Employee Assistance Programs: Enhancing Employee Productivity And Well-Being

Feb 08,2024

Read Time 4 Minutes

Multiracial team reading blueprints, working on an office renovation project and discussing potential layout in an empty office space. They are reviewing the interior design layout plans on the floor. Transgender businesswoman is sharing her thoughts on the interior. The Malaysian coworkers is with prosthetic leg. They are holding the floorpan on hands.

One of the best ways to provide whole-person support for employees’ health and well-being is through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs connect employees to a variety of resources and confidential care for all of life’s needs, including help with financial stressors and mental health needs. In return, employers see increased employee productivity, reduced absenteeism, and improved work satisfaction.

An EAP is a worthwhile investment to support your workforce and company’s success. Here are five ways you can increase the value of that investment and encourage EAP program utilization.



1. Supporting Mental Health Needs


An employee’s mental health affects how they show up in the workplace. One study showed that around 15% of working-aged adults report dealing with some type of mental illness or disorder. According to the same study, employee depression and anxiety alone translates to approximately 12 billion missed workdays worldwide each year. Providing access to mental health services through an EAP is a way employers can tackle this statistic. According to an internal Anthem study, counseling offered through an EAP resulted in a 28% reduction in absenteeism.


Employer support for mental health needs is also increasingly becoming an expectation and a factor in employee retention. Another survey revealed that 64% of responding employees expect employer-sponsored mental health treatment, and 60% desire self-care resources. Employing an EAP creates a supportive and attractive work environment for the modern workforce.



2. Addressing Financial Health


Much like one’s mental health, financial stress can’t be left at home. Financial health has a huge impact on an employee’s day-to-day life. An internal Anthem survey found that 58% of surveyed employees reported financial stress as a significant issue. Employees of all ages are often focused on meeting short-term financial needs and may neglect to prioritize retirement savings or healthcare concerns.


Through an EAP, employees have access to support resources, financial counseling, and other services at no extra cost. For example, through a free initial consultation with a financial advisor, an employee can build a plan to work toward improved financial health. In turn, they can come to work more focused and ready to contribute.



3. Offering Resources For Life Stressors


From child or elder care to work-life balance issues to major life changes, life stressors can be overwhelming. According to a 2023 American Psychological Association (APA) study, 92% of workers want their employers to value their overall well-being. Employers can meet these expectations — and take things a step further — through an EAP. EAPs offered by trusted partners like Anthem give employees guidance on topics such as parenting, healthy communication, balancing stress, as well as help finding child, pet, or elder care.



4. Promoting Personal And Professional Development


Employees want to grow personally and professionally. When companies provide avenues for this development, studies show they are more engaged, productive, and likely to stay. Companies offering personal and professional training through programs like EAPs were also found to be significantly more profitable. 


EAPs help employees grow personally and professionally through:

  • Educational resources on well-being and work-life balance. 
  • Legal information and financial calculators.
  • Informational webinars and podcasts.
  • Hard and soft-skill development support.
  • Stress management resources.



5. Serving The Workplace


In addition to supporting employees’ whole-person health, EAPs also provide services for the workplace. Anthem’s EAP program provides utilization reports, personalized messaging and connections, 24/7 support, and digital-first solutions to meet employees, managers, and leaders in a way that’s convenient. 


An Anthem EAP also helps develop your company culture with training and resources for managers and leaders on topics like critical incident response coordination, substance use policies, effective management strategies, workplace productivity, and support for workplace diversity.


A recent study from Carelon, a subsidiary of Anthem’s parent company, found that employers could see savings of up to $250 per person per year when their workforce utilizes an EAP. Alternatively, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that both employees and employers see higher medical costs without programs like EAPs.



Encouraging Employee EAP Utilization


It’s not enough to only share EAP information one time, for example, in a new hire’s onboarding benefits package. Employers should aim to boost EAP usage through a multichannel, multidepartmental communication strategy. It’s also a great way to reassure employees about the confidentiality of EAP support. Another pivotal component of getting employees to use this benefit is training managers on the program itself. Lastly, shifting company culture to one that promotes and encourages help-seeking behaviors can allow employees to more fully embrace EAP services.


However you choose to promote your EAP, the evidence is clear: EAPs benefit both employees and employers in numerous ways. Collaborating with an experienced health benefits partner like Anthem simplifies the process of implementing, personalizing, and measuring your program results. Using a whole-person care approach, employees can live healthier lives, and employers can see more value from their benefits offerings.