Cost – Benefit Analysis of EAP Programs

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are a common investment for companies that want to ensure the long-term health and happiness of its employees. While many companies offer health care/health insurance benefits to their employees, EAPs are focused primarily on the mental health of employees, rather than simply their physical well-being.

Cost of EAPs Relative to Benefits

The cost of adopting an EAP varies based on what is offered in the plan, the extent of these offerings and the number of employees a business has. Thus, it’s hard to state an average price point for these programs. But, research shows that for every dollar spent on an EAP, your business stands to save about $5-$16.

The reasons are twofold. First it costs about 50% to 75% more to train a new employee to do a job than it does to hire someone else. Next, productivity from happy healthy employees is much higher.

So, while the bottom line will differ between businesses, it is possible to calculate the cost benefits of these programs.

It may not be immediately noticeable as an employer, but mental or stress-related issues with your employees can have a serious, adverse effect on their productivity. An EAP offers an outlet for these employees to remedy these non-physical maladies and thereby improve and stimulate a higher level of productivity.

Under-producing employees can cost a business a lot. Companies that offer their employees the benefits of an EAP see as much as a 25% improvement in reducing losses caused by reduced productivity. If you employ individuals with depression or similar disorders, you can recover even more of these losses because these types of issues produce more lack of productivity than other stress and mental health challenges.

When you eliminate the issues of stress and anxiety by including an EAP as part of your company’s wellness program, you and your employees will experience an overall better work environment. Happy employees are simply better employees. These programs can reduce absenteeism, employee turnover and make for a safer work environment, all of which improve your bottom line.

What Assistance is Offered Through an EAP?

When most people think of EAP benefits, the first thing that comes to mind is the counseling for mental, stress and work-related issues. These counselors are often a contracted third-party, which helps ensure confidentiality for employees who are taking advantage of the services. In other words, employers don’t know which employees are using the EAP, if any, which makes this assistance more approachable by workers.

The next popular EAP benefit is drug and alcohol abuse counseling. Some of these drug-related dependencies occur as a result of employees using substances to curb high levels of stress, instead of seeking out counseling. Once an employee is made aware of the offerings of your EAP and their addiction is resolved, they are less likely to relapse because they’ll begin taking advantage of stress counseling.

There are other perks offered through some EAPs, which can include services like marriage counseling, financial or legal advice, conflict resolution and more. A lot of employees prefer using these services over a trip to HR because it is outside the company, which ensures confidentiality.

Does Offering an EAP Help Attract Millennials and the Next-Gen Workforce?

According to a survey funded by the American Psychological Association, there are a number of statistics surrounding millennials and stress-related anxiety and even depression.

  • On a scale of 1-10 of average stress levels, millennials score half a point higher than older members of the workforce
  • Nearly one in every five Millennials have been told they have depression, more than any other generation; it is a similar story with anxiety disorders
  • Millennials cite work as the biggest stressor

It’s hard to say what the cause of this rise in stress and depression for the younger, emerging workforce is. Some feel it is the huge spike in education costs, which leaves many millennials in massive amounts of debt after college. It may also be attributed to an increased awareness surrounding these types of mental health issues.

No matter what the cause of this rise is, offering an EAP is an attractive part of an employee benefits package for the millennial workforce.

Adding an EAP to Your Company’s Wellness Program

As an employer, you undoubtedly care about the success and well-being of your business, but you also care about the employees that make that success possible. In the past, medically insuring your employees was the primary foundation of a wellness program, but given the rise of stressors that lead to anxiety and depression, companies need to begin also considering the mental health of their employees.

The health and happiness of your workforce is hard to measure. Your staff could be suffering from massive stressors that you aren’t even aware of. By including an employee assistance program as part of your company wellness program, you create the opportunity for them to handle these non-physical problems and concerns.

Ultimately, these programs will lead to employees that are more productive, stay longer with your company, interact better with others (coworkers and customers alike) and pay closer attention to details and safety. All of these benefits result in a healthier bottom line.

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