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particularly for those individuals who might not
otherwise have sought assistance.
Using EAP to diminish risk was stated as a
priority of all participants who considered them
to be important in reducing financial costs and
undesirable organisational outcomes associated
with risk management and escalation. A reas
of cost participants considered included high
psychological injury, workers compensation
and unfair dismissal claims, turnover,
discrimination, conf lict and formal complaints.
“We had a situation involving stalking of
a staff member. It was ultimately resolved by
providing them with support through EAP,”
says a participant from a private company.
They went on to add that “prior to the EAP,
we had another case of stalking. The workers’
compensation claim was lodged and ultimately
that went through the process and cost the
organisation a lot of money. We were able to
compare the two situations... and we could see
the outcomes. Not only was there a reduction
of cost to the organisation [due to the access
to EAP], but the person’s employment was
Some participants, mainly from government
and not-for-profit sectors, also discussed the
reasoning behind having an EAP as being
‘a tick the box thing’ or ‘a cheap insurance
policy’; in other words, an overt demonstration
of having an accepted means to support staff
in any event where the organisation could
be considered as having a corporate social
responsibility to staff.
Participants viewed EAPs as a financially
sound investment to support, engage and
develop staff when compared to the costs of
turnover and stress claims.
EAPs were seen as part of a ‘retention
strategy’ that placed employees front and centre
in achieving sustainable high performance.
How EAPs are used
For the most part, EAPs were primarily seen by
all sectors as providing short-term, one-on-one
counselling to staff for both personal and
professional issues. These typically included
three to six sessions per employee.
The other most frequently used services
included ‘manager assist’ which is a
management coaching service, and ‘critical
incident management’ support which can
include post-incident onsite and offsite
debriefing, follow-up face-to-face or telephone
counselling, and trauma training.
“Manager assist will say, look, here are some
steps you can take in order to confront the
employee and expose the truth or... here is a
process that can resolve the situation,” said one
Most participants also reported that their
EAP provider offered mediation, facilitation,
debriefing, training, coaching, mentoring,
redundancy and other services to staff.
Participants made the point that there was no
formal mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness
of the EAPs servicing their organisation.
However some participants, from each sector,
mentioned including questions in internal
employee engagement or satisfaction surveys.
Participants generally relied on anecdotal
evidence as the basis of their perceptions.
The consensus was that partnership with
EAPs was important and that it was favourable
to embed EAPs in organisations. As an
example, the feedback EAPs provided about
‘hot spots’ within organisations, largely through
de-identified and generalised trend reports, was
used to inform the mechanisms put in place
to address and defuse potential issues. Often
these mechanisms involved management and
EAP providers actively working together to
continue this feedback loop and pre-empt issue
Participants spoke of how this partnering
with EAPs reflected positive changes in the
culture of the workplace.
“When there is an EAP need, they [staff] are
not seeing it as a stigma. They go, I know why
I’m going to EAP. You’re not putting me into a
box. You’re actually trying to make me achieve
my potential. And this is simply another tool in
your box to help me achieve my potential.” •••
made the point
that there was no
to evaluate the
the EAPs servicing
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