New ROI tool for employers and EAPs

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New ROI tool for employers and EAPs

Last month, at our AGM, EAPA UK announced the launch of the UK’s first EAP ROI tool. This new tool, funded by EAPA UK and developed by Professor Stephen Bevan at the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) is the culmination of two years of research, resulting in the development of an algorithm that enables employers and EAP providers to now measure return on investment.

“For the first time EAP providers and employers will be able to demonstrate the value of their EAPs, using the results to better inform their health and wellbeing strategies and deliver even greater value to employees. Importantly, over time, this ROI tool will also provide a UK benchmark of EAP providers to help employers make more informed judgements of EAP value and quality,” said EAPA UK Chair, Neil Mountford.

Now available on the EAPA UK website, we would like to encourage our members and the organisations they work with to test out the EAP ROI tool. We’d also love to hear your thoughts and feedback at info@eapa.org.uk so that we can continue to refine and enhance the tool.

 

EAPs can help support mental health among middle managers

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EAPs can help support mental health among middle managers

Last week, the CIPD launched the UK Working Lives survey, the first comprehensive measure of job quality in the UK. Combining previous research on the factors that affect job quality with a 6,000 sample survey, representative of the whole UK workforce, the results show that while overall headline satisfaction with work and jobs is reasonable, there are significant numbers who feel differently, and importantly some major systemic issues with overwork, stress and a lack of training and development.

It reports that while two-thirds of workers (64%) are satisfied with their job overall, one in four workers (25%) feel their job negatively affects their mental health, while nearly a third (30%) say their workload is too much. In particular, the survey highlights a concerning trend among workers in middle management, indicating that they have too much on their plate, a factor which is having a detrimental effect on their wellbeing. Among its recommendations, the CIPD advises employers address cultures of presenteeism, place a greater focus on wellbeing and encourage more flexible working.

“While many organisations already have an EAP in place to support the wellbeing of their employees, there appears to be a lack of awareness around the coaching and guidance element of many EAP programmes which are there to support line managers specifically,” said Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association. “We urge employers to talk to their EAP provider about these services and to work together to more actively promote the training and coaching services available to line managers which can help them manage their day-to-day pressures more effectively.”

You can ready the CIPD’s UK Working Lives Survey here.

 

Promoting EAPs during National Stress Awareness month

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Promoting EAPs during National Stress Awareness Month

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17. During the same period, more than 500,000 workers stated that they were suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. GPs also report that symptoms of stress are on the increase in the UK, with the majority of GPs (85%) reporting a rise in the number of patients with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression in the last five years according to a survey by Royal London.

While the majority of work-related stress is attributed to workload, around 1 in 7 people say it is due to lack of support. Yet we know that Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) are the most popular wellbeing initiative provided by employers in the UK. While awareness is growing slowly, a gap still exists between awareness and the services already being provided by organisations to support mental health issues. “The issue here is that while some employees are aware their organisation has an EAP, they don’t necessarily know what it means and how it can help,” says Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

“Hosting regular EAP awareness and mental health awareness sessions can help give employees a better understanding of mental health , as well as an awareness of the services and support available to them. Improving knowledge of how EAPs can help will also increase usage of the service. If there are concerns around confidentiality of the EAP, it is vital to communicate that any discussions are private and confidential and will not be shared with their employer. It also helps if managers have a better understanding of the EAP and other support services available so that they can talk to employees about these.

“In order for an EAP to deliver significant benefit and value, employers need to work with their providers to raise awareness and provide education for employees. Organisations that do this will see the long term benefits of a successful EAP and the positive impact on employee wellbeing and organisation through improved productivity and fewer days lost to mental ill health. Line manager education and coaching on how best to manage mental health issues is also a key part of the equation and while EAPs have the capability, expertise and capacity to do this, this is less well known and utilised by employers.

“If take-up of your EAP is low, consider creating events or communications to tie in with key events on the wellbeing calendar and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Ultimately, it is in the interest of all EAP providers to raise awareness of the issue of mental health at work and the role we can play in eradicating the problem and April’s National Stress Awareness Month could be the perfect place to start.”

EAPA urges employers to use their EAPs more effectively

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EAPA urges employers to use their EAPs more effectively

A recent BUPA survey has reported that mental health issues are now a larger concern than physical ailments for many UK companies and that businesses are observing higher rates of mental illness compared to five years ago.

“This latest report confirms that if organisations want to better support their employees and truly embed a positive approach to workplace wellbeing, they need to treat mental health in the same way as they do physical health. And while we are certainly seeing the government and industry making strides to create this parity of vision, there is still some way to go,” said Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

The survey found while around 743,000 UK employees took long-term absences for mental health reasons within the past year, and that it was the main reason that employees did not go to work, more than half of the companies surveyed said that they did not know how to support employees with the challenge. However research shows that EAPs are the most popular workplace wellbeing initiative offered with more than 14 million employees having access to an EAP via their employer (Source: The Work Foundation, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs): Supporting good work for UK employers?).

