Managing

Assisting staff through tough times can reap rewards, research finds

Melinda Oliver /

Companies that offer staff access to employee wellbeing programs could see a return investment of more than $10,000 per participant, according to a new study.

Employee assistance program (EAP) provider Davidson Trahaire Corpsych investigated the data of 4707 of its clients in 2012. It found that a company would get an average return of $10,187.99 in productivity improvements per year for each employee who uses an EAP.

The study found that on completion of a program, employee absenteeism dropped by 32%, emotional wellbeing increased by 87% and morale and motivation in the workplace improved by 51%. Productivity in the workplace was found to have increased by over 25%.

The survey found that females showed slightly higher levels than men of emotional wellbeing, work-life management and work relationships following employee assistance programs.

Davidson Trahaire Corpsych chief executive officer Michele Grow told SmartCompany this morning that this shows there is “hard metrics” behind the usefulness of prioritising the wellbeing of staff.

Grow explains that EAP programs usually consist of “two to four well-structured sessions” with an expert external to the business, to counsel a person through a personal or workplace challenge.

“They are not long term, they are short-term solution-focused programs,” she says. “If necessary we can refer them on to longer-term help.”

Grow says the range of issues faced can include bullying, relationship breakdowns, the loss of a loved one, or even issues communicating with their children, that can all impact work performance.

The results may act in favour of Davidson Trahaire Corpsych and its services, but Perspectives Coaching founder Pollyanna Lenkic told SmartCompany this morning that the benefits of EAPs could not be disputed.

“When someone is in a high stress situation, which some workplaces can be, with lots of change, with lots of uncertainty, or they are fearful or scared, or unsure of job security…EAPs are worth their weight in gold,” Lenkic says.

Lenkic says employers have a responsibility to watch out for employees who are struggling in the workplace, and thinks employers should put that person in contact with an organisation that can help and support them.

“I’ve seen first-hand the positive benefits of employee assistance, programs, when they know how to access it.”

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