Employee Assistance Programme, What is it?

With many challenges and uncertainties taking place in the UK, your employees may be feeling anxious. Utilising an EAP within your business can help tackle workplace stress head-on. Not only this but implementing an employee assistance program into your business can help you see an increase in employee productivity and an improvement in employee wellbeing....

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Conor Beasley
By: Conor Beasley
May 17, 2024
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With many challenges and uncertainties taking place in the UK, your employees may be feeling anxious.

Utilising an EAP within your business can help tackle workplace stress head-on. Not only this but implementing an employee assistance program into your business can help you see an increase in employee productivity and an improvement in employee wellbeing.

If you aren’t sure where to start when implementing an EAP service into your business, get in touch with one of Employer Advice’s experts here on 0800 470 0613.Employee Assistance Program on sticky notes, providing employees with support

What is an EAP?

EAP stands for Employee Assistance Programme and is an additional benefit you can offer your employees. They can provide practice support, 24/7 advice and provide individual counselling, including:


  • Face-to-face and online counselling.
  • Over-the-phone counselling.
  • Short-term and long-term counselling.

The counselling and support an EAP can offer can help your employees deal with issues in their work and personal life and help them to reduce the amount of stress they are dealing with. An employee assistance programme is designed to help business owners increase workplace wellbeing and productivity.

Why are EAPs important?

EAP counselling support can help you to adopt a better and happier workplace. This is because you are providing your employees with a method of handling a range of topics and personal issues that could start to affect their work. This could be considering their physical health, mental health and overall employee wellbeing.

It’s important to remember that EAPs aren’t limited to just this, they can be used to support in a multitude of ways including:

  • Caregiving support. Your employee assistance programme can help your team members with support when they are looking after their loved ones. This could be supported with childcare or elder care. The right EAP will be able to put your employees in contact with the right people who can provide the support.
  • In conflict management. An EAP can be utilised to help employers and employees prevent a situation from escalating. The EAP will be able to offer support on what it is should be done, and can help guide on how a situation should be managed.

Benefits of EAPs

An employee assistance programme will have many benefits for your business and employees, we’ve highlighted some of the main ones below.

Improves engagement and workplace productivity

Utilising an employee assistance programme will help boost your employee’s engagement and overall workplace productivity. This is due to the support employees are receiving, in and outside of work, this has been seen to reduce distractions and stress.

Offering an EAP has the potential to reduce the amount of sick days or absences your employees take.

EAP's provide a counselling service that your employees can utilize.

Improves retention

As an employee assistance program will help support your employees’ mental health and overall wellbeing, your employees will feel valued and supported, and as a result, feel more satisfied with their work and business.

This will help improve your employee’s overall retention rate, this is also a unique selling point for your business and can be advertised to potential employees.

Cultivate a positive work environment

Your employee assistance program provides your employees support and advice for a variety of problems, such as mental health issues, financial advice, counselling sessions, and advice on occupational health.

When your employees are under large amounts of stress, they are more likely to snap at their coworkers or easier to become agitated. This could lead to you receiving more grievances and misconduct claims.


No matter how your employees use your employee assistance program, the usage will remain confidential.

Access to free mental health counselling

EAPs can provide your employees with confidential accredited counsellors, a service that could otherwise take them months to use outside of your EAP.

The counselling service on the EAP will be able to help your employees find coping mechanisms, handle their mental health, and learn to process their emotions in a safe environment.

Employees can also use employee assistance programs to cope with bereavement and trauma. This will give your employees the tools they need to cope with trauma and give them an opportunity to speak freely about their feelings.

An EAP can help support your employees mental health issues

Consumer rights and legal advice

Workers have the option to seek guidance regarding their consumer rights through an employee assistance program (EAP) provider.

This could include:

  • Help trying to get a refund for a wedding or large event when it has been postponed or cancelled.
  • If one of your employees needs assistance when they are going through a court case for a divorce, or if they are going through a custody issue.

Wellbeing support

Employee assistance programs can provide support for the well-being of your staff, which in turn can impact both your business and their personal lives.

This can manifest in various ways, such as low morale among employees, the need for assistance in accessing medical treatments, or guidance on how to overcome certain habits they wish to break.

Child and elder care support

If your staff member has recently become a parent or is responsible for looking after an older relative, they may experience added pressure. These could stem from the financial burden of care or other familial difficulties. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) can provide assistance in these specific areas, or they can offer guidance and direct your employees to the appropriate resources for extra support.

How do I implement an EAP Service?

When you’re planning to implement an EAP, there are a few steps that employers should take first.

Step 1. Identify what your employees need or want out of an EAP

An important step to consider is what you want out of the service, as the employer you will be paying for it, so it’s best to ensure that it will be a benefit for your employees.

To do this you could send out a survey to your staff, and ask them the highlight what it is that they want. When you get the results have a look to see if there is a common theme. For example, if a group of employees have cited poor mental health support, or that they want to improve their work-life balance.

Step 2. Decide how you want to offer your EAP

You should also consider how you’d like to offer your EAP. For example, decide if you want to work with an outsourced company or with an in-house company, it’s also a point to consider whether you want your EAP to be on-site or off-site.

An in-house provider will give you a bit more control over what’s provided, and you can better align the services with your employee’s needs.

Employee Assistance program can help improve your employees occupational health

Step 3. Research a provider

Now you’ve decided how you want to implement your EAP and what it’s going to offer, you should then start to look into different providers. After you’ve made a shortlist of providers that all fit your needs, create a pros and cons list and then make your final decision.

Step 4. Continuously evaluate your EAP

The work doesn’t stop when you’ve put your EAP in place. Take the time to evaluate your EAP, and ensure that it’s still working for your business.

Gather feedback from your employees, on the successes (or failures) and ask your EAP provider to provide you with overall data feedback.

It’s important to note that this data feedback won’t provide any personal details on your employees, it will just give you an insight into how the service is being used. If you notice that it isn’t used, speak to your employees and understand how the service can be adapted.

An employee after attending multiple sessions with their eap.

Need expert support?

Employer Advice has a team of dedicated HR and Employment Law experts who only work with employers.

With over 80 years of experience in helping employers take the stress of handling their HR and Employment law obligations.

Get in touch with one of Employer Advice experts on 0800 470 0613.


More About
Conor Beasley
For over 6 years, Conor has been helping businesses across the country solve their HR and Employment Law issues.

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