Business Case Study: EAP effectively engaged employees across multiple sites
A large public sector organisation with 13,000 employees had an existing EAP in place provided by their occupational health provider/medical insurer. Utilisation was running below 5% and it was considered that the programme was not effectively engaging employees.
After being awarded the EAP contract, following a competitive tender, the Workplace Options project team worked closely with the organisation to re-launch the EAP. This involved pre-launch meetings, the design of tailored literature and agreement on a launch strategy. During the first couple of months of the contract, the account management team delivered a series of on-site launches at the organisation’s main locations, in conjunction with the newly appointed occupational health provider. These activities were targeted at management to provide a briefing on the new service. Managers attending the launch were also provided with electronic hand-outs about the service to deliver to staff. In addition, we provided a range of on-site stands to promote the service to employees, and assisted with the provision of articles for the organisation’s newsletter and intranet site.
Another factor that had hindered strong utilisation in the past was an apparent stigma associated with the EAP. Workplace Options worked extensively to position the EAP as helpful for all employees facing the challenges of everyday life, not just for those in crisis situations. Promotion focused on the range of support available and the topics covered, from child and elder care, to legal and debt information, to workplace and work-life balance issues.
The result is that after the first month, utilisation trebled to 14% and is being consistently maintained at these levels. The organisation has a service level agreement in place and all parts of this are being achieved or exceeded.
Business Case Study: Stress management training increased employee well-being
An overseas banking and financial services customer based in London approached Workplace Options to request assistance with organising and delivering mental health awareness training to their UK employees. To develop the training, Workplace Options conducted an assessment to evaluate training needs, based on the employees’ current perceptions regarding mental health. The assessment uncovered a need for training related to stress management and building resilience.
In response, Workplace Options provided a series of half-day workshops on building resilience for management, and several one-hour presentations on the theme for staff. The workshops and presentations provided an insight into understanding stress and offered practical solutions to help employees build emotional and mental resilience. The trainings addressed topics such as:
- Key components of resilience and how to build resilience in individuals and teams
- Identifying the signs of pressure and impact on individuals and the organisation
- Identifying individual stress triggers and learning how to handle them
- The difference in leadership styles and their impact on alleviating stress in employees
- The impact of mood contagion on colleagues and understanding transference
- Changing responses to stress by means of various stress reduction techniques
- Developing a personal coping strategy or action plan to cope with stress
Following the training, Workplace Options worked with the customer to measure the success of the training. We surveyed employees to gauge their level of mental health awareness and engagement with the course. Employees reported being more comfortable discussing their mental health needs with their managers, and supervisors and managers felt they were better equipped to listen and respond to these needs. The customer was pleased with the outcome of the training and reported an increase in the overall sense of well-being from the employees involved.
Childcare: EAP helped family caring for a child with special needs
An employee contacted his Workplace Options EAP for support for the whole family. He and his wife had three children, aged three, six and ten. Their six year old daughter had a severe physical disability and required 24 hour care, which his wife provided. The employee could see that his wife was tired and needed a break, and his other two children were misbehaving in order to seek attention.
A specialist consultant explored the situation with the employee and gave him direction on how to access local support services, as well as looking at the options available to them to allow his wife to have a break. The consultant also looked at ways of addressing the behaviour of the other two children. Information was also sent to the employee which provided details on local help and support, and information on respite care.
After looking through the pack the couple decided that the best option would be to have someone available at home to help prepare meals and do household chores to allow the wife to spend more time with all the children. The couple also joined a local support group, where they could share their anxieties with other parents in a similar situation. Their local social services department also agreed to provide regular respite care for their daughter.
Counselling: EAP helped individual learn coping techniques to address stress
Observing an employee’s prolonged period of work-related and personal stress, as well as his low well-being score in their one-to-one meeting, the employee’s manager suggested that he contact his Workplace Options EAP. The employee contacted the EAP straight away and had a 30 minute triage session where he was assured he would be contacted by a counsellor within the week. A week later he was receiving the first of six counselling sessions using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) – a therapy that can help individuals manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.
The employee could no longer see the difference between rational and irrational thinking, and it was likely that he wouldn’t have been able to remain at work or function in an effective way. He and the counsellor met every week to review what had gone well and what still needed work. Counselling gave him the time to reflect upon his thought processes and develop the right tools to make some positive changes.
Afterwards the employee reported that he was in a much more positive place and had a happier frame of mind. He felt that CBT had given him the tools to adapt and use in future periods of stress, thus reducing the likelihood of further prolonged periods of stress or depression. He said that CBT had opened his eyes to the fact that every day has stresses, sometimes bigger than others, and is learning to react differently to these stresses which will help him maintain a more positive mental health.
