There’s a growing trend that’s disrupting EAP as we know it. With health and wellbeing investment in employees a major talking point around Australian boardroom tables, the link between mental wellbeing and productivity is clear in the post-Covid workplace. In tandem with the cost to the business when employees take long term leave or become part of the great resignation, talent shortages are very real.
As any corporate staff member knows, when HR says “You can always call the EAP assistance line at any time,” it’s their way of outsourcing a conversation they’re not equipped or qualified to have. It can feel dehumanising to the employee. When you’re close to burnout and you finally relent and call HR, it’s not the reception you’re hoping for.
What’s more, in the 2021 PwC report “What Workers Want” 22% of employees rated wellbeing as their second most important selection criteria (after remuneration) when choosing a role, so when their needs are not met, it can become a dealbreaker for employees and potential loss of productivity for the employer.
The question isn’t why don’t we want to speak to HR? The real question is why do we wait for an “ambulance at the bottom of a cliff” situation before there is any kind of intervention? Why are our workplace systems set up like this in the first place?
By definition, “an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological wellbeing of all employees and includes services for immediate family members.” The issue is, it’s not part of any kind of mental health prevention program and in practice isn’t really integrated into the lives of workplaces … until it’s too late.
During Covid, this issue was highlighted even more as HR teams struggled to cope with the ever increasing demand of employee needs. From family and relationship problems to mental health issues, employees were pushed to the brink during lockdowns.
However, “Most people don’t need therapy unless they want to deal with past trauma or PTSD, the majority of us need a sounding board to get clarity and some action steps — it’s that simple,” says Hello Coach founder Victoria Mills.
Much like talking to a friend, coaching can give you space to reflect and ask key questions: How could I look at this issue or situation differently? Where am I now? What steps could I take to manage it or resolve it? What key actions can I take?
We all need human connection, but where coaching comes into its own is that, unlike speaking to a friend or partner, you don’t feel judged and the coach is there just for you: to hold the space, to listen and help you find the clear next steps.
Simple to book with no need to involve HR, employees can experience the ease of booking via the Hello Coach platform. Hello Coach is global and allows organisations to connect with the world’s best coaches. Your request is manually matched to the coach with the best experience for your particular need, so it takes the guesswork out of selecting the best provider. All coaches must have at least four years of professional coaching experience to be listed on the platform and each coach receives 150 hours of training per year as part of their membership, so you know you’re in safe hands.
The modern workplace can be stressful and demanding, especially during a global pandemic. But when we’re able to look after our mental wellbeing, it’s amazing how the world can change around us. And change starts with a conversation.