Appearance of Your EAP
Through a Joint Labour / Management Committee
Some firms have severely strained staff relations; others have a strong staff association or union. Still others choose to establish a joint committee to demonstrate their sincere commitment to participative management. In these situations, it is common to establish a Joint Labour Management EAP committee. The purpose of the joint committee is to convince employees that the program is confidential. Otherwise, the employees would be too skeptical to use the program. The committee would determine the need for an EAP, design the program, select the provider, monitor its implementation and review its effectiveness.
The advantage of this approach is that employees trust the confidentiality of the program. The major disadvantage is the loss of control to the joint committee. Another serious disadvantage is that even though the company pays the full cost of the program, it is presented as a joint effort. The employer gives up the positive publicity associated with introducing this benefit and demonstrating true concern for the employees and their families.
Within your Employee Benefits Structure
A second approach is to introduce the EAP as an enhancement of your employee program. Confidentiality is addressed and accepted by staff. Management remains in full control of the EAP. The corporate image improves through the introduction of this very humane benefit. The firm is viewed as a progressive employer. The external response is likely to be more favorable than if it were a joint labour management EAP program.
Presenting the EAP as an employee benefit has definite advantages. The absence of bureaucracy makes the program much easier to introduce and maintain. It also generates the image of a progressive employer with superior employee benefits. You can set up benefit review committees or one that only monitors EAP confidentiality.
Many companies have an employee wellness committee. It normally include informal leaders and managers who are perceived by employees as approachable. The purpose of the committee is to encourage healthy lifestyles. Typical issues include physical fitness, smoking cessation, stress management, personal goal setting, finances and many more. Since EAPs promote wellness, it is feasible to have this committee monitor confidentially and employee attitudes toward the program.
Within your Medical Benefit
A third approach is to increase the reimbursement of physiological counseling to $1,000 annually and promote a competent EAP provider as a preferred provider.
Some aspects of this approach:
- employees are patients and confidentiality is ensured
- employees retain the freedom of choice
- the preferred provider makes services accessible
Employers can refer employees to the EAP provider for performance and disability issues and be billed directly by the provider.