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Employee Assistance Programmes… someone to listen when they're ready to talk

28 May 2024

It’s National Conversation Week, and at Pluxee UK, we want to champion the cause, empowering employees to talk about anything and everything! From their passions to their concerns, the topics they’re experts in, to those they wish to learn more about - let’s get your employees having the conversations that matter. During this blog, we’ll explore how you can create a culture that allows for honest conversations in your business, revealing the employee benefit you need to ensure your people always have someone to speak with – an Employee Assistance Programme.

Creating the culture

Employee benefits are most effective when used to strengthen a culture of wellbeing instead of a way to create it. 

Employee benefits are essential. They make a difference, but they won't have the same impact if the groundwork isn’t in place. 

We explore this further in our blog, Workplace Wellbeing Activities Your Employees Need in their Lives, where we share tips on creating a culture of wellbeing from the ground up.

The same principle applies to all areas of employee wellbeing, whether you’re offering physical, financial, or mental health-related employee benefits.

Today, we’re discussing the importance of having impactful conversations and creating an environment where employees feel confident opening up at work. An Employee Assistance Programme gives them that safe space, but people often need encouragement to use it. Communication is essential, and this is more than just internal messaging signposting employees towards their benefits; it comes from authentic communication about their importance from leadership. 

Share stories and build time for talking into your employees’ week with one-to-ones and informal channels that allow colleagues the space and permission to have the conversations that matter. It’s great for employee wellbeing and building collaborative teams!

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Harnessing the power of an Employee Assistance Programme

We’ll start by addressing the most basic question… what is an Employee Assistance Programme?

In a nutshell, an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is an employee benefit that gives employees access to BACP-accredited counsellors. There are different offerings available, but with Pluxee UK, your employees can contact these counsellors 24/7, 365 days a year. They can also access our wellbeing app, containing a wealth of resources, crisis support at the touch of a button and up to six counselling sessions, should they be required.

Have you listened to our podcast, Breaking Down the Barriers to Affordable Mental Health Support? It’s one not to miss out on for employers striving to create a culture of positive mental health and embed an effective Employee Assistance Programme into their employee wellbeing initiatives.

We’ve established what an Employee Assistance Programme is; now, let’s explore what it can do for your people and business.

Strengthening your culture

Employee mental wellbeing starts with culture, trust, openness, and meaningful conversations. An Employee Assistance Programme strengthens the messaging, proving to your employees that you take their wellbeing seriously and are prepared to invest in it.

Dive into our blog, An Employer's Guide to Mental Health at Work, for more on creating the culture and understanding the law.

Confidence and confidentially

Your employees won’t always feel confident or comfortable discussing their concerns with a manager or employer. Mental and financial health still carry a stigma, and many employees prefer to keep their private lives to themselves.

It’s a personal choice and doesn’t necessarily reflect on the environment you’ve created. Still, your Employee Assistance Programme can be a lifeline for employees who need someone to talk to. Not all EAP calls lead to counselling, but if required, that route is an option, and employees will likely receive essential support more quickly than they would via the NHS.

Most of the time, employees may just need guidance, and no matter the reason for their call, our trained and accredited EAP team will handle every conversation with knowledge and empathy.

Together, we can reduce the stigma and be the change.

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Reduce stress and improve work-life balance  

A work-life balance is an essential ingredient in your recipe for creating a desirable workplace culture.

Discover the importance of work-life balance & how you can enhance it here.

An Employee Assistance Programme is much more than a counselling service. Counselling is part of the package, but when an employee reaches out, our EAP team will also encourage them to find ways to help themselves. They’ll receive the insight needed to understand how to make positive changes that will improve their wellbeing. They'll also receive tips on reducing stress by focusing on self-care and establishing a better work-life balance.

Our mental wellbeing app, available with our Employee Assistance Programme, plays a vital role here and is loaded with a wealth of self-help and self-care tools that help employees find peace and balance.

Improved engagement and productivity

Our Employee Assistance Programme improves engagement and productivity in several ways. EAP is an employee benefit that enhances wellbeing, making your people feel valued, happier, and healthier. Happy and healthy people = engaged and productive employees!

Stress is a productivity killer, so any steps you can take to reduce it will give your people a boost. We tackle this topic in more detail during our blog - Be stress-aware & get the best from your people.

Reducing absenteeism

You can expect fewer illness-related absences if your employees are healthier and less stressed. When left unchecked, stress can lead to burnout, and it can take months for an employee to recover. Stress impacts the body and can trigger or worsen some medical conditions.

It makes sense that less stress = better health.

There’s more to the story than that… Not all unplanned absenteeism is due to illness. As we explore in our guide to Building a Cost-Effective and Sustainable People Strategy, disengaged and unengaged employees have higher absenteeism rates than engaged employees. Providing your workforce with an Employee Assistance Programme boosts engagement, reducing absenteeism.

A cost-effective employee benefit

For every £1 spent on improving employee mental health, you can expect a £5 return. This ROI stems from increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and improved employee retention.

Our Employee Assistance Programme is an investment in your people - in their health, happiness and ability to excel at home and work - all of which help your business thrive.

Pluxee Burnout Guide

Pluxee UK’s Employee Assistance Programme… giving your employees the support they need whenever they need it

Employee mental health is a top priority of ours. Here are some other blogs you’ll find helpful:

In a recent podcast, one of our Mental Health First Aiders shared that our Employee Assistance Programme is their favourite employee benefit, and for good reason. Listen to discover why, then request a call with one of our employee engagement consultants to discover how to embed EAP into your business effectively.