“While many employees have an EAP they are simply not being utilised effectively,” said Neil. “EAPA UK urges employers to engage with their EAP providers to better understand how EAPs can be used to support their mental health strategy. We know from our members that EAPs are successfully helping employees. Recent figures from the LifeWorks EAP service centre, for example, show that they have delivered mental health improvements in 92% of cases. We also know that EAPs are good for business by the number of employers who renew their EAP year on year and increasingly we are seeing EAPs evolving to offer apps which allow employees to have access to tools, information and support via their smartphone.

“To increase their effectiveness, employers (and their employees) need to challenge traditional perceptions of EAPs, moving the focus to the preventative role that they can play, rather than seeing an EAP as a last resort when an employee reaches crisis point. Just as mental health has become a top priority for businesses, so too should the value of their EAP in helping to better manage workplace wellbeing,” said Neil.

Mental health is the number one concern for UK CEOs

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Mental health is the number one concern for UK CEOs

Mental health in the workplace is the top priority for almost three in five (60%) CEOs in the UK and the area of employee wellbeing with which their Board is most concerned, according to a new report, Employee Wellbeing Research 2018 from Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) in association with Punter Southall Health & Protection.

The report found that just one in six (16%) employers have a defined mental health strategy in place, however over a third (37%) plan to introduce one in the next 12 months and a further quarter (26%) by 2020. And while wellbeing spending rose in 2017 and is expected to rise further in 2018, it remains relatively low, with a median spend of just £26 to £50 per year per employee, even at organisations with a wellbeing strategy in place.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) continue to be the most popular wellbeing initiative, offered by more than nine in ten (93%) organisations and looking at long-term trends, the report shows that EAPs have also steadily increased in popularity over the past three years.

“It is encouraging that EAPs are so well established but we would urge employers to take this a step further and look at how their EAP can better support their mental health strategy. All too often EAPs are seen only as a counselling service for employees but this is just one part of the support and service that EAPs can offer. Many EAPs can play an important role in identifying the issues preventing an organisation from managing mental health effectively through risk assessments and stress audits. They can also provide mental health first aid training and coaching specifically designed to support line managers in managing mental health in the workplace,” said Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Association.

A key issue uncovered by this latest research from REBA is that the wellbeing programmes are not being driven by the board. Less than one in ten (8%) say the board actively drives the organisation’s wellbeing agenda and one in twenty (5%) say their board has little or no interest in employee wellbeing.

“It is positive that employers are now talking more openly about mental health but concerning that so few strategies are being driven by the board. Fostering a culture of acceptance around mental health requires a long term cultural shift in attitudes and approach and in our experience, the most effective way to do this is to ensure it is openly championed by senior management so that it becomes embedded in the company’s values,” said Neil.

You can read more about the REBA wellbeing research here

Protecture webinar on GDPR

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GPDR webinar

This is advance notice that EAPA and Protecture shall be running a webinar on one of the issues which concerns us all at present,  GDPR.  The date is 11th April at 10.00 am

Information on this will be sent out in the next few days, but the purpose of this note is to ensure that you receive this advance notice for your diaries.

The session will be run by Gary Shipsey of Protecture.  This organisation is a specialist consultancy rather than a legal firm and provides strategic advice on the objectives behind and the pitfalls of Data Protection.  His focus is the understanding of what is important for users and holders of sensitive information.

Details of the webinar and how to join will be sent out shortly.  The webinar will be hosted by Protecture.  I am not sure how many will be permitted to join at this stage: clearly we are trying to maximise numbers, but please be prepared to book promptly to secure your place.

Third of UK workers say their employer has no interest in their mental health

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Third of UK workers say their employer has no interest in their mental health

 New research from management services firm, ADP reveals that a 31% of workers say their employer has little or no interest in their mental health, despite the fact that 20% are stressed out on a daily basis, and for almost 33% of workers, the issue is so bad that they’re considering looking for a new role.

According to the study of nearly 1,300 workers, workplace stress peaks amongst younger employees with 22% of workers under 35 saying they experience stress every day and 42% saying that it is so bad, they’re considering jumping ship. This contrasts with only 19% and 26% respectively for those over 35 who feel this way suggesting employees may become better at managing stress as they get older.

“Awareness by employers of the impact of mental health issues in the workplace is increasing as the issue has received greater attention in the mainstream press. However, responses are still variable and more work needs to be done to educate employers on the strategies they should be adopting to build a healthy mental health culture within their organisations.

“Staff becoming ill through stress often leads to employee absence and a high staff turnover, neither of which are good for business. Employers need to focus on the fundamentals, building a culture that recognises the importance of mental health and assigns it the same priority as physical health and safety.  Education is key, both for managers and employees. It is important that employees should not feel inhibited about raising these issues with their managers, and feel confident that their concerns will be received sympathetically, appropriate action will be taken and there will be no negative impact on the organisation’s assessment of their performance or opportunities for advancement.

