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What is an EAP and how can it help my business?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary and confidential service, to help employees at all levels, and in most cases their family members (dependents), who have personal concerns that affect their personal well-being and/or work performance. A mentally healthy workplace is one that protects and promotes mental health and empowers people to seek help for depression and anxiety, for the benefit of the individual, organisation, and community.
While creating a mentally healthy workplace is everyone’s responsibility, mental health is a leadership issue, and change must start at the top. Business owners and organisational leaders play a critical role in driving policies and practices that promote mental health in the workplace. They have the capacity to positively influence workplace culture, management practices and the experience of employees.
According to an ABS study, 45% of Australians between the ages of 16-85 will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. It is estimated that untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion per year. This comprises $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $6.1 billion in presenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims.
Due to the evident human and financial impacts many Australian businesses are now recognising the importance of recognising how mental health issues directly influence the wellbeing of their staff. The report, Investing in Better Mental Health in Australian Workplaces, by Liam Carter and Jim Stanford states that society is currently experiencing an epidemic of mental illness which is imposing an enormous cost on individuals, families, and the broader economy. One in five employees are affected by poor mental health and giving employees access to EAP is one way in which businesses are fighting this problem.
EAP’s do not just benefit the employee, implementing an EAP has a high return on investment through
•Encourage a positive work environment.
•Affordable for employers to implement.
•Increased employee retention.
•Providing a safer, more caring work environment.
•Helping your business save money.
•Contributes to the community through your businesses commitment to promoting wellbeing.
The psychological and financial costs of stress and mental health issues are taking a toll on Australian businesses and more businesses are now looking at ways in which they can better support their employees and contribute to their wellbeing. Don’t hesitate to include an EAP in your employee benefits offering. It costs little to implement and provides significant gains for your employees while helping to increase your bottom line.
This vital program can go a long way in creating a happy, productive, fulfilled, and healthy team. An EAP can be an essential part of a complete employee wellness program. Ready to learn more about how employee wellness is good for business?