Take it personally

Life is unpredictable. Everyone has problems from time to time, whether personal or job-related, and they can take a toll on your employees’ workplace performance.

Workers who show up on time but whose full attention never clocks in account for absenteeism and lost productivity that’s hard to track. Conservative estimates say that in every organization, 15 to 30 percent of employees have serious personal problems that can affect job performance; 17 percent suffer from psychological or emotional problems and 15 percent show serious symptoms of stress.

Costs associated with these problems exceed an estimated $200 billion annually in the United States.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are worksite-based programs designed to assist businesses in addressing productivity issues and help employees resolve problems that can affect job performance. EAPs enable organizations to be proactive instead of reactive regarding job performance problems, and, as a result, companies can build and maintain healthy employee relationships.

Research has shown EAPs can save employers substantial costs by maintaining productivity, reducing on-the-job accident rates and avoiding the termination and associated costs of replacement of a valuable employee. Studies comparing absenteeism and performance before and after EAP involvement show a 4-to-1 return for every dollar invested in EAP services.

Reported savings include absenteeism down 44 percent for chemical dependency; sick time down 66 percent; health care treatment costs down 33 percent; and health insurance claims down 35 percent.

EAP specialists are behavioral health professionals who help people get through hard times. They aid clients with the stress of life-management problems — relationship issues, family stressors, substance abuse, anger and conflict — that can impact absenteeism, tardiness, loss of productivity, on-the-job accidents and increased health benefits claims.

When evaluating an EAP, it is important to determine whether the organization’s EAP specialists are independently licensed and certified at the masters and Ph.D. level. Michele Morgart, M.A., LPCC, CEAP, is a director/consultant to Mercy Medical Center’s Concern: EAP. For more information, call (330) 489-1415 in Canton or (330) 644-7747 in Akron.