The objective of an EAP, Employee Assistance Program is to provide short-term support for staff experiencing acute personal difficulties that impact on work performance. The employee is able to make an urgent appointment with full confidentiality. (Under the terms of the service contract, the Centre undertakes to make an appointment available inside a firm deadline; three working days is common.)
Recognized benefits of successful EAPs include lower absentee, stress leave, staff burnout and turnover rates. Companies report significant improvements in morale and the relationship between management and staff.
A combined commitment from the company, unions and employees is necessary to make an EAP work effectively. From the outset, management should promote the service to staff, emphasizing the confidentiality of the service and the importance of turning to the EAP before problems escalate.