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Two actions you can take to achieve greater workplace wellness

May 1, 2019

Research conducted by Morneau Sheppell a few years ago suggests that companies with an employee and family assistance program (EFAP) can see a return of about $8.70 on every $1 invested in the program. The uniquely Canadian study looked into the effects of EFAP on 80,000 employees across the nation. What they found might cause you to think more about what EFAP services can mean to your employees.

63 per cent of those reporting using EFAP services believed that the issue they were dealing with had negatively impacted their productivity. Additionally, 33 per cent of EFAP users had been absent from work for four or more hours in the weeks leading up to them seeking EFAP assistance.

The study clearly shows that EFAP services help increase productivity among service users (up 35.9 per cent) and have a notable decrease in absences (down by 8.7 per cent). An additional benefit of EFAP services not addressed in the study was the reduction in workplace safety incidents which can often cause costly downtime, not just for an individual, but for entire departments or organizations. This shows that EFAP services are not just a solution to emergent issues, but are very effective as a preventative measure, too.

Perhaps the most valuable findings of the study were the two best things leaders can do to gain the most value from the EFAP services provided to employees. These were relatively simple and logical, but few actively engaged in them.

The research identified a threshold usage rate of 15 per cent among an organization’s employees. This was the point at which EFAP services start to generate the best ROI. To achieve this 15 per cent usage rate, Morneau Sheppell recommends two tactics:

  1. View EFAP services as an investment in your employees. The organizations that saw EFAP as an investment in their employees and take an integrated approach to wellness received the greatest returns achieved an ROI as high as 10:1. These leaders openly encouraged employee use of EFAP services and promoted overall wellness.
  2. Establish a culture that reduces the stigma of help-seeking. By reducing the stigma associated with help-seeking, employees are more likely to access EFAP services when they most need them, rather than trying to tough through it at the expense of productivity.

Members of our Employee Benefits program can access promotional materials (posters, postcards, and wallet cards) to encourage employees to use available EFAP services and promote overall wellness.

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