Employee performance can never remain constant even with the best employee incentive programs. There comes a time when even the brightest performer takes a dip – regardless of what the culture and employee engagement-related metrics show – indicating problems in their personal lives. To avoid such scenarios, many companies invest heavily in employee assistance programs (EAPs).
It’s unfair for employers to always expect their employees to not be affected by personal problems that might even require bereavement leave. After all, human-centered leadership is the new cool (the theme of this year’s Culture Summit).
Employee assistance programs, as a result, evolved out of necessity.
To operate at maximum efficiency, you need your team members to be mentally and physically fit. This might play a role in the general perception of a positive employee experience in your organization.
While you can’t necessarily fix whatever is going on in their personal lives, you can arrange counseling and support sessions to help them cope.
That’s the sole purpose of an EAP – to provide your employees with the emotional support they need during difficult times.
If you’re an employer who doesn’t have any experience with employee assistance programs, keep reading.
In this article, I’ll discuss the 7 reputable providers of EAP services (as well as how to create an EAP program).
Let’s get started.
What is an Employee Assistance Program?
An employee assistance program, at the most basic level, is an employee benefit.
The aim of these programs is to improve the declining performance levels of employees, resulting from personal problems, with the help of professional counseling, stress management, and/or support services.
Here’s a brief history of how employee assistance programs have evolved over the years:
While there are no universal prerequisites, the common reasons for offering an EAP include:
- Relationship issues/Other family problems
- Substance abuse
- Mental health problems
- Other health issues
- Financial difficulties
- Disturbed work-life balance
- Other work-related issues
It’s important to note that employee assistance programs are entirely different from the small, undocumented pep talks you give to your team members.
In the US (and almost everywhere else), the programs must be executed by licensed EAP counselors.
Furthermore, in many programs, a participating employee’s spouse and dependents can also qualify for the services.
As an employer, you can either hire professional counselors or outsource to an EAP provider.
Employee Assistance Programs Work – Here’s Why
In certain, high-stress industries, offering an EAP is becoming a necessity. Today, candidates are very careful of the companies they select.
However, it’s more than just about creating a positive image.
The positive impact that these programs can have on companies is phenomenal. Here are a few reasons:
- They Result in Healthier Employees – according to one source, by offering EAPs, companies experienced a 33% decline in the usage of sick leaves.
- They Can Save Billions of Dollars – on a collective scale, US businesses lose up to $300 billion dollars due to work-related stress. While the root-cause is a grueling work-culture that has gone unchecked for decades, an EAP can help to a great extent.
- They Can Help Retain Top Talent – an employee assistance program can have a major impact on how your employees behave towards one another. And in a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 51% of respondents cited their co-workers as the reason for remaining with their existing employers.
Besides the benefits listed above, with an EAP in place, you can also reduce the risk of workplace violence, attract competent profiles, and ultimately, experience a rise in performance levels.
7 Best Providers of Employee Assistance Programs
While you can create an in-house program, it’s better to opt for a third-party service provider.
Employers can select from a wide list of EAP providers.
There are many promising options – it all depends on what you hope to achieve with your employee assistance program.
Here’s my top 7 list of programs that will reign supreme in 2021:
1. Lyra Health
With the likes of eBay and Uber in its clientele, Lyra Health tops the list.
The is a leader in mental healthcare services for businesses – claiming that 83% of its members recover.
Here’s the complete list of services that the company offers:
- Mental health coaching
- Medication management
- Work-life services
- Manager training
- Evidence-based therapy
- Critical incident support
In addition to the above, the company also offers self-service tools (online exercises and resources that individuals can access through an app) and on-site therapy.
You can also seamlessly integrate Lyra’s services with your existing health plan.
To get a closer look at the services, you can also request a demo.
2. CuraLinc Healthcare
CuraLinc Healthcare is another well-known name in the employee-care and behavioral health industry.
From coping with addictive behaviors and substance abuse to managing work-life balance, CuraLinc Healthcare solves a wide spectrum of personal issues.
The has an extensive model for its EAP model, depicted in the following illustration:
Participating members (i.e. employees and their eligible family/household members) can instantly access the services of their counselors through phone calls, text, live video chats, and other channels.
According to their website, CuraLinc Healthcare’s EAP and MAP (member assistance program) work on the four following core pillars:
- Access – participants and members can reach their services and resources through different channels.
- Engagement – depending on your specific needs, the company will create a custom strategy to engage your employees.
- User-Experience – the company designed its overall experience keeping mental health and substance abuse problems in mind.
- Outcomes – CuraLinc Health believes in delivering results, which is why they publish an annual case study. To demonstrate, on average, around 70% of participants report improved productivity after using their EAP.
You can request a proposal here.
3. Cascade Centers
There can be a of culprits behind stress.
