About EAPs

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a worksite resource for organizations designed to enhance employee health and productivity through prevention, identification, and resolution of personal and family problems that might interfere with work.

What Do EAPs Do?

EAPs provide employees with access to confidential and professional assistance when they need it. When employees recognize a concern and access their EAP, the EAP can help resolve concerns and prevent problems in the workplace. When problems do appear on the job, EAPs help supervisors and managers work with employees
to address the problems, seek and receive appropriate counseling or treatment, and return to work with renewed productivity.

Who Do EAPs Serve?

EAPs provide services to everyone in a workplace: employees, supervisors, managers, and executives. In addition, EAP services are usually available to family members of employees.

For employees: EAP offers services that help individuals resolve problems that can interfere with health and productivity on the job. EAPs provide assessment, short-term counseling, and referrals for a wide-range of personal and family problems. These problems typically include:

  • Emotional (Stress, Depression, Anxiety)
  • Couples and Relationships
  • Alcohol and Drug Problems
  • Family Difficulties
  • Eldercare
  • Financial and Legal
  • Health

For Managers and Executives: EAPs can consult with managers and leaders of an organization regarding a wide range of employee and/or management issues that impact the health and productivity of an organization. Most EAPs provide:

  • Training for supervisors, union stewards, and others about how to effectively use the EAP and when to refer employees to the EAP
  • Critical incident services to respond to traumatic events in the workplace
  • Assistance to workgroups undergoing work redesign processes, or “downsizing”
  • Support for work teams experiencing grief and loss in the workplace
  • Drug-free workplace services
  • Conflict resolution
  • Help with threat management or disaster planning
  • Consultation on policies and benefit design regarding mental health and substance abuse

The Benefits of EAP

Studies by independent researchers and employers have consistently demonstrated the cost effectiveness, benefit, and value of EAPs.

The Benefits of EAP According to the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce experiences a mental health or substance abuse disorder. Mental health issues cost U.S. companies about $63 billion a year. While about 28 percent of that accounts for treatment costs, 27 percent is associated with excessive absenteeism and 28 percent is associated with loss of productivity. In addition to costs associated with mental health issues, most of us experience additional “life problems” (i.e., divorce, death of a loved one, etc.) that contribute to health and productivity issues. Research has shown a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for EAPs using several different outcome variables, including:

  • Productivity Improvement
  • Reduced Absenteeism
  • Lowered Health Care Utilization/Costs
  • Improved Retention
  • Reduced Use of Sick Leave
  • Reduced Accidents at Work

Choosing an EAP

There are several different types of EAPs, and selecting the best EAP for a particular organization is a key decision for company leaders. When considering which type of EAP will be best for their organization and employees, an employer will want to consider many aspects of their workplace, including: the range of services they want provided by the EAP, how and by whom the services will be delivered, and pricing.

The EAP Buyer’s Guide is a free and comprehensive source of information for employers who are seeking to select or design EAP services for their organization. Produced by the international Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), the EAP Buyers Guide provides information about the critical components of an EAP and presents essential questions to help guide an employer during the selection process. The EAP Buyers Guide can be accessed at:
http://www.eapassn.org/public/articles/EAPBuyersGuide.pdf

What is EAPA?

The international Employee Assistance Program Association (EAPA) is the largest, oldest, and most respected professional association for providers of employee assistance services. Founded in 1971, EAPA represents more than 5,000 individuals and organizations around the globe with an interest in employee assistance. EAPA provides information and materials for the public, and designs and publishes standards of conduct and ethics that guide the delivery of EAP services.

EAP Credential

Regardless of the EAP selected, the effectiveness, value, and overall success of an EAP depends heavily on the experience and professional competence of its staff. In general, EAP professionals should be knowledgeable about mental health, substance abuse, family issues, organizational dynamics, and human resource matters.

No universal standards for EAPs exist. However in 1986, EAPA established the profession’s only credential, the Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP). Many EAP providers have obtained this certification. In addition, a few states including North Carolina, have established a license for EAP providers (Licensed Employee Assistance Professional or LEAP). These are two additional criteria by which an EAP professional might demonstrate competency and expertise in the field. As stated by the Commissioners of the Employee Assistance Certification Commission (EACC), “the CEAP credential identifies those individuals who have met a high level of standards for competent, client-centered practice and who adhere to a professional code of ethical conduct. The CEAP denotes excellence in the delivery of employee assistance services and is recognized by employers, human resource professionals, accrediting agencies and employee clients as the standard in the employee assistance profession.”

EAP Provider Listing

If you are an HR professional or business owner in North Carolina interested in learning more about how an EAP can benefit your organization, you are welcome to contact any of the EAPA-NC chapter officers for additional information. You can also review the listing of EAP providers offering services on the EA provider page on this website. All providers listed there are members of the EAPA-NC chapter.

Additional information about EAPs can also be obtained at the international Employee Assistance Professional Association website:
http://www.eapassn.org