Employees today face a variety of challenges that interfere with their ability to focus on work. According to a study by Mental Health America, 83% of survey respondents feel emotionally drained from their work; 90% of employees report that their workplace stress affects their mental health; 71% of employees find it difficult to concentrate because of their work environment.
Employees grapple with emotional exhaustion, stress, and reduced concentration, all stemming from the pressures of modern life and work. The result is a workforce struggling with overall well-being and productivity, which takes a toll on employee engagement, performance, and ultimately, retention.
The Role of EAPs in Employee Retention
An employee assistance program is a workplace benefit that is designed to help employees address the everyday challenges that interfere with work or life. Employee assistance programs include short-term counseling services to address mental health concerns and information and referrals to help with life’s other challenges.
EAPs improve employee retention by helping people reduce stress, address mental health issues, and make life easier by helping them find the support they need to manage life’s everyday challenges. Services include referrals for legal and financial concerns and work-life challenges, such as finding childcare and eldercare.
An employee assistance program can also help employees strengthen relationships, achieve personal goals, improve employee wellness, and address life’s personal and professional challenges effectively and proactively.
EAP services support organizational health by providing access to leadership coaching, training programs, and critical incident response services. This employee benefits program also includes a dedicated account manager who partners closely with Human Resources and leadership teams to make sure the organization has the support it needs.
Understanding the need for EAPs
The need for EAP services, especially mental health treatment, continues to grow. Mental Health America is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to addressing the needs of those impacted by mental illness. Every year it does extensive work in gathering and providing up-to-date data and information about people whose lives are impacted by mental illnesses.
Here are a few key findings from its report, 2023 The State of Mental Health In America:
- 21% of all adults reported having a mental illness in the past year. 28% of them did not receive treatment.
- 15% of all adults reported having a substance use disorder.Nearly 94% of them did not receive treatment.
- 16% of U.S. youth reported having at least one major depressive episode. 60% of them did not receive treatment.
- 42% said cost was a barrier to seeking treatment
- 27% did not know how to seek services
- 26% thought they could handle things themselves
- 19% couldn’t find time to seek treatment
EAPs reduce barriers to mental health treatment
Employee assistance programs make it easier for people to access care by reducing common barriers to treatment: For example:
- EAP services are free: An employee assistance program is an employer-sponsored benefit. Employees and their family members can access short-term counseling and other support services without incurring any costs.
- EAPs services are easy to access: Employees can call their EAP 24/7/365 and speak with a real human being. They can also submit an online form through the EAP portal anytime.
- EAPs empower people to get care on their timeline. Not everyone feels the need to schedule services right away. EAPs provide easy access to online assessments and a library of helpful resources.
- EAPs allow people to receive in-the-moment support. Employees can call their employee assistance program any time, day or night, weekends and holidays, and reach a licensed mental health counselor who is ready to listen and prepared to provide professional and compassionate guidance and support.
Understanding the challenges of chronic stress
In its latest report, Stress in America 2023, The American Psychological Association says we are “a nation recovering from collective trauma,” stemming from the pandemic, global conflicts, racism and racial injustice, inflation, and climate-related disasters.”
The report explains how this long-term stress is weighing heavily on our collective consciousness, making Americans more sensitive to daily hassles, interfering with our goals and outlook on life, and impacting our physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health.
As discussed in our Stress Guide, when long-term stress goes unaddressed and untreated, it can impact our physical health, mental health, and behaviors. For some people, their chronic stress is so debilitating, they cannot function.
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How Chronic Stress Harms Our Health
Impact on physical health: Chronically elevated stress hormones can increase our heart rate and blood pressure, putting us at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Ongoing stress can also weaken the immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Stress can also trigger digestive problems, muscle tension, headaches, migraines, and fatigue.
Impact on mental health: Long-term stress can lead to a variety of mental health conditions. For example, anxiety is often caused by ongoing feelings of nervousness, fear, and worry. Depression is frequently triggered by long-term sadness, hopelessness, and low mood. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is frequently the result of being exposed to natural disasters, accidents, or violence. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged chronic stress.
Impact on behavioral health: Long-term stress can influence our behaviors, causing some people to overeat or turn to comfort foods. Other people may stay up too late or have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much. Some people may misuse drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, leading to substance abuse and addiction.
Stress can also make it difficult to focus, leading to poor job performance, increased absenteeism, and burnout. It can also cause people to feel irritable and lose their temper and patience more easily. Stress can dramatically decrease employees’ well-being, which can then interfere with job performance, causing workplace distress.