However, the usual suspects are finance-related.
To make matters a bit worse, there is a stigma around discussing money problems. Employees don’t necessarily feel comfortable discussing their financial hurdles or burdens with human resources.
To make things easier, Cascade Centers provides a wide range of counseling services – with a focus on personal finance.
You can expect the following services with its employee assistance program:
- Financial – you can get financial coaching from experienced professionals for either a month or throughout the year.
- Home Ownership Program – buying a new house can be overwhelming. With the help of this program, your employees can gain expert advice on mortgages, navigating their finances, and more.
- Life Coaching – besides finances, Cascade Centers also provides counseling from dealing with family issues to preparing for a new child. Ultimately, Cascade Centers will help your employees cope with even the most challenging situations in life.
The also specializes in childcare services.
Additionally, Cascade Centers offers an online mental health screening tool called “WholeLife Directions” that can recommend EAP services based on the user’s risk level.
You can request an appointment, proposal, or schedule training – all on their website.
If you're interested in learning more about employee assistance programs, then check out our HR Certification Courses.
Ulliance offers one of the most comprehensive employee assistance programs – focused on leveraging the power of content.
Known as the Life Advisor EAP, the claims that about 94% of participants managed to overcome their problems through its short-term counseling sessions.
Another stat claims that they were able to help a large employer save $2,869,769 in terms of mental health and abuse benefits.
The offers its EAP services through an app, which include:
- Face-to-face sessions with professional counselors
- A portal where participants can access content on different areas
- Other support services and materials for managers
You can request a quote on their website. Simply provide your contact information, and specify the areas you need assistance with (along with a few other details).
5. Magellan Healthcare
Specializing in a wide range of healthcare services (and with over 50 years of experience), Magellan Healthcare deserves a spot on this list.
The company’s employee healthcare program is one of the best in the country.
On the website, Magellan Healthcare claims that its average client retention rate is 93%, whereas about 50% of its staff has clinical qualifications.
The EAP is a blend of various online tools, on-site services, and resources that can help your employees overcome personal obstacles related to legal, finance, identity theft, elder care, childcare, and other problems.
Furthermore, the company provides managers/leaders with the strategic guidance they need to improve performance.
If you’re interested, you can get in touch with their sales team today and make a sales inquiry here.
A company that specializes in assistance, care, and behavioral health services, BHS is best known for offering one of the most robust and complete employee assistance programs.
According to their website, their goal is to “make a big impact on your organization” by reducing health insurance costs and boosting performance.
They do so by offering professional counseling to your employees (and their family members) on different problems.
The key features include:
- Face-to-face counseling sessions
- Unlimited telephone access (toll-free) for assessments and referral services
- Dedicated account/program manager
- Data analysis
- Strategic advice for managers
To request a quote, you can get in touch with their sales team.
7. AllOne Health
AllOne Health concludes this list of my top EAP providers in 2021.
They offer innovative and custom assistance solutions to both employees and students.
A few of their key specialties include:
- Mental health counseling
- Life coaching
- Organizational training and development
- Critical incident response
- Medical advocacy
According to their website, they have a staggering 99% customer retention rate and a 7-second response time. Additionally, they claim that they have an affiliate network of over 4,000 counselors.
In addition to EAP, AllOne Health also provides alcohol/drug testing services, background screening, and more.
How to Create and Offer Employee Assistance Programs [A 3-Step Process]
Creating and administering an employee assistance program for the first time can be intimidating.
However, it’s not as difficult as it seems.
Just follow these steps:
1. Pick the Path You’ll Take
First of all, you need to decide on what type of model you’re going to pick for your EAP.
This decision depends on your budget, special requirements, and policies.
Basically, you can choose from any of the following paths:
- Creating an Internal Program – if you think you have the budget for it (and it fits your requirements), you can create an in-house EAP. For that, you’ll need to hire full-time or part-time professional counselors, create the paperwork, and manage everything by yourself.
- Opting for an External/Third-Party Service – instead of doing everything yourself, you can instead outsource to a provider (like the ones discussed above) who will administer and manage everything for you.
Naturally, most employers opt for the second option.
2. Create & Communicate a Policy for Your Employee Assistance Program
Once you select a suitable model, it’s time to create and share an internal policy for your EAP.
This should detail things like how your employees can access the EAP services, privacy concerns, additional information, and FAQs.
3. Track the Progress
Finally, with your EAP framework in place, it’s time to measure its effectiveness.
Conduct regular surveys to gauge where you stand in terms of engagement and performance.
Additionally, you can even include specific questions about your new EAP.
With a decent employee assistance program, you can experience better performance, higher growth, and above all, a happier and healthier workforce.
If you’re considering outsourcing, don’t forget to discuss your specific requirements with the vendor.
Finally, evaluate all your options before you proceed with a company.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.