Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have been a popular employee benefit since they started as a way to address alcoholism and drug use in the workplace in the 1970s. By 1979,60% of Fortune 500 employers offered an EAP. Today, more than 70% of all U.S. businesses—and 97% of companies employing more than 5,000 workers—offer an EAP as part of their company benefits package.
Since their inception, EAPs have expanded their services to meet the needs of today’s workforce, including providing support for marital/family issues, work stress, and legal counseling. As effective as EAPs can be in addressing some of the problems employees face, employers are partnering with WorkLife to complement and enhance their traditional benefits for these five key reasons:
WorkLife responds to the unique challenges faced by lower-wage workers. WorkLife has identified that affording housing and food, accessing adequate health insurance coverage, and mental/behavioral health concerns are some of the biggest challenges faced by the employees we serve. Many of these challenges are rooted in the high cost of living, expensive housing market, and costly healthcare—making it difficult for lower-wage workers to keep their heads above water. WorkLife is equipped to handle these challenges, which often fall outside of the scope of an EAP. And because we’re a non-profit, WorkLife can provide your employees with small dollar cash assistance so financial emergencies don’t set them back for months.
Pie Chart 1: 2017 EAP and Wellness Trends and Analysis Report by Chestnut Global Partners (CGP) | Pie Chart 2: Aggregate data from all WorkLife Employer Members in Quarter 2 of 2019 | *Healthcare includes no health care coverage/inadequate coverage/lack of access to healthcare services and mental/behavioral health concerns.
In comparison, marital problems, stress, anxiety, depression, and child behavior are the top five reasons why employees access EAP services. When approached by an employee experiencing challenges like these, a WorkLife Resource Navigator will refer him/her to your EAP in addition to free or low-cost resources for professional counseling. Understanding that mental/behavioral health concerns are often linked to other issues, WorkLife will also help your employees address these underlying challenges.
Resource Navigators are experts in local resources. Whether it’s working with mechanics for low-cost car repairs or local nonprofits for rent assistance, our Resource Navigators specialize in building partnerships with community partners across the state. They know which mental health counselors offer sliding fees, the income limits for government subsidies, and how to negotiate with landlords. In contrast, many EAPs are managing a portfolio of clients across the country and are not always familiar with the resources where your employees live and work.
Resource Navigators are flexible. Resource Navigators can meet your employees in person, over the phone, through video conferencing, or via email/text message—whatever is most convenient. And, there is no limit on the time employees can spend working with us. While they may need to use our service only once, employees have the option to work with a Resource Navigator over a course of several weeks/months. All at no cost to your employees. Most EAPs only offer a limited number of counseling sessions that are free of charge. Yet, many employees need support that goes beyond 2–3 sessions or a 30-minute phone consultation.
WorkLife’s service is personal. When your employees reach out to WorkLife, they will connect to a Resource Navigator who will take the time to understand all of their unique needs and challenges. When working with us, employees will never interact with a call center. In fact, they will have access to the direct email and phone number of their Resource Navigator who will work to build trust with them. This way, your employees will feel comfortable and confident reaching out whenever they need support.
WorkLife measures the impact of its service on your employees and your business. WorkLife provides employers with data that go beyond just program utilization rates. We report how our service has reduced your employees’ stress and increased their confidence in handling future challenges. WorkLife also reports the retention rate among employees who have utilized our service, which ultimately leads to reduced turnover costs for your business. While some EAPs are starting to report employee outcomes, this is not the norm. Additionally, WorkLife’s data reports give you a sightline into the real issues impacting your employees so you can invest in programs and benefits that meet them where they’re at.
Questions about how WorkLife can support your employees? Contact us.