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Employee assistance plans matter, especially when times are tough

employee assistance programs

It is no secret that many Alberta organizations are struggling right now.  Executives are working hard to do more with less.  We have seen cut backs in staffing levels, employee perks, and salaries.  One area that can be tempting to cut back on is employee wellness.  Now, more than ever, employee wellness needs to be a priority for organizations.  The good news is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.

Employee Assistance programs can help to improve productivity and employee retention.  Companies with organized wellness programs have reported decreases in absenteeism, disability claims, and workplace accidents.  One of the biggest myths surrounding employee wellness programs in Calgary is that they are costly.  In reality, these programs can be affordable and provide an excellent return on investment.

At CG Hylton Inc., we have worked with a wide range of organizations to create customized employee wellness programs within an allotted budget.  One of our favourite products to offer companies is a pay per use Employee Assistance Plan (EAP).  Our unique EAP design affords companies of all sizes the opportunity to provide confidential counselling services to employees and their families.  Our EAP services have proven to be a valuable resource over the past few months.  Employees are able to access mental health counselling alongside financial counselling.  This has given employees actionable and effective tools they can use at work and at home during these uncertain financial times.

In addition to Employee Assistance Plans, there are a number of things that organizations can start to do today to help foster a healthy workplace.  Here are just a few of the free and low-cost strategies we recommend:

  • Add helpful wellness related content to company communications;
  • Hang posters that suggest easy ways employee can incorporate physical activity into their workday (taking the stairs, quick stretch breaks, walking meetings);
  • Create a lending library of mental health and fitness resources by encouraging employees to bring in unwanted books, DVDs, or CDs on these topics; and
  • Ask local businesses to waive fees and offer a free Lunch and Learn session on their area of expertise.

We know how tough it can be to think about employee wellness during a time when organizations are struggling to make it through the next pay period.  In fact, there is a strong business case for employee wellness programs especially during an economic downturn.  For employees, these Employee Assistance Plans and initiatives help by

  • Encouraging employees to adopt healthy behaviours for their body and mind;
  • Reducing workplace accidents and injuries; and
  • Creating a stronger social network between employees.

For organizations, employee wellness programs help to

  • Increase productivity and overall quality of work;
  • Decrease absenteeism and claims experience;
  • Decrease overall benefits costs;
  • Improve employee morale; and
  • Improve recruitment and retention rates.

There is a cost to employee wellness programs.  But the question is not how much does it cost.  The question is can Calgary organizations really afford to overlook the substantial benefits of an employee wellness program?  If you would like to learn more about how we can help you put together an effective plan that works with your budget, contact Hylton Inc. for a free and no-obligation consultation.  Find out how we can benefit you!

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