How to review your EAP provider to ensure they are fit-for-purpose for your workplace.

More and more employers are feeling that they need to review their current EAP program and this guide will help you do just that, providing you with a list of questions that will make sure that you have an employee wellbeing support system that is right for your modern workforce.

How to review your EAP provider to ensure they are fit-for-purpose for your workplace.


What is an EAP Provider?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a comprehensive and holistic workplace wellbeing programme. It is a voluntary and confidential service to support employees who have concerns that affect their personal wellbeing and/or work performance.

EAP services are traditionally seen to be the "ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" when employees would seek either face-to-face or online sessions with a counsellor for a limited number of employer-funded sessions, only when things get really bad. These sessions are meant to be when the therapists meet with the employees to discuss the challenges and problems they’re dealing with. Yet, because of the stigma associated and the hit-and-miss nature of whether these sessions would be helpful or not, on average only about 2% of employees would reach out for support through their EAP.

Post-pandemic, employers are increasingly reflecting on whether their EAP provider is fit for purpose. Whether its because of limited engagement/communication between HR and the EAP provider, low employee uptake, negative employee feedback on the quality of the service and wait time.

An EAP program should consider both the external and internal factors that may contribute to the decline of an employee mental health and wellbeing and/or performance at work.

Examples of external factors include the following:

• Workplace culture and environment
• High Workload
• Unrealistic Deadlines
• Conflict with manager or colleagues
• The threat of job loss/security
• The lack of adequate support or training provided on the job
• Different types of personal stresses – family, health, relationship, and financial     • Traumatic and childhood experiences eg. bullying                                                        

Internal factors include:

• Self-confidence and self-esteem
• Personality type
• Unhelpful beliefs about oneself
• Core values (and whether it aligns with the company's values)
• Ability to manage negative thoughts and emotions
• Pre-existing psychological conditions eg. Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, etc.


The benefits:

The benefits of an Employee Assistance Program extend to both the employee and the employer.

For Employees:

• Confidential and funded help from qualified mental health professionals to deal with the diversity of challenges that can affect one's personal wellbeing, which has a flow on impact on work.
• The convenience of having therapy sessions conducted online or in person.
• Improved work focus, satisfaction and performance.
• Develop and maintain good, professional, and productive relationships with co-workers.
• Confidential and funded help from qualified financial advisors for financial stress

For Employers:

• Increase the productivity of employees.
• Increase employee engagement and motivation to perform better at work.
• Decrease in the incidence of presenteeism, absenteeism and sick leave.
• Flourishing and psychological safe workplace culture to meet ISO45003 standards.
• Reduce employee turnover/attrition rate.
• Increase employee collaboration and innovation.
• Attract and retain top talent.

Managers and people leaders are not trained to provide effective mental health and wellbeing support to employees, especially if you have a large, remote and distributed workforce. Therefore, having a trusted EAP provider will ensure that talk therapy is a cost effective method to enhance employee wellbeing and
performance, with ROI ranging from 2 to 7:1 (Bajorek and Bevan, 2020)

If you're not getting as much as you could from your provider maybe it's time to rethink who you're with.

As an organisation, you will need to determine what matters to you, with regard to your employee's wellbeing. Overlooking workplace support programmes is no longer an option. Employers have health and safety requirements (ISO 45003) that they need to meet to ensure their people are healthy. After all, if your people are thriving, your business is thriving.

If you are interested in a modern day employee wellness solution for your organisation, reach out to Clearhead today for a free, no strings attached, demo.

Book a free demo today

To effectively evaluate your EAP provider, you need to be asking these questions:

Does your EAP provider reach only 2-3% of your employees?

Clearhead has a utilisation rate of 20-30% that is 10x higher than traditional EAP providers. Most EAP providers have a utilisation rate of 2-3%, which is significantly less than the 25% who will be experiencing mental health concerns at any given time.

Does your EAP provider offer proactive support for employees, before it worsens to crisis levels?

Clearhead is centred around providing proactive and personalised support, to help employees build self-awareness and resilience skills so they are managing their wellbeing before they reach a crisis point. Clearhead does this through a combination of personalised self-help tools as well as the ability to easily request a counselling appointment through our user-friendly online booking system.

By the time an employee is experiencing severe stress and mental health conditions, reactive counselling of 3 sessions is usually not going to make a real impact and turn things around for the individual.

Does your EAP provider offer a mix of mental health professionals?

Clearhead understands that an employees' mental health and wellbeing can be affected by both personal and workplace related issues. This can range from relationship break up, grief and loss, conflict at work, search for purpose, parenting challenges, addiction, social anxiety, financial stress, and so much more.

For your employee that means seeing the right professional at the right time with the right expertise for their specific issue. Clearhead's network of more than 400 mental health and financial advisory professionals covers across the breadth of wellbeing needs.

