As a Human Resources professional, you work with many functional partners on a regular basis. Have you ever considered your relationship with your EAP provider as a partnership? It certainly is! Your EAP program usually takes care of itself, working behind the scenes. However, management of the program, and your partnership with your provider, should not be neglected.
As you work through your EAP goals, including training and communications, keep in mind that your EAP must be managed, not just left alone to take care of itself. Managing your EAP includes training and communication plans, vigilance in monitoring usage reports, and periodic status updates with your provider.
Make it a priority to meet or speak with your EAP provider on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. They should be able to update you with any new or changed services to their offerings, as well as news and trends in the EAP industry.
Plan on discussing some or all of the following:
- Provider review and update: what are the minimum requirements, and how are these monitored?
- Training materials and methods: are there any enhancements or innovative approaches?
- Marketing and communication materials: anything new to make the program more visible and accessible?
- Statistical usage reports: what is available beyond standard helpline reports?
- Improving program value and ROI for your senior management: is an ROI calculator available, and what are the results?
- Compliance with confidentiality requirements: what measurements can confirm this?
- EAP trends and best practices: what’s new in the industry and among peer organizations?
- Continuous quality improvement: what ongoing efforts are made in this area?
Regular conversations and meetings with your EAP provider allow you to keep on top of both the industry and your provider, and give you the opportunity to ask pertinent questions. They also give your provider the chance to share with you any innovative programs or materials, as well as give you a peek at their upcoming initiatives.
In addition to status meetings with your provider, be sure to involve them early in the process of any significant business events. Examples of these can include layoffs, plant closures or reductions in force. It’s equally important, in the wake of any serious or tragic event relating to your business or employees, that a debrief conversation take place to evaluate the actions of all involved and make recommendations for future process improvements.
Your partnership with your EAP provider should be an active one that is responsive to changing needs, and is also customized to your business and constituents. The responsibility for keeping this relationship health is two-pronged; your EAP provider should be in regular contact with you, but you must manage the relationship by reaching out for periodic formal reviews. By bolstering your relationship with your EAP provider, you’ll ensure that your organization receives the maximum value for dollars spent in employee services, as well as positive ROI.