There are four reasons why employees don’t use EAP’s and I’ll list them in the most-frequent order:
- they don’t think it’s confidential
- they feel there is a stigma for reaching out for help (especially for some men, who see this as a weakness)
- they think they have to ask permission from their boss or HR
- they don’t know it exists.
One of the main reasons that employees don’t use Employee Assistance Programmes is because they worry it might affect their position at work. They worry that getting in touch with a counsellor at an EAP will mean they become exposed.
At Headscience – every employee using the service is kept completely confidential. An employee contacts a phone number associated with Headscience and their name is never used on documentation, only a case number is used. Some statistics do get back to the employer but even this data is confidential as employee’s names are never used.
Second, it makes sense to reassure employees that every one of us has similar on and off-the-job struggles. It’s no sin for people to reach out for help when the “allostatic load” (repeated stressors) gets piled too high and deep.
Third, just as the use of EAP is confidential, there is no need for employees to tell anyone, ask permission, go through HR channels, or do anything other than call the EAP phone number and make an appointment.
The last one puzzles me the most – often employees aren’t even aware that an EAP service exists. Headscience hopes to curcumvent this by doing regular workshops to make employees aware of our services.
Employee Assistance Programmes can make a huge difference to a company’s productivity and profit if they have happy staff.