Employee Assistance Programs are specific programs and strategies employed the company which is focused towards aiding the employees and helping them with any personal problems that are affecting their work and their performance at the work place.
The programs are based on observation. Supervision as well as consultancy services through which a consultant spends time with the employee to observe the source of the problems ailing the employee and recommend the relevant treatment for it.
EAP programs are widely becoming popular in the developed regions of the world like the US, Canada and Europe. The reason for this is that due to the lifestyles of the people, and the competitive environment on the work place the employees are more prone to be suffering from psychological strain, distress, depression and even alcoholism and substance abuse.
In such situations, the companies have taken a proactive step to take care of their employees and provide them with the facility to such employees as well as those who suffer from disabilities.
The EAP is one of the main focus of the Human Resource Management functions at all the major and significant companies in the region. “Increasingly EAPs are also becoming part of the vocabulary and the discourse of hard-headed managers and informed directors in organizations of all types, particularly those whose distaste for the excesses of meanness and leanness leads them to monitor carefully the effects of the demands for performance on the part of employees at all levels.” (Berridge & Cooper, 1994)
A study conducted by Hartwell et. al, and published in the American Journal of Public Health pertaining to Employee Assistance Programs provided that “approximately 33% of all private, nonagricultural worksites with 50 or it ore full-time employees currently offer EAP services to their employees, an 8.9% increase over 1985. These programs are more likely to be found in larger worksites and in the communications / utilities/ transportation industries.
The most popular model is an external provider, and the median annual cost per eligible employee for internal and external programs was $21.83 and $18.09, respectively.” (Hartwell et. al., 1996) Moreover the study was also able to provide that EAPs are increasingly becoming popular amongst employees of the company who are actively suffering form problems pertaining to their families, emotional pressure, and depression as well as substance abuse.
Another of the Human Resource Management based programs at the companies which has been attracting much attention of the late are the health programs of the company.
The health programs are basically the specific strategies and policies of the company, with the support of which the company tries to increase and improve the health of its employees. The main reason as to why the companies are interested in increasing the health of their workers and their employees is because they result in dramatic reduction of health insurance premiums for the company, saving the costs of such insurance programs.
The company is therefore able to control expenses while have a more productive workforce. Currently it has been reported that only 20% of the programs being offered by companies pertaining to improving health of the people are being utilized by their employees, however the trend depicts that this percentage is due to grow more rapidly.
Companies are also using the health programs to increase the physical fitness of their workforce and promote lifestyle habits which decrease the chances death by disease, and increase the fitness and the health of the employees.
“The implementation of an employee health and fitness program can have positive lasting effects on both the employee and employer. In addition to implementing programs that offer a variety of choices and one on one counseling, employers would benefit from targeting the at-risk population to ensure that the programs benefit the greatest number of employees possible” (Voit, 2001)
A study was conducted pertaining to the effectiveness of the Employee heath programs and how they benefit the workforce and the company. The study revealed that proper health care programs when undertaken by the employees increased the fitness of the workers and improved the blood pressure for the employees.
Moreover the tendency to be diabetic amongst the workforce also decreased. On the whole the programs were able to reduce the costs of medical coverage and insurance for the company, while the absenteeism of the employees also decreased as they stayed more healthy and fit.