Many small businesses or larger businesses with smaller branches operation in foreign countries have not been able to provide employee assistance programs that many larger employers now have in place, and this can be a competitive disadvantage when trying to attract new employees.
Today, both employers and employees face many challenges. A good employer can, in fact, help employees better manage their personal and professional challenges, help employees achieve an improved work-life balance, and help resolve general workplace issues that makes for an improved business operation and happier employees.
Larger employers frequently have in-house expertise, either within their human resource department, or sometimes as a stand alone department. Smaller businesses now can access the same type of expertise either through outsourcing or now frequently through their group benefit carrier.
Generally these programs consist of two broad areas. They are set-up in such a way, as there is total employee confidentiality, so as to avoid any breach of privacy or confidentiality and to eliminate any possible conflicts.
The first area is referred to as EAP – Employee Assistance Program services. This type of service is established to help employees address emotional problems that could affect their job performance. Issues could include job stress, alcohol and drug abuse, bereavement, anger management, aging parent concerns, conflict resolution, sexual harassment, marital problems, and psychological disorders, amongst others.
Typically the services are offered to employees through a 24/7 telephone access system, sometimes through in-person counseling, on-line assistance, referrals to a network of local community resources, and on-site support for crisis situations and critical incident stress management.
The second area includes Work-life and wellness services. This area encompasses more of a self-help operation made available to employees through external sources. These services can include self-help courses on-line involving embracing workplace change, taking control of job loss, taking control of your career, childcare issues or eldercare issues.
These services are available through 24/7 telephone access, in-person consultations for legal issues, on-line interactive tools, and live on-line employee and manager effectiveness training.
- Bill Smyth CPA, FCGA, FCPA
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