Staff can experience stress and anxiety about many areas including their work, health, financial and legal situation. Worries can be more pronounced and vary depending on their geographical location and industry sector. This can affect both home life and work life, and employers may feel there is nothing they can do to help.
Indeed, providers of employee assistance programmes (EAPs) have reported an increase in calls for anxiety and work-related stress this year, and some see a spike in calls following Brexit-related announcements. GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness) is calling on employers to utilise the EAP benefit that is often offered alongside many group risk products.
EAPs can be a great source of help, can often be accessed 24/7, and are a great first port of call for employees struggling with uncertainty. Professionally qualified counsellors and advisers can offer support across the board from anxiety to flooding advice. Online portals can be a further resource for employees to access support in a way that suits them.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: ‘Employers are sometimes expected to have all the answers, which of course they don’t, and so EAPs can also be a great support for them too. Group risk is no longer about just offering financial protection, it offers so much more, and those employers that utilise an embedded EAP are able to offer a tangible benefit to staff that can make a real difference.’
All can benefit
Whether or not an employee is covered under a company’s group risk policy, an EAP is often offered to all staff, ie even if a group protection product is only offered to a particular group of staff, all employees can often still benefit from the embedded EAP.
Moxham continued: ‘The great news is that many group risk products come with an EAP at no extra cost, so providing such support doesn’t have to have any extra financial implications for an employer. We are urging those employers that already offer group risk products to talk to their advisers or check their policies to see just what is included. And for those that don’t offer group risk protection products to staff, if they’re looking to support mental wellbeing in the workplace, this is a good place to start.’
How employers can use EAPs that are offered alongside group risk to support staff through stress and anxiety
- Not all EAPs are the same, look at what’s included. Specific benefits may be of particular value to employees right now, such as face-to-face counselling or help with family issues.
- Let employees know that an EAP is available. Knowing that employers take their staff’s worries seriously and want to help can go a long way in helping them feel supported.
- Ensure staff are aware of how to access their EAP by widely promoting telephone numbers, email addresses, websites and portals.
- Encourage staff to utilise the EAP by letting them know that all calls are confidential.