Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Everything We Know

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Everything We Know


Ignoring stressful and distressed employees in the workplace can cause long-term irreparable damage to the people within the organization and the organization's success as a whole.

EAP can help prevent and avoid the negative consequences of workplace-related stress and employee burnout. Keep reading to learn more about EAP and how you help your team prevent chronic stress and burnout within your organization. 

Table Of Contents:

What is an EAP?

EAP is a counseling and consulting program which assists employees at all occupational levels in coping with workplace-related issues. Some of the issues include mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety disorder, and substance abuse. EAP can help resolve other employee problems like financial advice, family planning, and healthcare.

What are the main goals of EAP?

According to the research of some trusted sources, the suicide rates among male physicians are 40 times over the average and 130 times over the average for female physicians. Studies are being conducted to understand whether burnout is a form of depression. In other words, it is not apparent how the state of burnout is different from clinical depression. Chronic stress can lead an employee to strain the body that may cause serious health problems. Ironically, the healthcare industry has the highest rates of burnout. 

The WHO (World Health Organization) added occupational burnout to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which characterized burnout as:

  • A feeling of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  • Increase mental distance from one’s job; feeling of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

When coupled with the additional daily challenges and stress to provide for one's family, occupational stress and burnout can become debilitating. When people are chronically stressed, they tend to be less creative and innovative. They are less likely to speak up about their work and offer dissenting constructive opinions necessary for a thriving workplace.

Ignoring stressful and distressed employees in the workplace can cause long-term irreparable damage to the people within the organization and the organization's success as a whole. Unfortunately, pep talk on stress management may not work out on people already burned out. Instead, an EAP with long-term prevention strategies built around shared goals can boost employee morale and increase productivity in the workplace.

Some of the main goals of an EAP include:

Resolving personal issues

An EAP can successfully help employees with personal problems that may adversely affect their performance by providing confidential support from qualified professionals and counselors.

Reduce absenteeism in the workplace

Employees who experience burnout on the job are more likely to take sick leave and visit the emergency room. US businesses annually lose up to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs. Employers can prevent absenteeism by allocating counseling sessions for employees with high rate of absence and recommend workplace wellness programs.

Create an empathetic work culture

The feeling of empathy is at the heart of most successful organizations. The ability to step into someone else's shoes, understand what they are going through, and talk openly about a problem, big or small, really changes the dynamic in the workplace. One of the most common causes of stress at work is strained relations between employees and managers. Empathy allows managers to effectively play the middle role and employees to have more compassion for their management.

Create a support network

Having healthy support in the form of friends and colleagues is integral considering a large extent of an employee's waking hours is spent at work. According to the Gallup report, employees with one good friend at work are four times less likely to burn out. Employees expect their job to be more than just a paycheck and actively seek and remain with organizations characterized by feelings of trust, belongingness, and inclusion. An EAP by building an engaged and satisfied workforce can lead to greater employee retention.

How to set up an EAP?

Before setting up an EAP for your workplace, it is essential to reflect on what you want to achieve with a particular EAP and how it would align with the overall goals and objectives of the organization.

Being open and honest about your expectations will help optimize your course of action with effective systems and processes for implementing an EAP. Here are some important aspects to keep in mind to ensure a successful implementation of an EAP

Communicate with employees about EAP

The purpose of an EAP is to provide emotional support to employees during difficult situations, and communicating it clearly to employees in the organization can help bring transparency and instill trust in the program. Making the employees understand that a particular EAP is in their best interest can help foster better relationships and well-rounded employees who have the confidence and self-efficacy to lead.

Select the right vendor and the right program

You can either hire professional counselors or a qualified EAP provider to help with the employee management program. There are many vendors that offer EAP services. While considering a vendor for implementing an EAP, see that they have a proven track record in the field.

Similarly, an EAP for your organization should be flexible enough to accommodate different foreseeable and unanticipated events and changes that your organization may witness. Flexibility of a program makes them more efficient in the long run.


Employees who feel engaged and connected to the workplace tend to work more hours per week. EAP can help manage stress by addressing the root causes of burnout that may impact an employee's performance and productivity. Choose the best Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for your stressed employees and help them to redeem themselves from a stressful environment.

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