Employees are people first and foremost, and besides their job title, they have many other roles to play – like spouse, parent, sibling and so on. Every employee has a life outside their workplace, and it’s certainly not uncommon for issues from these personal lives to pervade their working hours.
We all have bad days, but there are times when shrugging the shoulders and saying “they’ll be right tomorrow” doesn’t cut it. Employers need to recognise that there are times when employees might be experiencing a significant personal crisis. While offering genuine understanding and support is vital – making external, professional support services available is also extremely important in helping someone to ‘weather the storm’.
A sound Employee Assistance Program (EAP) should be designed to enhance the general wellbeing of all employees. The aim is to provide preventive and proactive interventions for the early detection, identification and resolution of problems that can affect your people.
Sounds like a nice thing to have, but why should your business pay for something like this?
It’s simple. Investing in health and wellbeing is likely to be the most significant factor that will influence the quality of work, productivity, attendance and retention of your staff. Studies have shown that EAPs deliver enormous benefits to businesses including reduced turnover, absenteeism and higher employee productivity. An effective EAP will also reduce business’ exposure to risk, particularly when it comes to costly work cover claims.
I often hear from my clients, many of whom are small to medium (SME) business owners, that they haven’t invested in an EAP for their business as it all sounds too hard, too big or too expensive. You might say it’s almost fair enough. But doing nothing is not only unfair on employees – it’s risky business. Employees need to feel that they can access a range of support and advice services without the worry of being looked at negatively by their managers. Employers need to walk the talk here – show employees that you value their wellbeing and they will thank you by working hard, sticking around and generally just loving their job!
Laura Lee is a fully registered Psychologist and capable HR professional with over 10 years experience in both a clinical setting as well as within the field of Human Resource Management. Laura is currently the Head Psychologist at HR Gurus, a consultancy firm based in Melbourne, Australia, that specialises in providing straightforward HR solutions to SME’s.
Top image: francistoms