What is an EAP?

By liamarus, 19 August, 2013

If you implement an employee assistance programme (EAP) at your company, your employees’ productivity will increase, accidents will be reduced and workplace conflicts will be resolved in a shorter period of time. And best of all, you will be able to demonstrate a return on the investment you made in the programme. Do not use an EAP as window-dressing, a 'nice-to-have’ to use to build company image. Rather use your company’s EAP as a pro-active strategy to support your employees to function on increasingly higher levels and thus be more productive and happy.

What makes up an EAP?

According to the EAPA Standards Document (2010), an EAP is a programme in a particular workplace which is designed to assist:

(1)    In addressing productivity issues at work,
(2)    Employees in identifying and resolving personal concerns which may affect their performance at work. These concerns may be of the following nature:

  • Health,
  • Marital,
  • Family,
  • Financial,
  • Alcohol,
  • Drug,
  • Legal,
  • Emotional, and
  • Stress.

8 Items which a comprehensive EAP should contain

If you are serious about establishing an EAP in your company, strive to incorporate all of these technologies in your programme:

(1)    Consultation with, training of, and assistance to your organisation’s leadership who need to:

  • Manage troubled employees,
  • Enhance the work environment, and
  • Improve employee job performance,

(2)    Active promotion of the availability of employee-assistance services to:

- Employees, 
- Their family members, and 
- Organisation.

(3)    Confidential and timely identification of problems or assessment services for employees with personal concerns that may affect their on-the-job performance,

(4)    Use of constructive confrontation, motivation, and short-term intervention with employee clients to address problems that affect job performance,

(5)    Referral of employee clients for diagnosis, treatment and assistance, as well as case monitoring and follow-up services,

(6)    Assisting organisations in establishing and maintaining effective relations with treatment and other service providers, and in managing provider contracts,

(7)    Consultation organisation to encourage the availability of, and employee access to, health benefits covering medical and behavioural problems including, but not limited to, alcoholism, drug abuse, and mental and emotional disorders, and

(8)    Evaluating  the effects of employee assistance services on organisations and individual job performance.1

On Thursday, I’ll outline how you should go about choosing an EAP for your company.

Reference: EAPA Standards for Employee Assistance Programme: Professional guidelines. 2010. Johannesburg. Available from

by Hennie Verhoef

This article first appeared on HR Pulse.



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