Good managers and HR professionals know that a healthy and happy workforce is a productive and successful workforce. As an employer, you not only have a moral imperative to offer resources to employees to foster their wellbeing but the professional success of any company is often tied to these efforts.
To maintain a highly trained and efficient staff, your organization needs to retain the employees you've invested in, and give them all the tools that they need to function at full capacity.
Personal emergencies and crises can reduce employee retention and efficiency, causing damage to your team's efficiency. Offering a support network with tools like an employee assistance program (EAP) can mitigate that damage and promote health and happiness in your most valuable asset — your team.
Addiction and recovery can be detrimental to your organization, particularly when an employee feels like they have nowhere to reach out to. Your employees are valued professionals, and shouldn't have to feel alone in their struggles. A well-established EAP drug program that employees are well-educated about can give them the resources they need, when they need them, with anonymity and dignity.
What Is an EAP Drug Program?
An EAP is a voluntary plan provided by workplaces to offer anonymous resources to employees struggling with various circumstances. EAPs typically involve confidential counseling, assessments, follow-ups, and referrals to connect employees with appropriate care without informing their managers or coworkers.
While these services can include largely comprehensive legal, financial, family, and mental health services, one of the most important services provided by an EAP is often substance abuse services.
The stigma against addiction is high and can destroy someone’s life, even if they're seeking help. This causes many to suffer secretly — afraid to disrupt their work or family life by reaching out. Partnering with an expert like Employee Recovery to form a comprehensive EAP drug program gives them a confidential way to seek help when they need it. The last thing anyone wants is a person who wants to get clean and healthy but doesn't have a path to get better.
A good employee suffering from substance abuse can be a liability to a company over time. Addiction leads to shortsighted decisions, inattentiveness, and dramatic changes in priorities. If you value your employees, however, you realize that the addiction is the liability, not your employee, and you want to be able to offer a robust workplace substance abuse program. Giving your employees the tools to heal can get your valuable team member back on the right track while proving that your organization lives up to its responsibilities of caring for its employees.
Evolving Your EAP to Meet New Challenges
Maintaining a strong EAP is crucial for employee health and wellbeing. Addressing gaps in the resources an organization offers its employees is an ongoing pursuit, however. Even if you have a thorough and well-developed EAP in place, what employees need assistance with and why is constantly evolving.
As social pressures on the employees change, the policy needs to be dynamic and capable of growing to accommodate the challenges your team faces.
Changing Work Environments
The challenges that employees face are numerous and every bit as individual as your team themselves. Social changes and workplace policy shifts, however, can create shifts in the mental well-being of your employees that should be anticipated and accommodated by your EAP.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the work routines and work-life balance of millions of employees were monumentally changed by work-from-home solutions, operational hour restrictions, and other distancing accommodations. Many companies found themselves unprepared for the massive challenges of these altering routines and did not have adequate resources in place when many employees' mental health suffered.
With familiar routines removed and regular support networks fragmented, many people fell into addiction. Overdose-related cardiac arrests more than doubled previous rates in the early days of the pandemic, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association; so much that by July 2020, nearly half of all EMS activations were for related issues.
Employees displaced from their particular routines too frequently felt like their non-family support network was gone. Remote work solutions forced those still in workplaces to drastically alter their work-life as much as remote workers. Whether due to lack of comprehensive help or employee awareness, many EAPs failed struggling employees, and they were unable to reach out for help in time.
Keep Your Program Comprehensive
Your EAP needs to evolve to ensure that it is meeting every reasonable need it can for employees. As times change and present new challenges for your employees, your program needs to grow to meet those challenges and be a reputable resource that your employees know that they can rely on. EAPs can cover a wide range of issues, but some common ones to make sure you can provide assistance on are:
- Addiction counseling, resources, and referrals
- Family legal advice and referrals
- Suicide and violence prevention and counseling
- Mental illness hotline and local referrals
- Grief counseling
A happy employee is a productive employee, but there's more than that. Your employees don't owe you for the work you provide, you have a responsibility to them for choosing to invest their labors into your organization. A comprehensive EAP can provide services that your employees would not be comfortable involving a supervisor with, so can greatly increase your ability to improve the lives of your valued team.
Increase EAP Awareness
According to a 2020 article from HR Executive, 47% of employees say that their employer does not offer an EAP or they are unsure if they do. As the article also points out 93% of HR professionals say that their organization offers a quality EAP, so where is this disconnect created?
Employees are often not sufficiently educated in the availability of and coverage offered by their EAP. Incorporating EAP education into your workplace culture is essential for an effective program. If supervisors are not educated on their program they will be likely to misinform or neglect to inform their subordinates of the resources offered.
Often, employees won't even know that their company offers an EAP until they have a serious need for it. With sensitive and often stigmatized issues like addiction, this can be too late and defeats the purpose of a confidential resource like an EAP.
Offering a Robust Safety Net
You have a responsibility to do everything in your ability to provide a work environment where your employees can be healthy and happy. Sometimes the challenges to your workers are complex, but with a little effort, you can form a robust safety net for the well-being of your team that anticipates and provides vital resources for whatever hardships they may have.
Maintaining strong support for your employees isn't just altruistic, it's profitable. Partner with a team of professionals who care about the well-being of your employees as much as you do. With a plague of addiction and overdose wreaking havoc on the workforce, Employee Recovery believes in a robust EAP that provides comprehensive solutions for addiction and substance abuse.
Your employees are important. Let us at Employee Recovery help you form a solution that gets members of your team the help they need when they need it.