EAPs: A Key to Increasing Workplace Productivity

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 out of 20 Americans were clinically depressed in 2005-2006. Since that period, economic conditions worldwide have worsened, the unemployment level has reached all-time highs, and foreclosure rates have skyrocketed. Frankly, I’m a little bit frightened to check an updated statistic on depression.

You might be thinking that those individuals who have managed to maintain their jobs at this time would be grateful. But, the truth of the matter is that the glass is quite often viewed as half empty. There are many reasons why employees suffer from mental health issues. However, instead of just identifying the source of the problem, employers should focus on offering a solution that is known to improve mental health and therefore lead to increased productivity.

That solution is Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). In 2011, Morneau Shepell conducted a study on EAPs that had two interesting findings for HRO buyers and suppliers:

  • Decreased productivity and absence costs employers ~$20,000 per year per employee
  • EAP intervention resulted in a 34% reduction in costs related to lost productivity.

With HR departments outsourcing processes such as payroll to focus on more strategic activities while obtaining best-in-class practices, EAPs as an activity has long been a prime candidate for outsourcing as well. After all, many EAP issues are sensitive in nature and employees may hesitate to seek help if there’s a chance that their confidentiality could be breached.

Two HRO providers that include an EAP offering are Ceridian and Morneau Shepell. While both companies conduct business in North America, Ceridian’s primary market is the U.S., while Morneau Shepell’s is Canada. These two providers are dominating their respective target markets due to a lack of competition from other HRO service providers, not to mention having extensive EAP offerings.

For example, Morneau Shepell already offers an EAP app and most recently launched online access for its EAP clients through its workhealthlife.com website, which allows clients to:

  • Confidentially request help on issues including health, family, work, financial, relationship, and legal support
  • Learn more about suggested EAP support services
  • Select the service and how it will be delivered.

Ceridian, on the other hand, provides services beyond common EAP offerings including aging parent counseling.

Outside North America, U.K. providers have also recognized the importance of wellness programs: Capita with its occupational health services offering and Vebnet with its health and well-being programs.

As an alternative to launching a full EAP offering, some HRO providers have implemented services to address hot topics including saving for retirement. Examples include:

  • Mercer’s self-service and decision support tools including its RetireTalk and Financial Engines Income+
  • Aon Hewitt’s recently launched advisory service for its defined contribution clients.

However, the secret to a productive workforce is offering services that address work, life, and health issues. While saving enough for retirement is one possible source of the problem, there are many others that can be addressed with a full EAP offering.

Amy L. Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Employee Assistance Programs, hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, mental health, nelsonhall, payroll outsourcing, Unemployment Levels, Wellness, Workforce Productivity

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