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Did you know there is a way you can support your employees as they address life’s challenges in a safe, non-judgmental and confidential manner? It’s called an Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and it is an important component to include in your benefits package.

EFAP services don’t have to only be used in a crisis; it’s also a great way to support mental health. Twitter_logo_blue

An EFAP is a very cost-effective option that offers employees assistance with any challenges or struggles they may face both in and out of the office at no cost to the employee. The best part is that EFAP services don’t have to only be used for crisis situations; they are also a great way to support positive mental health throughout our lives. Unfortunately, EFAP services are not always used proactively, so promoting the availability of an EFAP program can increase employee usage, which is a good thing!

An EFAP can be offered as a supplement to paramedical practitioners that goes beyond just providing counselling services. EFAPs can also offer the following services pertaining to various life changes and events:

• Financial planning assistance
• Health lifestyle/nutrition assistance
• Retirement planning
• Family support
• Smoking cessation
• Stress coaching
• Separation & divorce
• Legal support

So, what are some things you can do to ensure that your employees are aware of EFAP and utilizing it? Start by checking your monthly usage reports, as you’ll be able to tell at a glance whether you need to implement the following tips to help you leverage your EFAP with your employees.

1. Reach out to your benefit account representative or broker. Your account representatives are experts on all things EFAP. Invite them to your organization to spend time with your employees and provide information on EFAP and the many forms of support that it includes. Employees may be surprised by the great programs that are offered. This is a win-win opportunity as it doesn’t cost your HR team time or money to run the sessions, and it promotes awareness about the EFAP from an expert to your employees. It also ensures that you are getting the full value of the program.

2. Distribute pamphlets and materials to your employees. Most organizations have a bulletin board where information is posted in a common area, or a company-wide Intranet for employee reference. Use these platforms to display posters, pamphlets and information about EFAP services. If you have a monthly newsletter or a blog section on your Intranet, be sure to include information on the program so that it stays at the forefront of your employee’s minds.

3. Encourage employees to reach out to the HR department. The EFAP is typically presented during a new employee’s orientation to a company. Despite this, it can be one of the things that slips through the cracks due to the information overload during the first few weeks of employment. Encourage your employees to check in with the HR team if they have any questions about the program.

4. Regularly remind your employees about EFAP. As time goes by, employees may not need to utilize EFAP, however; it certainly comes in handy when there is a crisis, or something unexpected comes up. Regularly reminding your employees that the services are available, and the details of how to access them means that they will be less likely to have to ask for contact information, which can be a barrier to access. This also ensures that you are relaying the same message to all employees, whether they have recently joined your company, or are a seasoned employee.

Your Engaged HR Assignment:
Do you feel like your EFAP is a forgotten benefit that is used minimally by your employees? Consider implementing the tips above to ensure that your organization’s biggest assets (your employees) are being looked after. Need any help at all, give us a call!

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