Focus Communication Efforts on EAP Little Known Facts

It’s time to establish 2013 goals, and if you had an EAP communication goal in 2012, you may already be seeing positive results.  To continue your progress, why not create a goal for 2013 that focuses on aspects of your EAP which may be unclear or poorly understood?

Generally, most of your supervisors and managers will remember common referral situations:  work and family stress, anxiety, problems with alcohol or drug dependencies, depression, and signs of poor or changed work performance.  But there are many aspects of EAP coverage which may not be top of mind for your constituents, and this is a good time to bring them out in your communication efforts.

Before embarking on a communication plan, take some time to refresh your understanding of all the scenarios that EAPs can help.  Reread plan eligibility and coverage documents.  Work with your EAP provider to take advantage of updated communication materials and methods.

Here are some plan provisions that may be under the radar in terms of general EAP understanding:

Family Eligibility:  for most plan participants, other family members are also eligible for EAP services.  Review plan eligibility rules carefully, and make sure they’re clearly communicated.

Cost:  most short-term referral services are completely free!  Employees may hesitate to contact your EAP because of its perceived cost.  Many times, the free short-term services may be all that are needed to resolve an issue.

dad and son talkingChild/Parenting Issues:  most parents think that dealing with problematic behavior is a normal part of being a parent, and try to go it alone.  An EAP referral can help with situations such as:

  • Anger management
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Resources and counseling for child with special needs, including autism
  • Teen drug and alcohol use
  • Eating disorders
  • Childhood obesity
  • Public and private resources for all the above

Eldercare:  with so many workers supporting older family members physically or financially, or both, it’s a strain on employees’ time and attention at work.  EAPs can help with:

  • Role reversal perspectives
  • Issues with shared living situations
  • Caretaker self-care
  • Resources that assist with all eldercare issues

depressed stressed coping with changeCoping with Change:  changes of all sorts impact employees’ personal and professional lives.  With an EAP referral, they’ll see that they’re not alone and that help is easily accessible.  Think beyond changes in the workplace to these situations:

  • Serious health situation or illness of a family member
  • Death of a family member
  • Spouse’s job loss
  • Relocation decisions

Easing employees’ problems at home can contribute to a happier, more stable employee in the workplace.  This translates to increased productivity for your business, and is an important component of your return on investment.

Lastly – and this sounds obvious but is often overlooked – your EAP is a valuable resource for all those dealing with employees who need help.  Supervisors, managers, Human Resources:  all can benefit personally from EAP counseling for difficult situations.  It’s a benefit provided by employers and institutions, and it can only help when it’s utilized!

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