Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s), as the term suggests, are programs or initiatives undertaken by the employer to assist an employee in bettering her work. This is why Employee Assistance Programs are important for an organization to put in place. Employee Assistance Programs are helpful for both the employee and the organization.
How are Employee Assistance Programs helpful?
Let us examine how Employee Assistance Programs are a very useful tool towards improving productivity. Say, the employer allows an employee flexible working hours. This will mean less stress for the employee who now longer has to battle her way through the traffic leaving home at a time when her kid needs her attention. Isn’t this a great benefit to the employee? When employees are offered benefits like this, they are certain to be star performers. This is simple again, because the ball is now in their court.
When the employer has provided them the benefit or convenience they were seeking, they have no reason not to perform. In fact, it is a double edged sword for the employer, because it can now get the best out of the employee. It can even dangle the stick of blackmail! Employees will treasure their relationship with the organization and will have very remote thoughts of leaving for another employment. This way, Employee Assistance Programs are very powerful tools in facilitating a high degree of loyalty and productivity.
The dynamics of Employee Assistance Programs
A few things need to be understood when an organization decides to implement Employee Assistance Programs.
- Employee Assistance Programs are not for everyone: Firstly, these are not suited for everyone and for every kind of work. They are good for some kinds of work in the New Economy. Let us say a retail salesman wants to telecommute. How is this ever possible?
- A high degree of trust is required: Many a time, many organizations entrust confidential work to some of their employees. When employees who are given such work want to work remotely, organizations will need to put some checks and surveillances in place, which could defeat the purpose of the concept of Employee Assistance Programs.
- No program lasts forever: Another important element of Employee Assistance Programs is that these keep changing over time. A program that is good for implementation at one point of time may not be so a few years down the line. HR has to be discrete in deciding on this from time to time. Overall, Employee Assistance Programs need to be exercised with tact and have to be reviewed from time to time.
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