Considering the fact that employees spend a large part of their day at work, taking care of employees has become an essential regimen in almost every organization across industries. With the rising awareness as well as emphasis on work-life balance, companies are taking greater steps to contribute to their employees’ wellbeing. ‘Employee Assistance Programs’ (EAP) attempts to bring about the facet of care by the employer for their employees. EAP as a program is in an evolved stage in the western world with robust governance and execution platform, however in India the EAP practices are visible but not in full strength. Many employer organisations in India address some aspects of EAP with focus on mental health, substance abuse and wellness. Integrating EAP into wellness has become very popular as it helps cut down on insurance cost by practicing low cost wellness programs that also keep employees well.
With increased exposure to stress and pressure in the daily routine life, the need for EAPs has increased too. EAPs work as vital tool for organizational growth as they help maintain workforce health, along with better culture and work environment.
A happier and healthy workforce is undoubtedly more productive and profitable for the company’s growth and advancements. As EAPs help the organization ensure that its employees do not become victims of burnout and are able to focus on the right things at work. In case any personal or work related issues have been affecting employee performance; or any concerns pertaining to safety, individual or workplace morale and physical, psychological or emotional health, effective and essential treatment for the same can hence be ensured with immediate effect.
EAPs are not limited to catering only some particular employee issues. From supporting the employees to identify, prevent as well as resolve the issues affecting their mental or physical health, the EAPs also help employees face any problems related to substance abuse or addiction, alcoholism, other personal or familial stress concerns, fitness and health maintenance along with career counselling referrals too. These problems and issues may include, but are not limited to, relationships, health, trauma, substance abuse, gambling and other addictions, financial problems, depression, anxiety disorders, psychiatric disorders, communication problems, legal and coping with change.
The EAPs also have a business and practical rationalising as they touch upon the issues that have direct impact on organizational output and performance. From helping boost employee productivity and decrease absenteeism to providing essential training and education on handling mental health, stress, and addictions at different levels in the workplace and personal lives; addressing workplace violence if any threats exist, preparing the organization for various aspects related to safety and emergency situations, along with guidance on communication during strenuous situations like mergers, layoffs, or employee injuries/accidents at the workplace.
The additional efforts taken by an organization for employee care and wellbeing also help as excellent retention policies for the company. As it subconsciously motivates employees and prolongs their genuine effortful contribution towards the company it also helps work-life coordination of employees by understanding them and their needs better, gains visibility in the employee minds giving them a one stop solution to approach with their concerns which may not be immediate work related and generates an overall optimistic/positive feeling in the work atmosphere.
While still limited in use in our part of world, EAPs can potentially provide significant benefits to Employers and employees at a time when health care cost are at premium.
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