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Frequently Asked Questions

Where did EAP’s come from?

Why do I need an EAP?

Work can have a significant impact on people's mental wellbeing. Employers can help to foster a mentally healthy workplace, for example by taking action to prevent and manage stress and training line managers on mental wellbeing. Reporting on the success of an EAP can have reputational benefits for the organisation.

What kind of issues can be address?

EAPs address a broad and complex array of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as workplace stress, family problems, grief, anxiety and depression, alcohol and substance use. EAPs also work in a consultative role with managers and supervisors to address employee and organisational challenges and needs.

Can EAP’s help to address organisational issues pro-actively?

Yes, EAP’s also work in a consultative role with managers and supervisors to address employee and organisational challenges and needs. Best practice dictates that EAPs should be part of a larger company plan to promote wellness that involves written policies, supervisor and employee training, and, where appropriate, an approved drug testing program.

EAP’s are also pro-active in helping organisations prevent and cope with workplace disputes, trauma, and other managerial issues.

What happens with an EAP referral and who knows about it?

In an EAP, there are two types of referrals:

1. Self-referral where the employee seeks help on their own and nobody know about it other than the sponsor (usually HR or OH)
No record of this type of referral appears in the employee's personnel file.

2. A formal referral is conducted by the employee’s manager, Human Resources or Occupational Health department. Any recommendations to be referred may or may not appear in the individual's personnel file depending on the situation. Often, no record is made unless there is a need for formal disciplinary action.
What is discussed during the sessions, however, is not reported to the employer in either case.

What makes an EAP successful?

Several factors make an EAP successful:

Strict confidentiality

  • Open to all employees
  • Recognition and commitment by management, employees and trade unions that an EAP is needed
  • Policies and procedures supported by top management, employees and unions
  • Establishment of both formal and informal referral procedures
  • Promotion of the EAP and encouragement to use the service
  • Managers and employees educated in the purpose and workings of the EAP
  • Periodic monitoring and evaluation of the EAP to ensure:
    • the needs of both the employee and the employer are being met
    • continued quality of the referral/assistance
    • address potential issues

What are the benefits of using an EAP?

An effective EAP plays a critical role in motivating and supporting employees in their personal wellness and in building resilience to stress before it leads to health or productivity issues. By continually focusing on, and adapting to an organisation's needs, the right EAP can:

  • Increase employee recruitment and retention
  • Improve employee health and well-being
  • Improve company productivity and performance
  • Reduce health claims and missed workdays
  • The integrated services and programs provided through an EAP result in reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, improving organisational performance. *

* John Mellor-Clark, Elspeth Twigg, Eugene Farrell & Andrew Kinder (2012) Benchmarking key service quality indicators in UK Employee Assistance Programme Counselling: A CORE System data profile (Counselling & Psychotherapy Research: Linking research with practice) The findings from this study indicate the success of EAPs when it comes to engaging with and matching client problems with relevant and appropriate counsellors, as well as.

Recovery and improvement rates – 70% of EAP clients are demonstrably shown to recover or improve following their counselling intervention. This level of recovery and improvement is on a par with interventions in primary care settings.

Access to therapy services – 92% of EAP clients were accepted for treatment in just nine days, on average. In a primary care setting, waiting times for treatment average two months (or 64 days).

Clinical distress – 88% of clients presenting to EAPs scored above clinical cut-off level, which means they were similar to NHS out-patients. It demonstrates EAPs are seeing and supporting clinical cases.

EAP treatment completion – 80% of EAP clients were estimated to have completed their counselling intervention.

Number of counselling sessions attended – on average, EAP clients attended four treatment sessions. 95% of clients attended six sessions which compares notably with NHS primary care services where 23% of patients attend four treatments or less.

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