As HR managers, it’s your responsibility to look for ways to support employees in your company. One way to do this is by investing in an employee assistance program (EAP). However, the high cost of these programs and the lack of executive buy-in is often a major deterrent.
But here’s the good news: you can still provide affordable employee assistance with a bit of creativity and a strategic approach. That said, we’ve compiled five cost-effective ways to offer quality employee assistance that will significantly impact your workforce.
From employee-tailored wellbeing programs to 6-month pilots, we discuss options to fit the needs of companies with limited resources while still providing maximum benefits.
The Current State of Play
To positively impact your workforce’s wellbeing, you must first gain a deep understanding of the current workplace landscape.
Many workers have experienced a shift in their mindset during the pandemic. They no longer believe it is acceptable to sacrifice their mental health or family time for the sake of work. This shift has resulted in growing employee dissatisfaction, with 60% of workers feeling emotionally disconnected from their work. Additionally, despite the looming recession, more people are quitting their jobs, and this trend is partially attributed to declining mental health.
The issue of mental health at work is a global concern. In one study, 59% of employees reported experiencing work-related stress. Furthermore, a significant 87% of respondents felt that employers should take steps to create a psychologically healthy workplace.
The situation in Asia appears particularly challenging, with many employees experiencing depression, burnout, and anxiety. Thus, given the circumstances, employers must rethink their workforce strategy to better address their employees’ needs.
Employers Prioritize Wellbeing But Can’t Bear the Costs
As businesses strive to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing market, they are beginning to recognize that the success of their organization is inextricably linked to the wellbeing of their employees.
Forward-thinking employers understand that prioritizing employee wellbeing directly impacts their bottom line, as healthy, happy, and engaged workers are more productive and motivated to achieve their goals.
However, some organizations, especially those with limited budgets, hesitate to invest in wellbeing initiatives. Some leaders believe that perks and wellbeing programs come at a high cost while workers fail to use the full value of such resources.
That said, not investing in employee wellbeing can negatively affect your company’s performance; thus, looking for affordable employee assistance alternatives is essential.
5 Approaches to Supporting Employees with Limited Company Resources
- Know that Cheap Wellbeing Programs are False Economy
Organizations with limited capital may be tempted to opt for a cheap employee program, believing that it is better than having none at all or investing in a more expensive program. While the rationale is understandable, one thing is clear: “cheap” is often synonymous with “low quality” or “limited efficacy” that cannot effectively address the needs of your staff. Needless to say, it can also cost more in the long run.
The truth is that decent wellbeing programs aren’t cheap, but they don’t have to be expensive either. It’s about picking and choosing what benefits would help your employees the most.
Highly effective EAPs empower proactive care, are inclusive, and are hyper-targeted. This way, no money gets wasted on attributes irrelevant to your workforce. And if you continuously monitor their effectiveness, you can ensure that you reap maximum benefits for your staff and company as a whole.
- Survey Employees to Understand What Support They Need
As an employer, it’s essential to acknowledge that assumptions about what’s best for your staff can be misguided. Research has shown that employees have varying preferences regarding workplace wellbeing initiatives.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that while some employees preferred structured wellness programs, others preferred more flexible and personalized options based on their individual interests.
To gain insight into your employees’ preferences, you should conduct staff surveys that include questions that cover a range of wellbeing areas. This way, you can understand your employees’ needs and develop wellbeing initiatives that are more likely to be effective and well-received. Focusing on a few key areas rather than addressing every need can also help ensure your resources are used effectively.
- The Cost of Inaction: Weigh Up Poor Wellbeing vs. Program Investment
Lack of investment in your workforce can cost your company millions of dollars. Poor employee wellbeing is linked to decreased productivity, higher healthcare costs, and increased absenteeism and presenteeism.
Absenteeism refers to employees taking time off work due to illness or injury. In contrast, presenteeism refers to employees coming to work despite being unwell or unable to perform their duties at their usual level. Either of the two in excess can eat away at your profits.
According to a study on presenteeism in Japan, mental illnesses and musculoskeletal symptoms are the primary causes of presenteeism, which can result in a loss of $27 billion in productivity on a national scale.
And what about the impact on the day-to-day running of your organization when you need to ask other team members to pick up the slack?
These are just a few examples, but they highlight the significance of considering both the pros and cons of having an EAP program. Therefore, it’s important to calculate how much you lose each month because of poor wellbeing and compare it to the cost and ROI of a wellbeing program.
- Test the Waters with a 6-Month Wellbeing Pilot
Committing significant resources to a wellbeing initiative can be unattainable for most businesses. Instead, you can run a 6-month pilot program to gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of a wellbeing program before investing in a larger and more expensive initiative.
A pilot program is a creative solution that allows, in a short period, to identify areas where employee support is needed and determine which wellbeing initiatives are worth investing in on a larger scale. Pilot programs can also be a great way to assess different EAP providers and gather employee feedback.
- Start Small
Finally, you should also explore masterclasses as a way to provide affordable employee assistance. Masterclasses or workshops targeted to specific employee wellbeing concerns, such as stress management or resilience, can help your staff develop the skills they need to thrive in the workplace.
Flexibility is also a key benefit of masterclasses. They can be offered online or via an app such as MindFi, providing employees access to valuable resources regardless of location or work schedule.
Most importantly, the cost of providing masterclasses (especially via an app) is considerably lower than traditional wellbeing programs. Yet, such masterclasses can make tremendous improvements in employee job satisfaction, productivity, and overall happiness.
Affordable employee assistance is possible with a measured approach and solutions. Now is the time to elevate your workforce strategy and become a company where employees want to stay. After all, employees are the backbone of your business’s success, so supporting them is crucial.
Download MindFi today to begin exploring powerful wellbeing services. Or request a demo and get a complete insider look into our mobile EAP solution.