Wondering how your employee assistance program stacks up?
Here is an overview of the basics for evaluating an employee assistance program.
The Role of Evaluation
One of the functions of evaluation is to examine important aspects of the EAP effort. For example, it addresses the following questions:
- How does the program reflect the performance of the company?
- Is the vendor implementing the program in accordance with the terms of the agreement?
- Is the program’s short-term intervention reducing the need for long-term treatment?
- Are the services effective in improving employees’ level of functioning?
- Is the program cost-effective?
- Is the program diagnosing and aiding the appropriate number of employees (usually about 35%)?
Employee Assistance Program Checklist
There are a lot of moving parts to a robust employee assistance program. You may have to start small and build your program piece by piece. But eventually, you’ll want an employee assistance program that covers all these bases.
1. Prioritize physical fitness or virtual physical fitness
The cornerstone of a complete employee assistance program includes keeping bodies fit and strong. This can happen in several ways:
- Gym passes
- Personal trainers
- Fitness challenges
- Team sports
- Wearables (like a FitBit)
- Incentives for biking to work
- Virtual guided yoga
2. Address chronic conditions
Achieving a regular habit of physical fitness might be determined by workers’ current physical conditions. For some, addressing lifelong habits or other chronic conditions is the first focus. An EAP dealing with bigger health issues can help them turn their health around. Provide resources for issues like these:
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
3. Reduce mental stress
A well-rounded EAP will address the mind as well as the body. And as we’re discovering more and more, the mind and the body aren’t separate from each other: a frantic, stressed-out mind, and a body full of tension and injuries go hand-in-hand. Address emotional and mental health with resources like these:
- Guided meditation groups
- Mental health support
- Mindfulness training and practice
Related: 10 Minute Guided Meditation
4. Improve nutrition and diet
We all know that the fuel that keeps our bodies going is just as important as physical fitness. Make it easier on employees by encouraging healthy eating habits at home and at the home office:
- Water vs. soda
- Meal planning help from a nutritionist
- Food allergy testing
- Replace vending machines snacks with fruits, veggies, and nuts
- Cooking demonstrations to help create healthy meals at home
5. Be proactive about wellness
The best cure is prevention! And lucky for us, we’re living in a time when we have more options than ever to keep illness and injury at bay.
For employers, it makes financial sense to ensure employees are healthy and safe on the job. It saves a ton of money in worker’s compensation claims as well as an employee’s absence due to a work-related injury.
- Virtual and in-office massage reduces carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, repetitive motion injuries, and general stress and fatigue
- Ergonomics keeps workstations safe and reduces the risk of developing work-related injuries
6. Get everyone involved
This really should be rule #1. Before developing an office employee assistance program, ask employees what they want and what they would use. Maybe everyone has a gym they already love and aren’t interested in the new gym passes you’re giving out.
Or maybe you’re putting tons of money in a huge smoking cessation program, only to find out very few of your employees smoke.
There’s no sense in building an employee assistance program that no one will use.
Check out these other resources on EAPs and mental health programs:
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Increase EAP Utilization
- Your Guide to the EAP Implementation and Search Process
- The New Top Workplace Perk: Workforce Wellness Programs
Learn About the Power of Self-Care
Download the Mental Health Tool Kit to learn about mental health in the workplace – what it is, why it matters, and how you can start supporting employee mental health!