What is an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP?
As the name indicates, an Employee Assistance Program is a comprehensive problem-solving resource that benefits employees, as well as their family members and the organization for which they work. Offering the services of specially trained counselors, the EAP is a tool that management can use to respond in a sensitive, proactive and constructive way. By signing up with the UHS Business Direct EAP, employers can help make a positive difference in the lives of those employees whose personal or family issues are affecting their work performance.
As an efficient business, how can our company afford to become involved with problem employees?
The UHS Business Direct EAP offers employers access to specialized resources at affordable rates. Research indicates that work performance problems result in decreased productivity and employee morale, as well as termination and litigation. On the other hand, the cost of signing up with the EAP to assist with such matters is more cost-effective in the long run.
Wouldn't is be less expensive to just terminate a problem employee?
No. Termination is a costly approach. The process of recruiting, hiring, training and retaining an employee is more expensive than many employers realize. "Getting rid" of someone is fraught with potential legal liabilities and additional costs. If handled incorrectly, it may also set a negative tone, which is disruptive to other employees. The EAP provides employers with a positive resource that allows problem employees a chance to improve. This option reduces the employer's legal consequences and turnover rates, while improving employee morale and sense of loyalty toward their employer.
Isn't management incurring higher risk by trying to work with troubled employees?
No. The UHS Business Direct EAP creates an active management strategy that fosters earlier problem identification in order to have a more successful outcome. By identifying the problem through the EAP, instituting a resolution plan and monitoring the situation, the employer is starting to manage a risk that would otherwise remain latent.
Without an EAP, behavioral health problems tend to remain covered up until more serious workplace problems become evident. At that point, there are more extensive associated financial impacts and the prognosis and opportunity for improvements are less. The EAP can help individuals recognize and understand the nature of their personal problems, become motivated to take corrective action and be connected to appropriate treatment resources. Once the EAP work has been accomplished, the individual can more effectively be held accountable to attain and uphold satisfactory work performance.
Will the EAP increase my Health Plan or Workers Compensation costs?
No. The EAP creates an avenue for earlier involvement with the appropriate level and type of treatment. This results in less expensive care and a better prognosis for problem resolution. In our experience, un-managed situations result in inappropriate treatment and over-utilization of expensive inpatient benefits. In fact, employers may be entitled to reductions in Worker's Compensation and other benefit costs as a result of implementing an EAP.
Can't I handle these problems myself?
Possibly, but it's unlikely that an untrained individual would be able to handle such situations as appropriately and effectively as the EAP's team of trained counselors and other professionals. Managers typically do not possess the necessary expertise, nor are they in the best position to be helpful. They may be anxious and unsure of how to approach a problem employee, or may want to allow the person "one more chance" to improve. Without the proper treatment, a persistent problem is more likely to worsen than become resolved. In this way, despite the best of intentions on the part of employer and employee, the situation may simply be further complicated. The EAP offers employees the specialized clinical skills that are necessary to effectively help them resolve and deal with personal issues. This allows managers to remain focused on what they know best - work performance.
Will the EAP mean more work for my managers and me?
No. The UHS Business Direct EAP will reduce the manager's workload. It will relieve the manager of the need to be a "counselor" to employees. It will help resolve performance issues more quickly, with significantly fewer complications and less time involvement by management staff. EAP involvement reduces the likelihood of having to contend with legal repercussions since it provides a resource that shifts the responsibility for improvement to the employee.
Isn't the solution to these behavioral health problems a matter of individual willpower?
No. The troubled individual typically is misinformed or lacks information regarding the issues he or she is facing. Denial and the rationalization of problems are common reactions. As a result, the employee diverts his or her personal resources toward "covering up" the situation, rather than taking corrective action. Individual treatment often involves some education on the nature of the client's problems and exposes him or her to skills that will allow for more functional coping. Through this process, the EAP helps to support, enhance and redirect the individual's willpower, which is positive for everyone involved.
How are referrals made to the EAP?
An individual may be referred to the EAP in one of three ways: 1. Self-referral; he or she may call and make an appointment on his or her own 2. Informal referral; he or she may contact the EAP following a suggestion from a supervisor or co-worker 3. Formal referral; he or she may call based on an agreement between him or her and his or her employer No matter how individuals access our program, the goal of our EAP is to identify and assist employees and family members with behavioral health problems that are either affecting work performance now or are likely to do so. We provide easy access for individuals to voluntarily seek help, and employees and family members are actively encouraged to call the EAP when they have personal concerns. If troubled individuals are not addressing problems, managers are expected to informally refer subordinates. When work performance ultimately becomes an issue, managers can make the EAP a more formal alternative. The EAP educates managers on this referral process, and are always available to consult with them on individual cases.
Is the EAP confidential?
Yes. A person's involvement with the UHS Business Direct EAP is strictly confidential and subject to state and federal laws. Sometimes it may be necessary for an employee to establish a "reasonable expectation" with the employer to ensure that performance problems will not reoccur or persist. In this situation, communications between the EAP and the employer are conducted solely on a need-to-know basis.