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What You Need To Know About Employee Assistance Programs

What You Need To Know About Employee Assistance Programs

2nd January 2018


Group benefit coverage provides security and peace of mind for employees so that their basic health and dental needs are looked after. However, taking care of team health and prosperity expands beyond simple security.

“Mounting costs of maintaining unhealthy employees, coupled with the expense and disruption associated with staff turnover, is leading many employers to implement a health promotion strategy.”

The Case for Comprehensive Workplace Promotion, Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto

Health promotion and support services are a crucial investment in the maintenance of a healthy workplace. These services often take the form of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), an employer- paid benefit support program that maintains employee well-being and workplace productivity. Services are designed to enable workers to overcome challenges and resolve both personal and work issues.


Through an EAP, employees receive support over the phone, in person, online and through a variety of issue-based health and wellness resources. Practical, relevant support from caring professionals ensures that the personal and team matters are being cared for.


Professional Counselling
EAP counsellors conduct confidential and thorough assessments of employee concerns, needs, preferences and current life challenges to determine the best modes of treatment. Counsellors have obtained graduate and post-graduate degrees in psychology, clinical social work and/or educational psychology.


Employee Support Services
Specific support services may vary from different providers. However, most EAPs will offer 24 hour crisis support 7 days a week, and counselling solutions for a wide range of life’s challenges, including:
  • Family issues and parenting
  • Nutrition questions
  • Child and elder care resources
  • Drugs, alcohol, gambling and smoking concerns
  • Workplace challenges
  • Financial concerns
  • Relationship issues
  • Legal worries
  • Physical health concerns
  • Crisis situations
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Stress
These support services are designed to take a comprehensive and prevention-focused approach to employee well-being. Solution-focused cognitive behavioural therapy teaches individuals, couples and families the skills necessary to solve their life problems without creating long-term dependent counselling relationships.

Life Balance Solutions

  • Childcare and parenting services: provides information and resources to address childcare needs or concerns
  • New parent support services: addresses any questions for imminent parenthood or caring for a new baby
  • Elder and family care services: consult with those needing information and support around caring for partners or older relatives
  • Legal advisory services: assists employees with professional legal consultation or provides referrals to local lawyers if required
  • Financial advisory services: offers advice, support, debt counselling and referrals to community resources
  • Relationship solutions: combines support and information when seeking strategies and resources for making relationships work better
Career Counselling Services
  • Career development: helps employees identify career direction and choices, access interests and skill sets and develop strategies to enhance work-life balance
  • Shift worker support: supports individuals struggling to make working shifts a part of a healthy, rewarding personal and work life
  • Pre-retirement planning: provides comprehensive assessments for psychological, emotional and financial needs and employees approaching retirement
Health Coaching Services
  • Nutritional counsellingprovides individuals with nutritional assessments and consultation to help achieve nutritional goals
  • Smoking cessation programs:  supports employees in becoming lifelong quitters

For Employee Assistance Programs to be effective, they must be easily accessible, confidential, widely understood and valued by employees. Most EAP providers offer interactive online learning activities that make access quick and simple for workers. They also give information sessions and promotional programs with messaging relevant to both employers and employees.

Please contact us for further information.