Why Employee Assistance Programs Offer Today’s Best Value for Your Benefit’s Dollar

Robert Crowder, founder and President of The Benefits Trust, has over 30 years of experience serving pension and employee benefits clients. In 1994, he founded The Benefits Trust as a Third Party Administrator serving small and mid-sized business across Canada. Through Rob Crowder's dedication and leadership, The Benefits Trust has grown into the successful benefits provider that it is today.

Why Employee Assistance Programs Offer Today’s Best Value for Your Benefit’s Dollar

Providing your clients with the right benefits solution for their needs is no simple task. However, the more equipped you are with information regarding the various options available to them, the better prepared you are as their benefits advisor to offer them a valuable solution.

One very valuable tool to have in your arsenal of offerings is Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). EAPs are benefit programs that provide support to employees and their immediate family members to help them with any social, physical, mental, or financial problems they’re facing. Let’s take a closer look at what these programs have to offer to your clients and when they might be an appropriate solution!

Key Features of an Employee Assistance Program

There are a few key features you should know about to be able to accurately communicate these benefits programs to your current and potential clients. Here are a few that are important to highlight:

  • EAPs provide support to participants 24/7, 365 days a year. They offer crisis support to employees and their immediate family members whenever, and however, they may need it.
  • They offer convenient access to support via telephone calls, online chat, video consultations, mobile applications, or through a web browser.
  • EAP services are offered both in-person or virtually, so each employee can access the support in the manner most comfortable for them.
  • They’re easily accessible to any employee when they need it, offered with translation services and with consistent quality of care regardless of where in the country – or in the world – the employee is located.

Employee Assistance Programs are designed to provide employees with support across a variety of situations, including:

  • Legal – each year, employees can benefit from a 30-minute consultation per issue by phone or in an attorney’s local office, with additional services available at 25% discount of the attorney’s hourly fee.
  • Financial – phone access to financial counsellors to answer questions or schedule a 60-minute counselling session per issue for establishing savings goals, finding resources for home ownership, college funding, or retirement planning.
  • Childcare – assistance with locating childcare, parenting, adoption, and education resources.
  • Eldercare – guidance on locating eldercare resources ranging from skilled nursing facilities to local programs and support.
  • Managers – tailored support for managers, who undergo the same problems as any employee but with the added stress and responsibility that comes along with leading a team.
  • On-site trauma support – in the event of crises at work such as the sudden death of an employee, a workplace accident, a natural disaster, or an act of terror.
  • And many more, including nutritional & weight management, education, relocation, parenting, midlife & retirement, career, and everyday issues.

It’s also useful to combine EAPs with optional additional supports, in the case where these added features would greatly benefit a client and their employees. Potential additional supports include options like substance abuse programs, addiction programs, and depression workshops.

Offering Employee Assistance Programs as a Benefits Solution

These types of benefits are a good option for many clients, as it allows them to equip their team with a support system that is available in the face of crisis – whenever or however one occurs. But some clients need assistance in fully understanding the value of an EAP and recognizing when it might be a fitting solution for their team. Let’s review some common questions about these benefits programs, and everything you need to know to provide your clients with the most accurate information.

Who Is Suited for an EAP?

Employee Assistance Programs are designed to support all sorts of organizations, large and small. Within any industry, operating anywhere in the country, EAPs offer companies a relatively inexpensive solution to provide their employees with the necessary supports to keep them happy, healthy, and well-equipped to do their job.

An added benefit of this benefits program is that it’s a realistic option to provide to part-time employees and contractors, who may not qualify for full employee benefits. It’s an affordable solution to help your clients support this subset of their team, and to make their company more attractive when recruiting new talent and retaining top talent.

What Should Clients Look for in an EAP?

When deciding upon a benefits program, guide your clients toward one that focuses on providing support across the entire continuum of healthcare – that is, support for mental, physical, social, and financial troubles, available when and where they need it.

An EAP that offers wide-ranging, robust support options is inherently more accessible to employees, and therefore, more effective as a benefits plan.

Why Is an Employee Assistance Program Important Now?

The largest investment that a company makes is in its people. Now more than ever, as we all continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, employees need access to support for any issues they may be struggling with.

The LifeWorks Mental Health Index shows that 33% of Canadians reported higher job stress in 2021 as compared to in 2020, and that 1 in 5 employees resigned due to an increase in stress and mental health strain experienced at work. Providing employees with the tools required to handle those stresses is essential in employee health and wellbeing, as well as employee retention.

How Can a Client Get the Most Value Out of an EAP?

Employee Assistance Programs are relatively inexpensive when compared to alternative options, but they only reach their potential when there are no barriers to accessing their services. For a client, this means reducing stigma of mental health care and opening a dialogue to discuss issues that employees may be facing. Employers need to inform and remind their employees of where to access the supports offered through their EAP, and make sure that the program is visible and incorporated into conversations.

From a financial perspective, these benefit programs have been shown to yield an ROI of average of approximately $6 for every $1 spent across small, medium, and large sized organizations. The value is there – it’s just a matter of making sure that the employees know about the services, and how to access them.

What’s the Best Way to Introduce EAPs to a Client?

Anytime you’re discussing solutions with a client, it’s important to ask them about their pain points. Show them that an Employee Assistance Program can bring tremendous value for a relatively low spend, and that it can help bring valuable solutions in the areas where their team may be struggling.

One of the largest selling points of an EAP is how effective it can be in times of crisis. However, the best healthcare is preventative, and not just reactionary. Having a benefits plan in place that can alleviate stresses before reaching crisis, and deal with problems before they’re able to fester, is an extremely valuable option for clients and their employees.

If you’re looking for resources to provide to your clients regarding EAPs, there are various pamphlets and program overviews at your disposal. That being said, one of the most effective selling tools is to set up a meeting with your client alongside a representative from a well-suited assistance program to talk through the elements of the program and discuss everything that’s involved and offered through the EAP.

For more information regarding Employee Assistance Programs, or employee benefits in general, please contact us at The Benefits Trust. We are experts in helping successful business owners build a better benefits plan than they could get anywhere else, and we’re happy to discuss employee benefits options with you.

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