As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, I am a major advocate of employee assistance programs or EAP.  This employee retention trainer developed this appreciation for EAPs as an HR Leader.  I saw first-hand how the EAP was a critical part of my philosophy of Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.®  (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise) Your EAP is a tangible way to show that you Care.  What better way to show you care than to be there with a robust EAP that can help people through difficult times in their lives.

The reality is, the world is more screwed up than it has ever been.  Your people face issues like drug, alcohol, mental health, aging parents, issues with kids, divorce, financial difficulties etc.  The list goes on and on and on.  Fully 20% of all people at any one time are experiencing some issue that is impacting their ability to optimally perform on the job.  How can someone be engaged when they are worried about their son being in a gang or their daughter who is 14 is pregnant?  They can’t!  That is where a robust EAP comes in to help.

If your EAP is well publicized, understands your workforce, is readily accessible, people have an avenue to travel that will get them to the resources they need to help them cope with and resolve the issues they face.  When that takes place, people can focus on their job.  It goes beyond employee engagement but is truly a productivity and quality issue. When people are distracted, they are not performing at peak efficiency or mistakes get made.  An EAP helps them get back on track so these distractions are resolved.

From an employee retentions strategies perspective, when your EAP, as an arm of the organization is there to help your people, they see the organization as being there for them in a time of need.  This is what Caring is all about.  When that person returns to work from drug treatment or gets help in marriage issues, they talk.  They talk about how the organization was there for them in a time of need and stood by them.  Their peers hear this.  That’s worth it’s weight in gold because it reinforces you care and, frankly, a lot of organizations don’t care.  This separates you from the pack and makes you better than the people you are competing with for talent.

Here’s the bottom line.  If your EAP is ineffective, get a new one or get your existing EAP to step up and change.  Giving your employees C.R.A.P. is a linchpin in employee retention.  Your EAP is a linchpin in Giving Your Employees C.R.A.P.  Make sure it’s working the way it should be!