“EAPs have been a longstanding workplace benefit focusing on mental health, but often remain poorly promoted and under-utilised. When developing a wellbeing strategy, we urge employers to work in partnership with their EAP to better integrate the EAP with the other health and wellness services and benefits they provide and emphasise a holistic approach,” said Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

Health and Wellbeing@Work 2018

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Health and Wellbeing@Work 2018

EAPA was again delighted to be a partner of this year’s Health & Wellbeing@Work conference at the NEC in Birmingham.

“This is the seventh year that EAPA has participated in the conference, both as an exhibitor and contributor to the speaker programme and we would like to thank Sterling Events for another successful conference and for its continuing support of EAPA’s involvement. We were delighted to receive so many visitors and so much interest in the work of the Association at the event with this year being particularly significant as it saw the launch of the new EAP Return on Investment tool on the EAPA website,” said Neil Mountford, Chair of EAPA UK.

As in previous years, the EAPA AGM was held during the conference and EAPA was delighted to welcome Professor Stephen Bevan from the Institute of Employment Studies as the guest speaker.  EAPA commissioned the IES last year to develop the ROI tool and the AGM provided Professor Bevan with the opportunity to discuss the approach he has taken to the development of the algorithm that sits behind the tool. During his presentation he also explained the assumptions made and provided some practical demonstrations based on a number of different scenarios. “There was considerable interest from the attendees with a good discussion around how we can continue to refine and develop the EAP ROI tool.  Over time, the aim is to use the data captured to develop a UK benchmark of EAP providers to help employers make more informed judgements of EAP value and quality as well as form the basis for further research and development,” said Neil.

EAPA was also delighted to make two membership awards at the AGM, to Andrew Kinder and Stephen Bevan, recognising the outstanding contribution each has made to furthering and promoting the interests of EAPs. Andrew Kinder was awarded Emeritus Member  and Stephen was made an Honorary Member.

New ROI tool for EAPs

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News, ROI

New ROI tool for EAPs

Two years ago, EAPA UK commissioned The Work Foundation to investigate the use, impact and ROI of EAPs. This first phase of research found that while Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are among the most commonly used wellbeing interventions in the UK, very few providers or their clients are able to collect systematic evaluation data beyond take-up or utilisation statistics and satisfaction surveys. More detailed findings and discussion of the study conducted by The Work Foundation is available in the full report, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs): Supporting good work for UK employers?

The research found that most EAPs, at minimum, covered their costs but that more work could be conducted to identify the main components of both costs and benefits at employer level. Based on these recommendations, EAPA UK funded further research, carried out by Professor Stephen Bevan at the Institute of Employment Studies (IES), to design, test and develop an algorithm that would enable employers and EAP providers to measure return on investment.

“We are looking forward to unveiling the UK’s first ROI tool for EAPs at our AGM next Tuesday 6 March at the Health and Wellbeing at Work event at the NEC. For the first time EAP providers and employers will be able to demonstrate the value of their EAPs, using the results to better inform their health and wellbeing strategy and deliver even greater value to employees. Importantly, over time, this ROI tool will also provide a UK benchmark of EAP providers to help employers make more informed judgements of EAP value and quality,” said EAPA UK Chair, Neil Mountford.

Watch this space for more information about the ROI tool which will be made available on our website very soon.

Creating a culture of acceptance around mental health at work

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Creating a culture of acceptance around mental health at work

According to the Thriving at Work report, an independent review commissioned by the government last year into how employers can support the mental health of their employees, the annual cost of poor mental health to employers is estimated at between £33 billion and £44 billion. Yet despite these huge costs, there continues to be a negative stigma attached to mental health within our society and in our workplaces.

A recent article in The Metro reports on the experiences of five people who told their employer about their mental illness. The good news is that some of these people had really positive experiences with their line managers working with them to address and manage their illness so they could thrive at work. For others, their experience highlights how poorly mental health continues to be managed in the workplace.

“One of the biggest barriers to improving the culture of acceptance around mental ill health is that line managers lack the training, skills and confidence to have the right conversations and effectively support others. As a society we need to work harder to remove this negative stigma and in the workplace, employers can help by ensuring that line managers are properly trained and better equipped to deal with difficult and challenging situations. Over the last 12-18 months, we’ve seen an increase in the number of trained mental first aiders and mental health champions in the workplace as employers recognise the need for action. While this is a welcome step forward, part of the issue is that simply investing in this type of training is not enough. Developing mental first aid skills is a process that needs to evolve over time and employers need to make sure their line managers have the right post training support and guidance in place to ensure they get it right. This is an area that EAPs have particular expertise in and we urge employers to talk to their EAP provider about how they can work together to provide ongoing coaching for line managers around mental ill health ,” said Andrew Kinder, Executive Member of EAPA UK.

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