Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are generally the most effective vehicle for addressing poor workplace performance that may stem from an employee’s personal problems, including the abuse of alcohol or other drugs. EAPs are an excellent benefit to employees and their families and clearly demonstrate employers’ respect for their team.
EAP’s are also offer an alternative to dismissal and may minimize an employer’s legal vulnerability by demonstrating efforts to support employees. While a simple dismissal may be easier, the cost of finding, hiring, and training new staff can be very high in dollars spent, in downtime by those doing the training, or in how it affects morale. In addition to counseling and referrals, many EAPs offer other related services, such as supervisor training and employee education which can help mitigate the risk of employee problems or head them off before they become major issues.
Another key element of your EAP is making people aware of the resources available and making sure there is easy way for them to bring any challenges they are facing to the appropriate person within the organization without fear of condemnation or judgement.
Having an employee assistance program is a critical component of a drug-free workplace program and is a great way of providing assistance or support to employees and there families who have problems with alcohol and other drugs. At a minimum, businesses should maintain a resource file from which employees can access information about community-based resources, treatment programs and helplines. Making this information easily and confidentially available those who may want help is critical.