in this regard, however, there is a much greater chance that your employee will eventually encounter circumstances where the EAP will be a great resource for them, and help to make them a more productive employee for your company employees and their dependents.
If you are interested in learning more about Associates in Employee Assistance please give our office a call at (585) 383-4478, and ask to speak with either Bonnie Maute or Steve Michener. We can discuss your company’s EAP needs over the phone or we would be glad to come to your location to meet with you. We can provide you with a detailed proposal which will explain all of our services, and answer any questions you might have. We can also address any special circumstances which may be unique to your company. We take pride in being flexible to the needs of the companies that contract with us.