Many businesses understand that it can be difficult to find and keep quality employees. The issues that face many people in their everyday lives can sometimes become overwhelming as they try to balance the demands of work and family while establishing a sense of balance and well-being on a personal level.

All too often the options available to employees trying to balance a busy work and home life once problems arise are limited. The inability to resolve these issues due to financial, time, or emotional considerations, results in lower productivity, and a less functional employee. That is why more and more employers are developing Employment Assistance Programs (EAP) to augment existing health care resources and help good employees get their lives back on track.

Employees, and even the companies that provide EAP’s benefit from a wide variety of services designed to resolve personal or family crisis and bring about a healthier, and happier individual. In its infancy, EAP’s were designed primarily to handle drug and alcohol addictions, but in recent years has expanded to include the following issues –

  • Mental Health
  • Substance abuse, and other addictions
  • Parenting issues
  • Marital problems
  • Financial issues
  • Legal concerns

Although originally designed for use by employees, EAP services have grown to encompass organizational needs as well. Addressing such concerns as organizational development, prevention, crisis response, and absence management. There are even services designed to train companies to address very specific employee needs such as those encountered by returning Veterans.

The Integrated Benefits Institute established to represent U.S. employers and business interests, has announced that illnesses are responsible for over $227 billion dollars annually in lost employee productivity. This includes “presenteeism” a word coined by researchers to describe employees who report to their jobs, but are too ill to properly perform their duties.  The value of EAPs not only to employers, but to employees as well, can be established by observable decreases in absenteeism, greater employee retention, reduced medical expenses, and fewer labor disputes.

Gone are the days when the responsibility for personal issues fell solely on the shoulders of the employee. Where one might once have simply lost their job due to mental health issues, or addictions, contemporary employers have now recognized that investing in productive employees far outweighs the cost to find and train new workers in both time and money. The equation is fairly easy; EAPs are good for people, and that makes them good for business.