Would your organization invest in a program that provided a return of $8.70 for every $1.00 invested?
That ROI calculation is based on a survey of 80,000 Canadian employers who reported increased productivity and reduced absenteeism as a direct outcome of their EFAPs (Employee & Family Assistance Programs). The findings were contained in Canada’s first major study on EFAP performance, published by Morneau Shepell in 2014.
By clearly iterating the value of EFAPs in dollars and cents terms, these studies should spur employers to add EFAPs to their benefit plans or get the absolute most out of their existing programs. It’s time to stop treating EFAP as just another checkmark on an RFP (Request for Proposal)!
Additionally, this same study also found the higher the usage of the EFAP program, the higher the ROI.
Here are five important steps employers should follow to increase employee usage of EFAPs and maximize their return on benefit investment:
5 Steps Every Employer Should Take
STEP 1 – UNDERSTAND– Get to know what EFAPs can truly do for your organization. Read up on your program. Consult your benefit provider. Review with the management team; invite them to share their EFAP experiences and ask for their input.
STEP 2 -EDUCATE– Educate the decision makers within the organization. Even though their organizations are paying for the program, they may not know how to leverage it to get the most value from their investment.
STEP 3 - PROMOTE – Spread the word about EFAP. Become an EFAP champion or find a dedicated person to be an ambassador of the program. Targeted internal communications, face-to-face discussions, newsletters and town halls can all promote better understanding of the professional counselling services EFAPs provide and their impacts on individual and collective well-being. You never know when your message will reach the right person, at the right time.
STEP 4 – PREVENT–By encouraging employees to access work-life services through your EFAP, employers can build a culture of support and reduce the stigma associated with accessing EFAP support. In doing so, employees will be better equipped to deal with issues – and build resiliency - before they turn into much bigger issues. This can range from giving managers the support they need to handle a major organizational change to helping an employee find elder care services for an aging parent.
STEP 5 – EVALUATE – All EFAPs offer some type of utilization reporting. How often was the program accessed? What are the most common issues employees are dealing with? Financial? Family? Legal? Health? Use the insights from this data to inform your planning decisions and address the most pressing issues within your organization.
In shopping around for the perfect program to meet your employees’ needs, make sure your EFAP checks the following boxes:
Comprehensive Program – Offers short-term, short-focussed counselling
Management Training - Provides workplace training and tools to managers to help them promote a positive, productive working environment
Round-the-Clock Services – Features a toll-free number that plan members can dial 24/7, 365 days of the year
Expert Support – Connects plan members to a robust network of counsellors
Online Resources – Includes a health and wellness portal with resources to deal with work-life challenges
Work-Life Services - Provides one-on-one consultations with specialists such as lawyers, financial consultants and health professionals
Trauma Counselling - Provides trauma counselling to help employees cope in the aftermath of an event such an organizational restructuring, the death of an employee, a workplace accident or a natural disaster
Note: At Medavie Blue Cross, we have a comprehensive EFAP program called inConfidence, which offers confidential support services - at no cost to plan members - 24/7 in both official languages, with translation to 140 other languages. To learn more, click here.