skip to Main Content

A beginner’s guide to Employee Assistance Programmes

A Beginner’s Guide To Employee Assistance Programmes

Employee Assistance Programmes have long been a staple of corporate wellness schemes. But now smaller businesses are increasingly getting in on the act!

EAPs are a useful tool for helping staff deal with the emotional stresses and strains of everyday life. It’s a popular employee benefit too, with EAP services now available to 24.45 million employees working across 105,000 organisations.

So, how do they work and how do you get one? This simple insider guide explains all.

Need help finding the best employee benefits for your staff? Give our friendly award-winning brokers a call on 01273 222805 or drop us an email at [email protected] for FREE advice and support.

What is an Employee Assistance Programme?

Employee Assistance Programmes are designed to strengthen the emotional resilience of staff. It does this by offering a range of tools and service which help staff become better equipped at handling whatever life throws their way.

The great thing about EAPs is that they are not just there for those in serious need. As well as counselling sessions, they offer simple self-help tools and financial advice services.

An EAP can help alleviate the stresses often linked with:

  • Financial worries
  • Work-related issues
  • Domestic/family struggles
  • Legal problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Gambling addiction
  • Bullying and harassment (workplace and personal)
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Domestic violence
  • General health and lifestyle struggles

What services does an Employee Assistance Programme offer?

Not every Employee Assistance Programme is the same and, of course, each provider will offer different levels of service. This being said, we’ve listed below the essential services you will find popping up when comparing EAP providers:

  • Professional counselling sessions
  • Self-help tools, activities, and programmes
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Legal assistance and guidance
  • Discount schemes e.g., retail, groceries, gym memberships
  • Health checks/assessments
  • Managerial support
  • Financial management help, advice, and debt support
  • Critical incident management
  • Medical/general health advice

How do you invest in an Employee Assistance Programme?

There are two ways to invest in an Employee Assistance Programme: as a standalone product or added onto an insurance scheme (typically Group Health Insurance, Group Income Protection, Group Critical Illness or, occasionally, a Group Life policy).

When buying a standalone EAP, there’s more opportunity to tailor it to your needs. Those EAPs purchased with an insurance policy tend to come with a fixed set of support services.

The majority of EAPs we encounter are included as an ‘added value service’ through other benefits. For example, if it is included in a Group Health plan, the price will already be included in the overall premium and won’t be seen as an additional cost.

What do Employee Assistance Programmes bring to business and staff?

Between January 2022 and January 2023, it was estimated that 640,250 employees contacted their EAP services. So, it’s clear that EAPs are being well used by employees across the UK!

Other benefits of EAPs for your business include:

  • Adaptable to teams large and small
  • Easy to implement
  • Cost-effective way to provide support to staff
  • Boosts workplace productivity
  • Helps to reduce stress levels
  • Improves staff retention
  • Lowers absenteeism
  • Enhances your business reputation – a caring approach to employees!
  • Relieves managerial pressures especially during busy periods at work – staff can have constant access to the support they need
  • Helps employers to see where support is needed through trackable usage stats (anonymously, of course!)
  • Helps employees feel happier, healthier and able to take on the world!
  • Every team member can benefit!

Who are the top EAP providers in the UK?

Across the UK and on a global scale, there’s a wide range of providers each vying for your attention. Some of the leading EAP providers for UK businesses include:

Let’s take a look at CareFirst’s offering as an example.

Care First’s Employee Assistance Programme can be tailored to fit with a range of different businesses, from larger corporations to smaller businesses. Its SME package is designed to serve businesses with between 35 and 1000 employees.

CareFirst’s main services include:

  • Telephone helplines (counselling, information and advice)
  • Face-to-face counselling services
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Management support and referral
  • Information and advice
  • Health and wellbeing support
  • Critical / Traumatic incident response
  • Stress management programmes/resources

In addition, there’s the option to add Occupational Health and Absence Management services.

How do you find the EAP that’s right for you?

It partly depends on whether you plan to invest in one as standalone service or as part of a wider health policy. But an independent employee benefits broker like Hooray can talk you through the various options and how they work in more detail.

Hooray Health and Protection offers free professional advice to businesses seeking employee benefits and health insurance policies. Our friendly and award-winning team of experts take the time to listen to your specific needs and answer any query you might have.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 01273 222805 for FREE no-obligation advice and support.


Back To Top