Daily Living: EAP provided information on housing and finances
A part-time employee and student struggling on a limited income, contacted her Workplace Options EAP requesting information on financial assistance for rent, bills and food, and low-cost accommodation with immediate availability. She was e-mailed the contact information for two food banks and her local benefits agency to find out about financial assistance for rent and utilities bills. She also received information on three low-cost accommodation options plus details of her local housing office and the student services accommodation office. As an additional resource, she was given details of websites that offer information on direct financial assistance for students.
Elder Care: EAP supported daughter with concerns about hospital discharge
An employee contacted her Workplace Options EAP to request information on hospital discharge and post-operative care procedures for her mother who had recently fallen and had a stay in hospital. That morning the hospital had called the employee and told her that her mother was going to be discharged from hospital later that day. The employee lived a four hour drive away, worked part-time and had two small children, so was unable to provide daily care for her mother. She was also concerned that her mother wasn’t well enough to be discharged from hospital and cope alone at home.
The employee and EAP consultant discussed the rules for hospital discharge and the need for a written care plan to be in place before an older patient returns home from hospital. Following the conversation the consultant faxed information on this subject to the employee at her office. Community Care Assessments were also discussed, as was liaising with a local home care agency about getting help at home or the possibility of finding a suitable residential or nursing home for a temporary stay. The consultant found the contact details for the social worker at the hospital and advised the employee to contact the social worker immediately about a written care plan.
The employee’s mother’s discharge was postponed for a few days until there had been a proper consultation with the family. The following weekend, her mother was transferred to a nursing home for a two-week stay. This delay in hospital discharge enabled the employee to be with her mother when she was moved from the hospital to the nursing home and to check that everything went according to plan. The staff at the nursing home helped her mother become more mobile and independent, and she went home two weeks later when extra help and a community alarm had been arranged through social services. An occupational therapist visited her home and gave advice on how her home could be adapted to make it easier for her to cope. As a result, extra handrails on the stairs and a ramp to the garden were installed. The employee was able to continue at work without worrying about her mother’s ongoing safety.
Legal & Financial: EAP supported bereaved son struggling with probate
An employee contacted the Workplace Options EAP as his father had died unexpectedly. He was finding it difficult to come to terms with his father’s death and as an only child also had to begin the task of completing the probate forms. By his own admission, he wasn’t very money minded, and found filling out forms concerning his father’s affairs confusing.
The legal consultant talked the employee through the probate process and helped him identify what monies and transactions were relevant to the forms. The consultant explained that he would need to attend an interview at the nearest probate registry to confirm the details entered on the forms and to answer any queries they might have. The employee was also put in touch with a Workplace Options counsellor who supported him, through a series of telephone-based counselling sessions, to deal with the emotions he was feeling.
The employee reported that the practical information he received from Workplace Options helped him to complete the probate process accurately and swiftly, and that the emotional support helped him understand the nature of bereavement and gave him ways to move forward and look after himself.
Global: Globally-implemented EAP helped employee in Germany cope with grief
An employee based in Germany worked for a multinational organisation who had a global EAP in place. He e-mailed his EAP and indicated that his father had passed away the previous week and was having difficulty coping with his loss. His father’s death occurred suddenly and he was grappling with not being able to say goodbye. He didn’t have a strong support system nearby, as his family lived three hours away. Within 15 minutes, a counsellor was speaking with the employee. He was most grateful for the opportunity to have in-the-moment support, since he felt isolated from friends and family.
The counsellor spoke with the employee about his feelings of guilt and grief and suggested several ways in which he could attempt to cope with his loss, including returning home to be with his family during this difficult time. The employee agreed to return home, but indicated that he would still like to speak with a counsellor. The EAP was able to provide him with a referral to a counsellor near his family home, and he received some short-term counselling sessions in a face-to-face setting. After dealing with the loss of his father in a more productive way, he was able to return to his job and life with more focus.
Wellness Programme: Coaching helped employee reduce stress and back pain
A 35 year-old man working for a large global company contacted the Workplace Options wellness coaching programme for help with stress management, lifestyle improvement and back pain management. The employee had been quite active until recently taking on an intensive academic course. Since then, he had found it increasingly difficult to have any personal time outside of his work and studying commitments.
The employee found it difficult to imagine having any free time to alter his lifestyle. However, he was very open to practising a number of back exercises and stretches and blocking out time to take short breaks from his commitments, as suggested by his regular sessions with his wellness coach.
After focusing on his experience of these exercises, taking breaks out of his busy days, and checking in regularly with his wellness coach, the employee understood the benefits on his well-being, his personal and family relationships, and his ability to effectively perform his work and studying tasks. His energy levels have since improved, and he is not experiencing undue stress. He is able to exercise more often and as a result is not experiencing as much back pain.