How An Employee Assistance Program Can Help Your Team Post Lockdown

How An Employee Assistance Program Can Help Your Team Post Lockdown

Covid-19 has been ravaging global lives for over a year now. But, while the global workforce continues to cope with the new normal, work-from-home is not all about everything you see.

While one part paints a comfortable life with loose pajamas and more family time, the other part of the reality displays major mental health concerns that the virtual workspace creates among employees. 

Living in a landscape where your employees are meeting both professional and personal responsibilities simultaneously is not only causing strained work-life balance but mental fatigue. The working hours are getting stretched immensely. 

The worst part - there is no blueprint for streamlining this new way of working. 

So the bigger question here is what you can do as an organization to ensure you get your team back in the game?

Enter employee assistance program. 

Initiating such a program can bring immense value to your organization today and in the days to come.  But to know how, you need to take a few steps back. Let's start with defining an ideal employee assistance program. 

What is an employee assistance program? 

An employee assistance programe is an initiative targeted to improve an employee’s overall health for the benefit of both the employee and the employer. It aids to assist the employee in improving their performance and productivity, thereby reducing pressure and boosting their personal growth. This can include different kinds of programs concerning mental health, physical health, social well-being, and more. 

So now, when you know the mission of an employee assistance program, let's look at the benefits that you can get immediately.

What are the benefits of an employee assistance program?

Such programs come with many benefits. While some are direct, others need to be deduced. Here are the top benefits you can witness in your workforce deploying the program. 

1. Improved productivity


The first assistance that an employee gets from an efficient employee assistance program is both personal and professional help that later translates into streamlined employee performance. There is no point in having a dissatisfied employee working long hours without adding real value to your business. Does it? 

This program ensures to find productivity gaps and bring long-term success to the stakeholders. As a result, the organization improves employee retention, and the employee has an improved work-life balance that motivates for more efficiency in work. 

2. Employee engagement

Employee engagement is critical for an efficient and streamlined workforce. This makes the program absolutely indispensable for the success of any business organization. 

Creating a free and comfortable workspace where your employees are their creative best is immensely powerful for the long-term success of your business. This keeps them highly motivated and determined towards achieving the common business goals reinforcing team spirit. 

The more relaxed an employee is, the more he can achieve in less time. Therefore, creating policies that help manage workspace stress can significantly improve your team's performance and meet business goals more efficiently. 

Programs that focus on building healthy inter-team relationships through different group activities like weekend hangouts and high-tea parties are great programs to consider. Consider monthly recognition programs or meetings where you give small tokens or awards to outstanding employees. Employee awards are a very good way to boost confidence and encourage employees to give their best effort. Small prizes are also good motivators, especially when there are targets to achieve monthly.

3. Cost optimization

Human resources are your most critical success factors. This is why optimizing your employees is one of the foremost tasks in business operations.

Understanding and planning your monetary resources according to the needs and goals of your business is critical here. It can help you make critical decisions like whether to automate particular operations, the functionalities you can outsource, and the collaborations you can perform to streamline your business. 

Automating certain processes not only reduces your maintenance costs but helps your employees give their best without staying overworked. This also means that you get the maximum output from utilizing a hybrid workforce. In addition, with fewer employees, your team cohesion will work better in the long term. In the end, the best way to optimize costs from your human resources is by ensuring you take care of each employee holistically. 

4. Time optimization


In business, time is money. However, if you look closer, you would find that it is productive time that is money. This makes optimizing the billable hours for your employees so critical. 

Understanding and tracking where your employees spend most of their time during an average workday can give you powerful insights into filling the gaps. Is it communication or project management? Or is it interfacing? Improving and streamlining workflows is the best way you can get the most out of it. 

You can initiate policies like daily goals to meet, rewards, and recognitions like 'employee of the month' to promote efficiency in these areas. The best way to uphold efficiency is to make sure the overall atmosphere is conducive to productivity and free-thinking.  

5. Improved confidentiality

Maintaining integrity and confidentiality in business is critical to running an efficient business operation. 

An employee assistance program makes sure that there is a form of trust and integrity enforced between the employee and the organization right from the very first day of professional relationship. Having policies like the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) signed makes this process robust. 

6. Attract quality talent


A happy employee is not a myth. With empathy and a more welcoming company atmosphere, you can ensure that your employees are at their productive best. But that's not all that a happy employee can give your organization. 

It opens doors to access future talent that is cost-efficient. A happy employee who is focused and motivated in the workspace can help you attract the right kind of talent your organization might need in the future. Creating schemes like 'invite a friend' are excellent strategies to do so. This way, you are not only fostering a more robust inter-team culture but creating an immensely skilled workforce for your business. 

7. Upskilling


Fostering a 'learn it all' culture in a  competitive market is critical for sustainable market wins. However, this cannot be performed if your employees are not up-to-date with your industry. This makes upskilling essential. 

However, training a workforce acquainted with your business culture is both cost and time-efficient than hiring new teams. Plus, you reinforce team bonding by investing in training your employees. 

Your employee assistance programs can have policies that allot dedicated allowance for employee upskilling annually. This will foster a high-performance team-building precision to give you an edge in the market in the long term. Although the program has its benefits, it does not come without shortcomings. To reap the full benefits of an employee assistance program, you need to be aware of a few areas. 

The pitfalls of an employee assistance program

The following are the core areas where you can face a roadblock. However, a little bit of thought and creativity can improve your initiative. 

1. Irrelevance

The true success of your employee assistance program lies when your employees value your support and resources. This makes relevance a key ingredient of success in your program. Start with understanding your employees. 

Before you plan any of your assistance, have an open chat with your employees. Understand their motivations and aspirations in their lives. Understanding their demographics, psychographics will take you closer to their lives. Did anyone tell you it is a lot like understanding your audience? 

Creating custom resources and assistance programs based on your team persona is what is going to truly bring value to the lives of your employees and organization subsequently.

2. Mandatory policies

Mandatory policies like the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) can be essential to create more confidence in the free flow of information critical for business operations. However, this can cause a problem with your employees. Creating programs to ensure you can prepare your team for the right mindset is critical here.

Here's what you can do. Create programs to ensure that your employees understand the importance of such steps to minimize any negative impact on their performance. 

3. Redundant information

Insufficient information about the employee welfare program is one of the most frequent reasons your program can fail. If your employee is not entirely aware of the facilities and resources he is eligible for, your programs are of no use. 

Creating policies like an ILP (initial learning program) can be immensely beneficial here. You can ensure that all employees have a clear and thorough understanding of the company culture and resources he or she is eligible for. This will create a positive impact on performance right from the very beginning. 

Parting Advice

The core agenda of initiating an employee assistance program is to promote high-performance that is mutually beneficial for your organization and employees. Although an audacious goal, it is still achievable to a significant extent. The above strategies can help you get an initial idea of how to initiate the program. But its true success still lies with you.  

There are no two businesses that are entirely alike. This makes your employee assistance programs unique as well. This makes personalizing your programs based on your employee persona a critical success criterion. 

In times like that of post-covid-19, when the world is trying to heal, an employee assistance program shall cater to real-time needs. Going laser-focused on the problems and concerns will help your employees heal faster and get their productive best quickly. 

Now, when you know what an employee assistance program can do for your team and business, when are you implementing it? 

Posted by Atreyee Chowdhury

Atreyee Chowdhury

Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Learning Experience Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted content that is both informative and engaging. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at [email protected].

Related Posts


comments powered by Disqus