In a highly competitive marketplace, focusing on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and health and wellness can become a differentiator for an employer. Additionally, numerous reports and studies state that U.S. workers feel stressed. The American Institute of Stress says job stress is the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. 
Employee Assistance Programs
Many organizations have established an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as an addition to their health insurance plans and overall wellness initiatives. An EAP professional offers referrals to short-term counseling over the telephone, or sometimes in person, to help employees and members of their household manage everyday life issues. EAP professionals are trained to assist your employees with emotional issues, relationship concerns, coping with a serious illness, loss of a loved one, sleeping difficulties, weight control, eating disorders, smoking cessation, plus other daily needs and life events.
According to the International Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), the majority of U.S. organizations (97%) with more than 5,000 employees have an EAP. Eighty percent of companies with 1,001 - 5,000 employees have EAPs, while 75% of companies with 251 - 1,000 employees have EAPs. 
Workplace Outcome Suite Annual Report
The annual Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) report developed by Chestnut Global Partners uses workplace surveys to demonstrate the effectiveness of EAPs in business terms related to absenteeism, presenteeism, work engagement, workplace distress, and life satisfaction.
The most recent WOS annual report from 2018 found that before implementing an EAP, companies saw an average of 10.92 hours of work missed over a 30-day period due to mental health related issues. After implementation of an EAP, the absenteeism dropped to 5.64 hours, an improvement of 48 percent. 
Humana EAP Survey Results
A recent survey of Humana employees using the company’s own EAP shows improvement in healthy days. The survey reviewed outcomes from callers whose service requests were created between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2018, with telephonic follow-up three months after the service request date. 
Humana EAP Survey Highlights:
- Respondents reported improvement in healthy days as well as the five Workplace Outcomes Suite metrics (absenteeism, presenteeism, work engagement, life satisfaction and workplace distress)
- 94% of respondents were satisfied with the EAP service overall
- 82% of respondents felt more confident in their ability to handle the situation for which they called EAP
- 57% of respondents indicated they felt less stress than when they first called EAP
EAP’s Positive Impact on Organizations
All employees have varying levels of personal or professional problems. Some issues that are not addressed can escalate, which can cause employees to underperform at work. Personal issues can cause attitude problems, resulting in poor customer service and conflicts with other team members. Distracted employees could also risk injuries in the workplace.
Through the EAP’s trained professionals, your employees can speak on the phone confidentially about any personal problems, anxiety, depression, substance abuse or other issues causing stress. The professionals provide coping strategies and referrals to other professional services so that employees’ personal issues are less likely to impact job performance. The confidential conversations are designed to support team members with action steps and coping mechanisms to create a more productive working environment, increasing job satisfaction and loyalty.
EAPs can reduce health insurance costs when employees use the program to address stress-related illnesses, mental health issues, concerns with addiction and other home life worries. By providing trained professionals, EAPs can help minimize the number of employee grievances and reduce terminations at your organization.
EAPs also elevate your organization’s culture of health, including the physical, mental and social well-being of your employees and their family members. The attention to overall health will attract all generations in the workforce – especially Millennials and Generation Z.  Not only will your employees be more productive with less absenteeism, they will be more loyal because their company cares about them and is looking after their family members, too. 
Work-Life Services – Easy Entry to EAP
An additional benefit of Humana’s EAP is Work-Life Services or convenience services. Business leaders understand that job satisfaction and higher productivity are best achieved when employees’ personal needs are being met. Work-Life Services were established specifically to support employees with their work-life balance, assisting team members in meeting their unique personal needs and life events.
Offering extensive information, assistance and support, Work-Life Services help your team members achieve a better balance between work, life, and family. Your employees can access information and self-search locators to find resources and providers to help with:
- Convenience services
- Adoption, pregnancy and infertility
- Housing options
- Adjusting to retirement
- Child care
- Locating services and care for older adults
- Financing college
- Pet care
- Home ownership
- Finding schools
- Caregiving from a distance
- Tutors and test prep
- Moving and relocation
- Child development
- Finding colleges and universities
- Recreational activities
- Services and education for children with special needs
- Consumer education
The Work-Life program provides personalized research – a big time-saver in finding resources for employees. Combined with the personal touch of caring and individualized guidance, this confidential benefit is ideal for busy families caring for loved ones with special needs.
Promoting Work-Life Services is often the first step in getting team members comfortable with using EAP. In fact, Work-Life Services will recommend additional and continuing support for associates through EAP.
Encouraging Employees to Use EAP
Despite ample education available to remove the stigma of depression, anxiety and mental health issues — including celebrities and respected individuals supporting awareness — people hesitate to use EAP due to questions about confidentiality. Team members may be concerned about being labeled and the reduced ability to advance in their careers.
Here are tips to minimize confidentiality concerns and encourage your employees to access EAP and Work-Life Services:
- During new employee orientation, emphasize EAP and Work-Life as additional benefits offered free to associates and household family members with complete confidentiality
- Identify Well-Being Champions across your organization to conduct personalized small group meetings with peers about the benefits of EAP and Work-Life Services
- Schedule regular educational sessions and lunch and learns with examples of available services, such as stress reduction classes, smoking cessation, financial planning for college and retirement, etc.
- Underscore the confidentiality of contacting EAP by emphasizing that no prior approval is needed to use the program and the company does not know who is using the service
- Include reminders about the benefits in employee communications, including departmental and company-wide newsletters, the Intranet, posters, screen savers and more
- Remind employees that many causes of stress are common and that EAP exists to help address stress and achieve more balanced lives
- Create a supportive workplace culture with leadership buy-in, which can help de-stigmatize the conversation about mental health in the workplace
EAP and Work-Life Services help your employees in engaging and creating support systems. Not only do these benefits elevate your teams’ health and well-being, they can lead to increased job satisfaction and higher staff retention.
Watch this video about Humana’s EAP and Work-Life Services and contact your Humana Representative to learn more about these additional resources that enhance your healthcare and benefits packages.
All employees, as well as household family members, can access EAP and Work-Life Services, conveniently, confidentially and at no cost.
These non-insurance services are provided by Humana Wellness.
Personal Information about participants remains confidential according to all applicable state and federal laws, unless disclosure is required by such laws.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical, legal, financial, or other professional advice or used in place of consulting a licensed professional. You should consult with an applicable licensed professional to determine what is right for you.
 Workplace Stress, The American Institute of Stress, https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress
 International Employee Assistance Professionals Association, http://www.eapassn.org/faqs
 The Business Benefit of Employee Assistance Programs, Sarah Fister Gale, 6/3/19
 According to Humana EAP Workplace Outcomes Suite Survey 2019.
 Report: Millennials Are Demanding More Wellbeing Support From Employers, Fred Pennic, 08/16/2019
 What is an Employee Assistance Program and Does Your Company Need One, Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead, 11/12/18, https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/11/employee-assistance-program.html