Life Happens. Be Ready With An Employee Assistance Plan.

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Life happens. Stuff happens. Stress happens. Stressful events are, unfortunately, a part of life. I recently experienced a few in rapid succession and I have found myself needing more sleep and more chocolate than usual lately.


Consider the Importance of EAPs

That got me thinking about the importance of the EAP– Employee Assistance Program. Well known to those of us in the HR field, EAPs began in the 30s and have evolved into third party vendors providing support and assistance to employees with personal issues that may affect their work performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. Via phone calls, websites and in-person visits with counselors, they provide anonymous support for employee and management interpersonal issues, work-related crisis counseling, and financial and legal consulting for employees and their household members.


An EAP seems like a luxury benefit…until you need it. And boy, then you really need it! Many of our clients couldn’t live without it. From specific personal issues of a death in the immediate family, to company-wide crises including layoffs, to assisting an employee with locating eldercare services, EAPs help employees and managers with the difficult personal and emotional issues that can sap energy and focus as well as be the cause of employee absenteeism and reduced productivity.


The focus is two-fold for the employee and company:

  1. Getting issues managed and resolved happily for the employee, and
  2. Getting the employee back to productive and focused performance


The benefit is considered an ancillary one and can be purchased as a stand-alone service, but it’s also available as a bundled product together with short-term, long-term disability and life insurance carriers. Employers can work with their benefits brokers to review vendors, service levels and pricing. Service options range from free 24/7/365 phone and web access, to a counselor, to free visits with a therapist in person, to discounted rates with an attorney.


An EAP Can Be An Effective Tool

For the cost of pennies (okay quarters!) per employee per month, it’s worth it to at least consider it as an effective and proven tool to help both leaders and employees. Then, if somebody has a week like mine and they’re not functioning at the top of their game, the counselor can help them put things in perspective and get rolling again.


As always, we are here to help, so contact us with any questions or for more information.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.