More importantly, 30% of our network comprising of registered Psychologists that all your employees can access compared to the less than 1% that most EAP providers have. With our average counselling session costing the same price as most EAP providers, you can be confident that your employees are able to get access to the highest quality of support without blowing the budget. Ensuring that your employees develop the skills they need to solve their problems and therefore see post-traumatic growth instead of post-traumatic stress!

Does your EAP provider have increasing wait times for employees accessing professional support or only have a number to call within set hours?

Clearhead has significantly shorter wait times for employees to receive professional support compared to other EAP providers. Employees can be seen in days, and our digital wellbeing assistant provides 24/7 triaging support.  Clearhead also provides on-site critical incident support within 24-48 hours of reach out. Employees can both book an appointment directly on Clearhead's app or call us on our free helpline.

Due to our simple and inviting website and mobile app, we see individuals reaching out without fear of judgement much earlier in their wellbeing journey. The only other pathway if employees do not trust their employer's EAP system is to go through the public system which usually has months-long wait times or the employee might have to pay out of pocket for a private therapist.

What has been the feedback from employees?

We know that 81% of employees found Clearhead self-tools helpful for their challenges and 98% of employees found therapy helpful through Clearhead's professional network. Clearhead checks in after every interaction an employee has with our self-help and professional help services. Should the employee provide feedback that it was unhelpful, Clearhead reaches out to help your employee find a new mental health professional they could work with instead until they have found a good match.

You can ask managers whether they have heard any feedback from employees on how they have found the experience with your current EAP provider. Alternatively, you can send out a short, anonymous survey to all employees asking for their feedback to help fuel your decision.

Does your EAP provide you insight employee wellbeing data analytics?

Clearhead understands how hard it is to run an organisation if you don't have visibility around what is actually impacting the wellbeing of your people. Having access to this information in an aggregated and anonymised manner that represents a meaningful sample size of your employees ensures that you can then better target wellbeing initiatives that will make an impact and get the best bang for buck for your limited time and resources.

Most EAP providers provide a limited amount of information such as how many counselling sessions were delivered and what is the high level issue that they came to seek help for. Clearhead provides a 20 page report that is written up by a clinical psychologist with an organisational psych background that deeply analyses the causes for the employees distress (external factors), how they are coping and the impact it is having on people's lives as well as the underlying thoughts and beliefs (internal factors) that points to a wider workplace culture and leadership challenge that has to be worked on to ensure your employees are in an environment that they can give their best.

Does your EAP give you a clear indication of why extra sessions are requested?

Clearhead believes it is important to be accountable and impactful in the service we deliver. That is why when additional sessions are requested there is clear indication around what has been achieved so far and what will be achieved with the additional sessions requested. All while ensuring there are no identifiable information shared and the privacy of the individual employee is strictly protected.

When is your EAP contract up for renewal?

Most EAP contracts will be renewed annually, which means that you get the chance to review whether it is actually working for you and your people. Some contracts will automatically roll over, unless communicated otherwise, so we recommend you keep a note of when your contract is up for renewal and use that as an opportunity to see what is out there in the market?

If after you have answered those questions and you feel as though your EAP provider is not performing as well as you hoped, then maybe it is time to consider Clearhead, your modern EAP and workplace wellbeing solution.

Book a free demo with Clearhead today

Clearhead vs Traditional EAP provider:

Clearhead provides holistic and proactive mental health and wellbeing support for workplaces that is so much more than just counselling support.

We take an integrated approach of digital self-help resources, 24/7 digital wellbeing assistant, therapists network, and anonymised employee data analytics to give you better visibility on what is affecting your people.

Traditional EAP:

+ Tends to only be utilised by those already experiencing severe levels of stress or anxiety.

+ Require that employees access to care through calling a phone number.

+ Low adoption rates amongst employees.

+ Longer wait times for employees to seek therapy.

Clearhead:

+ Clearhead’s self-help support tools and bite-size content encourages employees to proactively improve their wellbeing.

+ Clearhead gives employees the choice, convenience and control of being able to book therapy themselves with whomever they like. Therefore, improving the chances of a good therapeutic relationship and positive clinical outcome.

+ Clearhead can reach at least 10x more employees than traditional EAP.

+ Significantly shorter wait times for professional support including being able to see a psychologist if that is their preference.

+ Clearhead delivers therapeutic outcomes above the industry average eg. 98% found counselling through Clearhead helpful in solving their problems.

+ Clearhead provides monthly free webinars and wellbeing comms that you can send out to your employees to ensure they are regularly reminded to prioritise their wellbeing and that support is available.

+ Clearhead has a mobile app that regularly prompts employees to check in with themselves and practice build life long resilience and coping skills to deal with life's many challenges.

Think of us as the extra pair of hands, that are mental health experts. We work alongside our clients and walk alongside their employees, guiding them through their wellbeing journey and build resilience in both the individual and the organisation.

If you are interested in a modern day employee wellness solution for your organisation, reach out to Clearhead today for a free, no strings attached, demo.

Book a free demo today