Working in the human resources field, I’ve come to be a huge believer in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This often under-utilized program can be exactly what’s needed to help employees, their family members and the employer.
An Employee Assistance Program is a workplace service designed to accomplish several goals:
- To help employees identify and resolve problems that could affect their job performance and their life in general.
- To assist an organization in dealing with productivity issues, such as absenteeism, poor job performance and personal conflicts.
- To provide counseling for alcohol and substance abuse, financial concerns, legal issues, loss and grief, and marital/relationship problems.
- To keep the costs for the employee free or significantly discounted.
I’d like to share one particular case in which the EAP truly helped an employee climb out of her depths of depression, restored her marriage and steered her into a life of recovery.
“Ms. B” was a successful business woman who worked in the corporate world. She was driven to be a leader. Through great ambition and hard work she had climbed to top of the ladder within her institution in record time. She was well educated, was attractive and had a tremendous social network. But under all the glitter and prestige, Ms. B was suffering. Years of work dinners, cocktail parties and social engagements had started to take its toll. She started missing days of work and had trouble meeting deadlines. Her marriage was beginning to crumble as she and her husband drifted apart, in large part because of her hectic work schedule. Her doctor prescribed an anti-depressant to help with her anxiety and fatigue to little avail. She was overwhelmed and was living in a state of panic and worry.
One of her co-workers suggested that she schedule an appointment with the human resources department, where Ms. B learned about the benefits of the company’s EAP program. Her HR manager scheduled an appointment for her with a professional counselor. Ms. B not only took advantage of the EAP’s free counseling sessions but also took advantage of the marital counseling with her husband. After a few sessions she and the EAP counselor determined that she was most likely suffering from alcoholism. Today she’s a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and attends meetings regularly, and she has once again become a thriving top-tier executive within her organization.
Are you, your employees or your co-workers taking advantage of your company’s EAP? When you think of personal problems that might impact the workplace, what comes to mind? Do you know a “Ms. B?” Moreover, are YOU a “Ms. B?” If so, an Employee Assistance Program can help you get your life back on track.