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Employee Assistance Programs – Why They are Under Utilized

If you are like most HR professionals or business owners, you recognize the benefits and true value of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). It is for this reason you are paying for those services and do your best in communicating them to your employees. However, despite your best efforts your EAP goes primarily unused. Here are the Top three (3) reasons why your employees do not use your EAP.

  • EAP Stigma – EAP’s were originally developed to assist employees with alcoholism. Over the years EAP’s expanded to providing other services such as mental health and relationship counseling. Many have gone as far as offering wellness programs for additional cost. However, the stigma that these are for people with “problems” hasn’t gone away. Asking for help and admitting you have an issue is difficult for anyone. Overcoming this stigma is a difficult task for employers.
  • Lack of Knowledge – As previously stated a lot of EAP’s have expanded their...
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Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Wellness Programs - The difference between problem-solving and prevention

EAP's have been around since at least the 1940's and were originally focused on helping employees with alcohol problems. Through the years these programs evolved and expanded to also include assisting employees with mental and relational issues. Today it is estimated that 97% of companies with more than 5,000 employees, 80% of companies with 1,001-5,000 employees and 75% of companies with 251-1,000 employees offer an EAP. However, these programs go heavily unused for a variety of reasons. This leads many companies to search for alternative solutions like wellness programs. But this should not be an either-or situation. Both services serve specific purposes and resonate with your employees on different levels.

First, we must fully understand the purpose of each program. EAP's are designed to help employees with existing issues. These programs provide counseling services for topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, relational problems and mental health issues. By providing counseling...

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