12/04/2023

What to look for in an EAP provider

By: Drake WellbeingHub

What to look for in an EAP and wellbeing provider

What to look for in an EAP and wellbeing solutions provider

 

The Employee Assistance Program services market is worth $325.3 million in Australia with 255 business trading in the sector (IbisWorld, 2023). The market size of the industry in Australia alone has grown 3.7% per year on average between 2018 and 2023 (ABS, 2021). 

According to Ibis World, the industry is defined as ‘Firms involved in the industry provide wellbeing services to employees. These services are generally aimed at the early identification and resolution of work and personal problems that affect professional performance. Industry activities include counselling and assistance services pertaining to workplace, personal and family issues, as well as group training and corporate assistance services.

With a significant spike in the number of people under stress, living in isolation, working remotely or subject to major changes in life circumstances, in addition to Psychologist shortages within the private sector, so too are more people seeking help from EAP providers. The acceleration in digital adoption throughout the COVID pandemic has prompted providers to offer online support through phone, online video conferencing or other digital services. This has improved access of such services to all employees, no matter where they're located or what position they're in. In addition, supplementary resources are available via social networks, groups, blogs and podcasts, for workers to access at their discretion. 

For organisations that do not currently have an EAP provider, exploring available options can be a daunting and at times, overwhelming task. There is a wealth of information available through online channels - so much so, it is often difficult to make a decision as to which provider may be best for your organisation. 

If you’re looking to appoint an EAP provider, these tips can be helpful in making the right decision for your organisation. 

Evaluation of company and employee needs

Before you start researching providers, it is important to understand the needs of your organisation. You could speak to your employees and dive deep into their needs and wants and where they believe the shortcomings lie in the organisation. You may find that rolling out an employee satisfaction survey affords you the opportunity of gathering accurate and honest insights from your workforce. You should also look into existing programs and assess service uptake levels. 

Review the costs

Determine what your organisation has and is willing to invest into its health and wellbeing initiative. There are low cost providers and also premium providers. It is important to choose a provider is not only affordable but meets your expectations around service level and delivery.

Assess your requirements

Once you have evaluated your company and employee's needs, you should have an understanding on what services your organisation will require, at a minimum. Perhaps you're simply looking to offer mental health counselling services through an EAP, or you'd like something more holistic that provides employees with greater access to a full suite of health and wellbeing services such as psychometric assessments, nutrition counselling, wellbeing workshops and training seminars. Determine what are you need and find a provider that can meet them. 

Utilisation rate

It is one thing to have an EAP provider on the books, yet it is another to ensure adequate uptake of available services. Be sure to ask for case studies on existing clients, uptake levels, or speak to an existing customer for first-hand insights. According to Employee Assistance Professionals Association Australia (EAPAA), EAPs are only accessed by 6% of employees.

Coverage

Do you require local or national coverage? Some EAP providers offer national coverage with clinicians providing support in major cities as well as remote locations. It is important to do your research and find a provider that offers access to clinicians within proximity to your workforce, if you wish to provide in-person support.

Accessibility 

Ensure that services can be accessed through channels that work for your organisation, whether by phone, online or in person. You should also be sure that your chosen provider offers 24/7 support in the event of a critical incident, which can happen any time - day or night!

 

Despite the EAP market being dominated by a couple of key players, your organisation may be better suited to a smaller, boutique service provider. There are fundamental differences between EAP providers in the Australian market and it is important to do your homework in order to find the right fit for your organisation.

Drake WellbeingHub is a boutique service provider - we value the individual needs of every customer and client that we service. Contact the Drake WellbeingHub team to discuss whether our business model and service offering is a fit for your organisation.

Call us on 1300 135 600

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