How EAPs help people address long-term stress
An employee assistance program can help organizations reduce employee turnover by strengthening employees’ mental health and helping them develop strategies for managing long-term stress.
For example, counseling services can help people explore the root causes of their stress, develop coping mechanisms, and learn stress management techniques tailored to their specific needs. These may include cognitive-behavioral strategies, mindfulness exercises, and relaxation techniques aimed at reducing tension and promoting emotional well-being.
EAPs also provide access to educational resources and workshops on stress management, time management, building resilience, and strengthening employee health and mental well-being. These employee benefits empower people to develop healthier lifestyle habits and coping mechanisms to reduce the impact of long-term stress.
EAP counselors also assist in identifying and addressing underlying issues contributing to stress, such as work-related challenges, interpersonal conflicts, and personal challenges that interfere with employee engagement and employee productivity.
By offering comprehensive support and personalized interventions, EAPs help individuals develop sustainable strategies for managing long-term stress and promoting overall well-being for all.
When employees have easy access to the support they need for managing life’s challenges, organizations are more likely to have an engaged and productive workforce.
How EAPs Reduce Employee Turnover
When employees can find the support they need to manage everyday challenges, they tend to be healthier, happier, more focused, and less stressed.
Similarly, when employers offer employees access to EAP services, employers are more likely to have an engaged and effective workforce and a healthy workplace culture. This, in turn, enables the employer to focus more time and attention on achieving its organizational goals.
An EAP can help provide convenient and confidential access to mental health sessions (by phone, in-person, and virtual counseling options). EAPs help reduce barriers to mental health care, break the stigma around mental health challenges, and offer inclusive support for all.
When people have the support they need to manage life’s challenges, they are more likely to avoid the common concerns related to long-term stress, including cardiovascular conditions and mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and burnout.
An employee assistance program can help reduce absenteeism by providing access to mental health services and resources and referrals for childcare, eldercare, and other common day-to-day issues and life challenges.
Employee assistance programs can also help families and communities that are impacted by addiction and substance misuse challenges,
The AllOne Health Difference
Having been in the business of care for more than 50 years, AllOne Health fully understands that mental health remains one of the most critical issues of our time. At the same time, we recognize that mental health, physical health, and behaviors are all intertwined, and they’re greatly influenced by relationships, surroundings, workplace culture, and other life challenges.
To meet the needs of today’s employees, AllOne Health has expanded its employee assistance programs to provide a whole health approach to benefits, with services that address the of needs individuals, teams, and our client organizations.
Here’s a closer look at our EAP services: (derived from benefits flyer)
- Mental Health Sessions to help employees cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, resolve conflict, improve relationships, and address any personal issues.
- Life Coaching to help employees reach personal and professional goals, manage life transitions, overcome obstacles, strengthen relationships, and achieve greater balance.
- Financial Consultations to help employees build financial wellness related to budgeting, buying a home, paying off debt, resolving general tax questions, preventing identity theft, and saving for retirement or tuition.
- Legal Referrals to help employees with estate planning, wills, real estate, bankruptcy, divorce, custody, and more.
- Work-Life Resources and Referrals to help people obtain information and referrals for childcare, adoption, special needs support, eldercare, housing, transportation, education, and pet care.
- Personal Assistant to help employees save time with referrals for travel and entertainment, professional services, cleaning services, home food delivery, and managing everyday tasks.
- Medical Advocacy to help employees navigate health insurance, obtain doctor referrals, secure medical equipment, and plan for transitional care and discharge.
Digital-first access to care
The number one priority for an EAP is connecting people to the right care when it matters most. To continuously improve access to care, AllOne Health’s EAP prioritizes convenience with multiple options for mental health support available, to meet personal preferences and needs.
- In-the-Moment Telephonic Counseling Support for urgent clinical issues
- Video Counseling sessions with an EAP clinician
- In-person Counseling Sessions with an EAP clinician in the employee’s area
- Telephonic Counseling Sessions, scheduled at convenient times for employees
- Submit requests for support 24/7 through phone, online forms, or live chat on our member portal.
The EAP member portal serves as a whole health platform, connecting people to online resources for mental health issues, employee wellness, stress management, substance misuse problems, mental health resources, and work-life challenges.
Information is categorized by the following topics: family, health, finances, career, living, military, and college. Employees can access self-service tools and materials, including thousands of articles, videos, worksheets, surveys, health and lifestyle assessments, interactive checklists, online learning programs, and shopping discounts.
AllOne Health is your one solution for whole health, providing a whole new approach to well-being to address what matters most right now.
Stronger Individuals. Stronger Teams. Stronger Organizations.